BUYING A HOME IS A BIG DECISION
A home is the single most expensive asset that most people will acquire in a lifetime. The more prepared you are at the beginning, the less overwhelming and chaotic the buying process will be. From the initial planning, to selecting the home that’s right for you, there are many steps in the process. We are here to assist you with those steps and prepare you for the buying experience.
WHAT DOES A BUYER'S AGENT DO?
Many buyers want to know what a Buyer’s Agent does and whether they should use one to purchase real estate. A buyer’s agent works directly for the buyer, putting his/her interests first throughout the entire transaction. The buyer’s agent is compensated by the seller, so having representation in the transaction is cost effective for the buyer.
Sellers are almost always represented by agents, so it is a wise decision for a buyer to be represented as well to ensure a fair transaction.
PHASE 1 & 2
SELECTING A LENDER & THE LOAN PROCESS
The loan process is the most tedious part of the purchase. First, you need to pick your lender. We would be glad to recommend a lender, as we have worked with many experienced and professional lenders in the past. However, you are also free to choose any lender you wish to work with. You will be working closely with your lender throughout the process, so make sure that you select someone you feel comfortable asking questions and discussing details.
It is crucial for you, as a buyer, to understand what you can qualify for before finding a house that you love. The lender will request such information as paycheck stubs, recent bank statements, W-2’s, and copies of other information. Once the lender has received this information, he/she will be able to pull your credit report and tell you what you can afford to pay for a house.
In this package, we have included a page that allows you to specify what you want in a home. Please remember that the more information you provide about what you want, the easier it will be for us to serve you. We will refer to this sheet throughout the home seach.
PHASE 3 & 4
BEGIN YOUR SEARCH
Our team will schedule appointments for you to see properties that interest you. We can also preview the houses for you and use your wish list to find the house of your dreams.
Once we have narrowed the search down to a few properties, I will provide you with a list of comparable properties in the neighborhood and surrounding areas. This report will give you an idea of the price range for your area of interest, and help you decide what to offer on the property you choose. You may also use this time to find out about schools in the area, average utility prices, and any other information you would like to have.
MAKING AN OFFER & EARNEST MONEY
Verbal promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate!
Therefore, you need to enter into a written agreement, which starts with a written proposal. The proposal not only specifies price, but also the terms and conditions of purchase. The starting and ending points of every buying agreement are the initial and final offers. We will provide a variety of standard forms along with a Purchase and Sale Agreement. These forms offer protection for you, the buyer, and cover the questions that need to be answered during the process.
Earnest money is a deposit that accompanies your offer. This deposit is held by the listing agent until all parties have reached an agreement and the offer becomes a contract. The earnest money will be deposited at that time. The check cannot be postdated, nor can any offer be presented without some amount of consideration. At the closing, this earnest money deposit will be credited back to you as part of your down payment or closing cost.
Once the buyer has written an offer, the negotiating begins. The buyer’s agent delivers the offer to the listing agent, who represents the seller. The agent and the seller will discuss the offer and may either accept, counter or reject the offer. Sometimes offers and counter-offers will be presented back and forth a few times before the parties reach an agreement. Once everyone has signed the final offer/counter-offer, the contract is in place.
INSPECTION / APPRAISAL
Once the contract is finalized, the buyer has the option to have the home inspected. We highly encourage our buyers to take this step. The buyer will hire a professional home inspector to examine the house from top to bottom, structural elements, electrical issues, plumbing, etc. The buyer pays for the home inspection at the time that it occurs. The inspection will tell a lot about the true condition of the house and will help the buyer decide what repairs need to be made. A typical home inspection typically costs between $300-$500.
Once the inspection is completed and the buyer has the inspection report, we will then enter into negotiations with the seller for the repairs the buyer requested. If the buyer does not feel comfortable with the repairs that are needed, there is an opportunity to withdraw the offer. Also, within the first 14 days of our binding agreement date (the date the contract was accepted), the lender will order an appraisal. The appraisal will be completed by a third party individual hired by the lender to do a report that ensures the buyer and lender that the home is worth the price the buyer has agreed to pay. This fee will be included in closing cost figures, provided by the lender. Some lenders now require the appraisal fee upfront.
PREPARING TO MOVE
You will be responsible for choosing a Homeowner’s Insurance Company to handle your needs for your new home. Once you have selected that company and the agent, please contact your lender with that information, including their telephone number. Also, you will need to start contacting the local utility companies to have the services transferred into your name on the date you are scheduled to take possession. Begin to pack, but please make sure you keep any important forms you would need prior to moving handy – JUST IN CASE!
YOUR BIG MOVE
Important packing tips
On closing day, the property changes possession on paper, although this may not be the day you actually take possession. Sometimes the seller will request a short time frame to move from the property after closing. Especially if they are doing another closing of their own on the same day. They may need to receive the proceeds from the sale of the home, before they can purchase a new one and move! Be prepared to take possession a few days after closing, however, keep in mind that closing and moving days may also be negotiated as part of your contract.