Buying a home may be the largest single purchase of your life and the process can be daunting. Organize your plans and expectations in the following order to simplify and smooth your way into home ownership.
Set Your Priorities
Whether you are a first timer or a repeat homebuyer, this is an emotional and financial decision. The best negotiators are the most informed. What can you afford? What is your credit rating? Do you have a down payment? Do you know the neighborhoods you prefer? What are the recent sold prices of the homes there?
Hire a Real Estate Agent
The process isn’t easy, and you will be glad to have experienced, professional advice to help your find properties, as well as guide you through with the maze of forms, financing, inspection and negotiating. Find an agent who you like and who knows the community well.
Most buyers need to finance the home purchase. Consult with a lender to find out the different types of mortgages and how you quality. Find out how much you can afford to borrow and get pre-approved. This is a crucial step before beginning your home search.
Looking at properties can be fun, frustrating and challenging. Where to live? What style of home? Old or new? Ready-to-go or a fixer-upper? Searching websites will bring up thousands of homes for sale. As you educate yourself on the market, your agent will help you narrow your priorities and make an informed decision about your final choices.
Make an Offer
This is another area where your agent is invaluable in negotiating for you. Decide whether or not you will go with the asking price. The offer will include conditions, or contingencies, necessary for the sale. These are items that must be satisfied within a set time frame for the sale to go through. A home inspection also should be scheduled.
Close the Deal
Closing or settlement or escrow are all terms for finalizing the sales transaction. The buyer and seller sign numerous documents and the closing agent disburses the money. The title company is responsible for having the deed and other documents recorded at the county office.
The Keys, Please
The home is yours. Your contract states when you can take possession of your new home. Ask your agent if you will get the keys at closing or after the deed is recorded. Along with the keys, you should receive garage door openers and security alarm codes if those are included. Then you are ready for the moving van, unpacking boxes and hanging pictures!