The Home Buying Process

home buying process infographic

Note that the first step in the home buying process is not to start shopping for homes online and calling REALTORS® for showings. A prepared buyer will always have a huge advantage over an unprepared buyer, and by asking these questions now, you can save yourself from heartache and disappointment down the road.

·        What can you afford? Calculate expenses and debts to determine your desired monthly mortgage payment.

·        Are life changes coming up? If you plan on changing jobs, getting married or expanding your family, factor these into the equation.

·        What do you need? How many bedrooms/bathrooms? Square footage?

·        What do you want? Desired location? Age of home? Outdoor space? Pool?

·        Gather documents. You’ll need tax returns, financial statements, pay stubs, W-2’s and bank statements.

·        Find a reputable mortgage lender. A good loan officer can make or break your experience.

·        Get loan pre-approval. Your lender will review all financial information and tell you the amount you qualify for and the estimated closing costs. Make sure your lender gives you a pre-approval letter to prove your buying potential to sellers. You’ll need this before making an offer.

·        Choose a good REALTOR®. A knowledgeable REALTOR® is your most valuable asset when finding a home. Make sure you take this step seriously. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals and do online research on the agents before interviewing several of them. A REALTOR® will help you through each step of the home buying process.  Read my article WHY DO I NEED A BUYERS AGENT

·        Search online. This is the fun part! Make a list of your favorite homes to share with your REALTOR®.

·        View homes in person. Your REALTOR® will schedule showings and help you find the perfect home. Be open minded during this stage.

·        Decide on price and terms. Your REALTOR® will provide comps so you can decide the price and terms to include in the offer.

·        Your REALTOR® presents the offer. The offer is delivered to the seller’s agent for consideration.

·        Negotiate the terms. The seller may accept, reject or counter your offer. It may take a few rounds of negotiations to get it right, so hang in there!

·        Do due diligence. After the offer is accepted, the next phase includes home inspection, pest inspection, survey, appraisal and title search. All of these activities are coordinated by your REALTOR® and lender.

·        Possibly negotiate again. In some cases, you might want to re-negotiate terms upon completion of inspections. Does the house need unforeseen repairs? Are there boundary discrepancies?

·        Prepare for closing. Finalize your loan and review closing documents with your lender and REALTOR®.

·        Do the final walk-through. This is completed before closing to ensure the property’s condition has not changed since your last visit and any agreed-upon repairs have been completed.

·        Sign papers on closing day. This typically takes place in the office of a title company. Warm up your writing hand because you’ll be signing a lot of paperwork!

·        Get the keys. Congratulations! You’re a homeowner.

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