Week 6: Buying a House? Let Us Guide You!
Thinking about purchasing a home can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Here are a few good tips to help point you in the right direction to make the process manageable and maybe even fun!
Step One: Find a Buyer's Agent
The most important thing a potential buyer can do is make sure you find a good buyer’s agent. First time buyers often times do not know how real estate works and what services a Realtor provides. Real estate agents are paid by the sellers. As a buyer, you get professional representation at zero cost to you. Make sure you find an agent who specializes in the location you are considering and the type of housing you are interested in. If you are considering new construction, use an agent who is knowledgeable about the process.
Step Two: Pick a Lender
Step two is to find a lender who can get you pre-approved. If you do not have a lender or bank in mind, your realtor can point you in the right direction. Getting pre-approved is a vital step in purchasing your home. In most cases, an offer must be submitted along with a letter stating you have been approved to purchase a home. This was not always the case, but with the competitive nature of real estate you want to do everything you can to put yourself ahead of any competition.
Step Three: Shop for Homes
After you have your letter in hand, you begin shopping for homes. Typically, you would meet with your Realtor to layout your expectations in a home. This is where you let your agent know how many bedrooms, bathrooms, locations, type of home, and any other criteria you want (must be facing North, fenced in yard, specific school district, etc.) Realtors also suggest driving through neighborhoods if you find a home you may be interested before setting up a tour. Many homes may look great on paper but be in a less than desirable neighborhood or next to a parking lot or any other deal breaker for you. After you have a target list, your agent will set up private showings to view each home. From there it becomes a process of elimination.
Step Four: Submit Your Offer
Once you have found THE ONE, your agent will help you submit an offer. They will run a market analysis to help you figure out a fair offering price. You will also submit earnest money with the offer. This money shows the sellers you are serious about the offer and plan to follow through with the deal. If a deal is not reached, the money is returned to the buyer. When a deal is reached, the earnest money gets applied to the purchase of the home. When you are submitting an offer, you will also want your agent to include any additional items you are requesting. This can range from a home inspection, to warranty, to appliances or furniture.
Step Five: Obtain a Home Inspection
Once negotiating is complete and both buyers and sellers have agreed upon a purchase price, the buyer moves on to having the home inspected. During this time the real estate agents are getting titles and deeds transferred, making sure there are no liens against the property. Once everything comes back clear, you move to closing! Closings can take place at a bank, an attorney’s office, real estate office, or other. This is where the seller’s bring a check for the down payment and collect keys for the new home.