Finding the perfect house is difficult - choose the agents you can trust.
So, you want to buy a house—now what? The first time buying a home can be an emotional yet exciting experience. Here's how the buying process works from start to finish.
Do some preliminary online searching. Check into what homes are selling for in the areas you're interested in to give you an idea of what you're looking for. This will help when later communicating your wish list with your real estate agent.
Take care of the budget. Use an online mortgage calculator to determine your monthly mortgage payment if you were to purchase one of these homes you've found online. Make some additional estimates for utilities and see if this fits your budget.
Get pre-approved. To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll need to get some paperwork ready: pay stubs, W-2s, bank account statements, tax returns for the past two years, credit lines, and names and addresses of your landlords for the past two years. Start with your current bank, but check out competitor banks as well – you might get a better mortgage loan rate by shopping around. Also, consider the maximum amount your lender approves you for – this is not what you should spend.
Find an agent. An excellent real estate agent will help you navigate the process every step of the way. Your friends and family will be great sources—see if any of your trusted contacts have someone they recommend.
Look at homes. Be patient at this stage. Your real estate agent may show you various homes to get your reaction on features they think you'll like. Give your agent detailed feedback so they can offer homes ideally suited to you. Sometimes, this process can take months or years—So be patient. Also, make sure you let friends and family know you're looking for a new home--you may even find out about a fantastic home before it hits the market.
Make an offer. You may want to move quickly once you've found your dream home. Your agent will guide you on a reasonable first offer to start negotiations based on market conditions. Also, consider closing costs which could account for 2-6% of the home price.
Negotiate. Prepare to go back and forth with the seller a few times on price and selling conditions. Your real estate agent will be your advocate here and try to get you, their client, as much as possible for your money while being fair and respectful to the seller and their real estate agent.
An accepted offer. Pop the champagne! If you reach an agreement, you'll deposit to an escrow account to show good faith. Escrow is usually 30 days when the seller takes the house off the market with the contractual expectation that you'll purchase the home - provided you don't find any serious problems during the inspection.
Do a home inspection. Even if the home appears flawless, there's no substitute for having a professional inspector review the property for your potential home's quality, safety, and general condition. You don't want to be surprised with a home that needs a lot of unexpected repairs. If the inspection reveals undisclosed severe defects, you can negotiate further to have the seller make repairs or discount the selling price. You'll also be able to withdraw your offer and get your deposit money back.
Closing. When your negotiations with the seller are successful, and the inspection comes back clean, you should be ready to close. You'll spend about an hour signing lots of paperwork at your closing and then be handed the keys.
We provide a Free Home warranty effective the day of closing.