1. Decide to buy
- There are solid financial reasons to support your decision to buy a home, and, among these, equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits stand out. But, base your decision to buy on facts, not fears.
- If you are paying rent, you very likely can afford to buy.
- The lack of a substantial down payment will not prevent you from making a home purchase.
- A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily stop you from buying a home.
- The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now.
Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated – you can hire a professional who will help you along the way. I will help you make your decision based on facts, not fears.
2. Hire your agent
Seven main roles of a buyer’s real estate agent
- Educate you about your market
- Analyze your wants and needs
- Guide you to homes that fit your criteria
- Coordinate the work of other needed professionals
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Check and double-check paperwork and deadlines
- Solve any problems that may arise
The typical real estate transaction involves teams of separate individuals: insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, bankers, title researchers, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be orchestrated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed.
Seven important questions to ask your agent
Qualifications are important. However, finding a solid, professional agent means getting beyond the resume, and into what makes an agent effective. Use the following questions as your starting point in hiring your licensed, professional real estate agent:
- Why did you become a real estate agent?
- What do you do better than other real estate agents?
- What process will you use to help me find the right home for my particular wants and needs?
- What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
- What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
- What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
- Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?
It is my responsibility to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout.
3. Secure financing
While you may find the thought of home ownership thrilling, the thought of taking on a mortgage may be downright chilling. Many first-time buyers start out confused about the process, or nervous about making such a large financial commitment.From start to finish, you will follow a six-step, easy-to-understand process to securing the financing for your first home.
Six steps to Financing a Home
- Choose a loan officer (or mortgage specialist).
- Make a loan application and get preapproved.
- Determine what you want to pay and select a loan option.
- Submit to the lender an accepted purchase offer contract.
- Get an appraisal and title commitment.
- Obtain funding at closing.
4. Find your home
You may think that shopping for homes starts with jumping in the car and driving all over town. And it’s true that hopping in the car to go look is probably the most exciting part of the home-buying process. However, driving around is fun for only so long. If weeks go by without finding what you’re looking for, the fun can fade pretty fast. That’s why looking for your home should begin with carefully assessing your values, wants, and needs, both for the short and long terms.
Questions to consider
- What do I want my home to be close to?
- How much space do I need and why?
- Which is more critical: location or size?
- Would I be interested in a fixer-upper?
- How important is home value appreciation?
- Would I be interested in a condo?
- Would I be interested in new home construction?
- What features and amenities do I want? Which do I really need?
I will keep your priorities in mind, to make sure that you don’t compromise on something that really matters, or overlook something that could fit most of your important needs.
5. Make an offer
- The process of making an offer begins long before actually writing an offer. You should be familiar with the purchase contract before you get in the car to view properties, so that when it does come time to write an offer you can focus on offer price, terms and conditions of the contract.
I will provide my market analysis to guide your offer price as well as discuss the contract, and answer any questions about specific terms and conditions that must be agreed upon.
6. Perform due diligence
- Unlike most major purchases, once you buy a home, you can’t return it if something breaks or doesn’t quite work like it’s supposed to. That’s why home property inspections are so important during the inspection period.
- The property inspection(s) should expose any issues a home might have so you know what you’re getting into before you sign the closing papers.
- Your major concern is structural damage, or other very expensive items. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- If you have a big problem show up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist.
- You will usually have the option to negotiate with the seller to either get the big problems fixed, or to ask for a credit to fix them yourself.
- If you and the seller are not able to agree, at this point you can still walk away from the transaction.
I will coordinate any inspections, and discuss any issues with you to help you decide which issues might make or break a deal for you, and if there is a way to solve them.
The final stage of the home buying process is the lender’s confirmation of the home’s value and legal statue, and your continued credit-worthiness. This entails a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final check of your credit and finance. I will keep you posted on how each if progressing, but your work is pretty much done.
You will have a few preclosing responsibilities:
- Stay in control of your finances. (No new appliances or furniture until after closing)
- Return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.
- Communicate with your agent at least once a week.
- Several days before closing, confirm with your agent that all your documentation is in order.
- Conduct a final walk-through.
- On closing day or just before, with the guidance of an escrow officer and myself, you will sign documents that do the following:
- Finalize your mortgage.
- Pay the seller.
- Pay your closing costs.
- Transfer the title from the seller to you.
- Make arrangements to legally record the transaction as a public record.
I will explain everything to give you clear expectations, and assist you in completing all requirements, so that closing can become a momentous conclusion to your home-searching process, and a commencement of your home-owning experience.