Home Buying: Step-by-Step

Home Buying: Step-by-Step

An in-depth look at the home-buying process.  For the highlights, checkout Home Buying: Quick and Dirty

  1. Take an honest look_
    • What are you looking for?  A bachelor pad for a few years, or a family home for a lifetime?  This is the phase where you think about your wants and needs, and what your financial situation will allow.  Maybe you would like a mansion by the bay, but the finances limit you to the mansion OR the bay, not both.
    • This could be one of the biggest investments of your life, so make sure you have done your research, understand the costs of buying a home, and are educated on the current housing market and the process to come.
  2. Talk to a Realtor_
    • No two home-buying experiences are the same, and this market can change with the drop of a hat.  Talk to an expert to get the support you need to make the process successful – not stressful.  Regardless of whether you are looking for your first home, or diving into another real-estate venture, a good Real Estate Agent can provide local expertise and insider info to make sure you get what you are looking for, for the best price possible.
  3. Find the Home For You_
    • Peruse available properties, noting what you like and what you don’t.
    • Imagine yourself next month, next year, or in five years, to determine what you are looking for in a home.
    • Distinguish between wants and needs.
    • Internet searches are excellent resources, but no substitute for the local knowledge and awareness of a good Realtor.
  4. Financial Preparation_
    • Optimize your credit score by paying off outstanding balances to improve your income-to-debt ratio.
    • Get pre-approved for a mortgage by having a loan officer review your finances and credit report.  Your lender will then offer you a pre-approval letter, which serves to demonstrate your buying power.
    • Your lender will tell you how much you can borrow, but how much you can really afford is up to you.
  5. Find The One_
    • Utilize all the resources available, starting from the widest pool of potential properties and narrowing the field.
    • You should already have an idea of what you are looking for – stand by your needs and be willing to concede some of the wants.
    • Make sure that you view homes in person, as properties can appear different digitally verses physically.
  6. Make an Offer, Inspect the House, and Negotiate_
    • Your offering price depends on a number of factors – including, but not limited to – current local market, work needed on the home, time of year, and length of time on the housing market.
    • Working with legal counsel or your Realtor, develop a contract with clauses describing terms of purchase, closing date, deposit amount, etc.
    • Once your offer is accepted, get a professional opinion on the condition of the home by hiring a qualified Home Inspector, and use this information to negotiate.
  7. Sign Purchase Agreement, Secure Financing, and Close!
    • The purchase agreement details the dates of sale and possession, negotiated repairs, property disclosures, and more.
    • Closing the transaction involves securing your mortgage, a title search, the final walk through, and the settlement.
    • Title Search – looking over all legal documents, to ensure their are no claims against the title of the property.
    • Final Walk Through – make sure the property is in the same state as when you signed the sale agreement.
    • Settlement – pay closing costs, commissions, property adjustments and transfer taxes.
    • Receive property title, copies of paperwork documenting the purchasing process, and get the keys!

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