The Step-By-Step Home Buying Process
Buying your new home is a BIG commitment. As a home buyer, the process can be very overwhelming. By taking the necessary steps and surrounding yourself with experienced individuals this process can go smooth and before you know it you are a HOMEOWNER!
Below are the steps that I recommend to be followed to make the process as smooth as possible:
- Pre-qualification/pre-approval: Meet with a lender to determine how much you are qualified to purchase. If you do not know of a lender and already have a realtor, you might ask them for suggestions as to a good recommendation to begin with. You might also ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for a recommendation of an individual that they had a good experience with. See Common Documentation Needed by Your Lender here
- Connect with a good, experienced real estate agent: Once again you may already have one in mind or your lender might have some recommendations for you to visit with. I would suggest that you talk with a couple of different agents to find one that you feel will work the best for you. You might also ask your friends, relatives and co-workers for suggestions of someone that they have been extremely happy with.
- Determining wants & needs, etc: Once you have a lender, a realtor and a pre-qualification letter you are ready to start your search. Meet with your realtor and discuss these things: location, wants & needs, schools, community, and the different types of roles the real estate agent can take on (buyer's agent and seller's agent).
- Searching for the perfect home: Now the searching begins. With your real estate professional, search the MLS (multi-listing service), the real estate magazines, the local papers for possible homes to view. The MLS is a tool that your agent has access to that shows all of the properties in your area that are currently listed with ALL real estate companies. This service is the best one to use, because it will provide only those homes that are still available to purchase.
- Viewing homes for sale: Your real estate agent will make appointments with the sellers or the seller's agent for the showings. Most agents will provide you with a print out with the photo gallery when you go to view the homes. You might also take with you a camera for additional pictures and a notepad and pencil for notes. My suggestion is that if you are NOT interested in the home that a big X is placed through the sheet to know that you are ruling that home out. Let your agent know the homes that might be possibilities and those that are not.
- Narrowing the search: Narrow your search to 3-4 top choices and have your agent make appointments for another showing. At this time, spend time looking at the following: the attic, the crawl space, the roof and the electrical box. Also, put some thought into your furniture as to whether it will fit or not. Your real estate agent will also provide you with the seller's disclosure and any other paperwork provided by the seller concerning the home.
- Offer time: Once you decide on a home, you will discuss with your real estate agent the various parts of the contract. Such as, price, type of loan, closing date, inspections, earnest money, title company for closing, closing costs that the seller could pay for, the seller's disclosure, appraisal, etc.
- Offer accepted: Once your offer is accepted your real estate professional will discuss with you the inspections that need to be considered on the home. The inspections could be: termite, mold, radon (depends on area of country), home, septic, and well. Your agent will have a list of inspectors that are licensed in your area for you to select from. The fully executed contract is sent to your lender and to the title company to begin the closing process.
- Inspections complete: When all inspections are complete, you will meet with your agent to discuss the findings. The agent will provide you with the options that you as the buyer have with these findings. They could be: accept property with nothing asked to be fixed, ask the seller to repair or have licensed professional repair specific items, or terminate contract and prepare a mutual release to have your earnest money returned.
- Re-inspect repairs once completed: Your agent can schedule for a re-inspection of the items that were repaired. This is the choice of the buyer as to whether this is done or not. Some inspectors will do this as part of the initial inspection and others will charge a small charge for going back to the home.
- Final walk-thru: A few days before closing, your real estate professional will schedule a final walk-thru of the home.
- Closing day: At this time, you will go to the title company that was chosen and you will meet your agent and possibly your lender to sign all of the documents needed to secure the loan and the purchase. The seller will also sign documents after the buyer has signed.
- IT IS NOW YOUR HOME!!
As you can see from all of the steps above, this is not an easy, quick process. Following the necessary steps and having an experienced team (real estate professional and lender) on your side guiding you through will make the process of becoming a homeowner much smoother. Please call me at 417-439-5371 or email me by clicking here if you have any questions.