An Overview of the Buying Process
With all the changes that have gone in the world, buying a house may seem more confusing than ever. To reduce some of the stress that comes along with this huge life decision, below is an overview of the process.
#1 Meet with a Real Estate Professional
*Buyers Advantage: it’s customary for real estate agents’ commissions to be paid by the seller of the home, so working with a Realtor® often costs you nothing!
After deciding on the Realtor® you’d like to work with, you’ll discuss in great detail the type of home you’re looking for, including style, price, and location. Your Realtor® should get deep into your needs and wants so that they fully understand what you’re looking for in your dream home.
Your Realtor® will share their knowledge of the local real estate market with you and will be available to you to answer your questions and advise you so that you can feel as in control and confident as possible.
#2 Get Pre-Approved
When you’re serious about making an offer on a home, you need to be pre-approved. There is a difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification. For pre-approval, you’ll need pay stubs, W2’s, and bank statements. Knowing what you can afford is essential to a positive home shopping experience.
Most Realtors® have business relationships with local lenders. Your Realtor® can provide recommendations or match you with the best lender for your situation, so that you don’t waste valuable time and energy.
#3 Search for Homes
Now that you know the type of home you need and how much you can afford, here comes the fun part! Prior to the pandemic virtual home viewing was just taking hold. Now, it’s the only way to view homes that you might otherwise have casually visited on Open House Sundays.
Your Realtor® has access to tools and systems to ensure you receive regular and timely notification of properties that match your preferences and budget. When you find a home you’re interested in, your Realtor® will schedule a time to perform a live virtual tour, inside and out. If you think the home is worth seeing in person, your Realtor® can schedule a physical showing. While some of these processes are due to pandemic related restrictions, overall it saves you time, energy, and gas money!
#4 Make an Offer
When you’ve decided to make an offer on a home, your Realtor® will share important local data with you, so that you can make a fully informed decision about what you’d like to offer the home seller.
#5 Negotiation and Contract
It may take a few tries to get it right but hang in there. You’re on your way and your Realtor® is there to support you. They will use their negotiation skills and training to make sure you get the best possible deal.
#6 In Escrow
Once you and the seller have agreed to the terms, your offer has been officially accepted and escrow is opened, usually with a Title Company. During the escrow period, you can and should have a licensed inspector check the condition of the home so that you are aware of any potential issues.
Your Realtor® can refer you to reputable, licensed inspectors who will review the home inside and out, top and bottom. If there are any repairs to be negotiated, they will work to get you the best deal. Your Realtor® is also responsible to closely monitor the escrow process to make sure all requirements and terms of the contract are met in a timely manner.
#7 Final Details
After performing your due diligence by having the home inspected and appraised you and your Realtor® will review final terms with your lender. You are just one step away from sealing the deal!
This is the transfer of funds and ownership, facilitated by the Title Company. At this point, you and the seller will sign closing statements. Shortly thereafter you will need to transfer any utilities into your name and collect the keys to your new home!
Congratulations – you’re a new Homeowner!
The Bottom Line
Sometimes, there’s some additional work that goes into creating our dream home. If you need references of trusted and experienced vendors to help you improve and/or decorate your new home, your Realtor® can provide them. Hopefully, your Realtor® will remain in contact with you for years to come. The best Realtors® are the ones who you would be willing to recommend to your family and friends, as you know they’ll be in good hands.