So you’ve finally made the decision that you’re tired of paying a landlord and would like to invest in a home of your own. Congratulations! The journey is just beginning, and having a reliable and dedicated Realtor will help make that journey go smoothly. (Shameless plug, I am that Realtor). This can be a challenging but also a most rewarding experience. After all, it’s probably one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime!
One of the first steps that you’ll want to take is obtaining a pre qualification (or better yet a pre approval) from the lender you choose to see how much home you can afford. There is nothing worse than looking at houses outside of your price range and getting your hopes up. A good Realtor will want to see the pre approval before showing you homes to avoid that let down. Once you have that paper in your hand, the fun part begins!
The next step in the process is touring homes that will suit your needs. This is the fun part in the whole process! Your Realtor will set up a search for homes that meet your criteria in your selected area, and you’ll get together to tour them. I always recommend touring multiple homes even if you “fall in love” with the first one. You never know what the next house will hold. Plus you can always pick up some pretty cool design ideas from viewing homes.
So now after you’ve toured multiple homes you found the one that’s meant to be, and you’re ready to put an offer in. Your Realtor will draw up a contract and will meet with you to have you sign. At this point it’s a waiting game, some sellers will get back to you right away, while others may take their time. It’s important during this step to not lose hope.
Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted! You’re not in the clear yet. The next few steps, however, are some of the most important (and also some of the most stressful) in the home buying process.
First comes the home inspection. At this point you will pay a reputable home inspector to come and do a head to toe inspection of your selected home. He/she will look for issues such as structural, electrical, and water problems, as well as many other things. At the end of the inspection you’ll get a binder with any issues as well as the positive things that were found. If the inspection passes and you’re satisfied we move on to giving an earnest money deposit (good faith deposit, usually of 1-5% of the purchase price) and then proceed with applying for the mortgage. If the inspection doesn’t pass, or you are not comfortable with the results, you are able to walk away or request that the seller repairs the deficiencies (they may say no so be prepared).
The next step here is applying for the mortgage and your mortgage broker or lender of your choosing will help you with this process, which will be covered in more detail in a later post. One of the most important things to remember is to not make any big purchases or open any new lines of credit during this time.
As part of the mortgage process an appraisal will be ordered to ensure that the value of the home matches the requested loan amount. This part of the process can sometimes lead to some challenges as well, especially if the home appraises much lower than the offer price. If this happens your Realtor is there to help you through the process and handle further negotiations.
Now that all of the legal and financial hurdles are overcome you get the clear to close, which means you are merely days away from getting the keys to your new home. At the closing your lawyer is going to have many forms for you to sign, and you will turn over the check for the closing costs (including down payment, attorney fees, etc). At this time you will get the keys to your new home and be ready to set your moving day.
This is just a brief overview of the process for the first time (or second or third time) homebuyer. If this process sounds daunting that’s where having a good Realtor comes in. They will make the journey run smoothly and will be able to support you the entire way. If you have made the decision to start looking for your first home, feel free to contact me today and let’s start this journey together!
I can be reached anytime at 716-809-0300 or by email me at firstname.lastname@example.org