So you’re thinking about buying your first home. Your very own house (and mortgage). A place to call HOME!
It’s a big move, literally and figuratively. Buying a house requires a serious amount of money and time. The journey isn’t always easy. It isn’t always intuitive. But when you get the keys to your new home — that, friend, can be one of the most rewarding feelings pretty much ever.
The key to getting there? Knowing the home-buying journey. Knowing what tools are at your disposal. And most importantly? Creating relationships with experts who can help you get the job done.
You ready to live the dream? Here we go.
Find a Great Agent
Your relationship with your real estate agent is the foundation of the home-buying process. (And your agent = your rock.) He or she is the first expert you’ll meet on your journey, and the one you’ll rely on most. That’s why it’s important to interview agents and find the agent who’s right for your specific needs. NOTE: Finding an agent who has more than the state required education is an agent who cares about your process and doing it correctly.
Choose a Lender
Once you’ve found your agent (AKA, your new best friend), ask him or her to recommend at least three mortgage lenders that meet your financial needs. This is another big step, as you’ll be working with your lender closely throughout the home-buying process.
Do Your Homework
Oh sure, everybody wants to jump right into open houses. But before you even set foot into a foyer, you should identify your list of “musts” and “wants.” This list is an inventory of priorities for your search. And there’s so much to decide: Price, housing type, neighborhood, and school district — just to name a few.
Once you know what you’re looking for, the next step is to start looking at listings and housing information online. (This part? You’re going to crush it.)
Look Around at homes in person
Now that you have both an agent who knows your housing preferences and a budget — and a lender to finance a house within that budget — it’s time to get serious about viewing homes. Your agent will provide listings you may like based on your parameters (price range, ZIP codes, features), and will also help you determine the quality of listings you find online. Then comes the fun part: private showings, which give you the unique opportunity to evaluate properties in a way you can’t online.
Make an Offer
Once you find the home you want to buy, you’ll work with your agent to craft an offer that not only specifies the price you’re willing to pay but also the proposed settlement date and contingencies, title work, disclosures and other conditions that must be agreed upon by both parties that cost money in the home buying process, such as giving you the ability to do a home inspection and request repairs.
Get the Place Inspected
If your offer is accepted, then you’ll sign a contract. Most sales contracts include a home inspection contingency, which means you’ll hire a licensed or certified home inspector to inspect the home for needed repairs, and then ask the seller to have those repairs made. This mitigates your risk of buying a house that has major issues lurking beneath the surface, like mold or cracks in the foundation. (No one wants that.)
Ace the Appraisal
When you offer to buy a home, your lender will need to have the home appraised to make sure the property value is enough to cover the mortgage. If the home appraises close to the agreed-upon purchase price, you’re one step closer to settlement — but a low appraisal can add a wrinkle. Not one you can’t deal with. This is again where your Realtor is trained in helping though this process.
Choosing a Title Company and The Attorney that draws up the deed
Now you are on the home stretch! Choose a title company. The title company provides a title search with title insurance (not all title companies provide the same type of title insurance). The title search checks that the title is free from liens and judgments. They prepare the closing settlement statement according to your Sales Contract and lender requirements. They order the deed from the attorney you choose
Close the Deal
The last stage of the home-buying process is settlement, or closing. This is when you sign the final ownership and insurance paperwork and make this whole thing official. . Depending on your lender you can close at the title company office or the Lenders office. Then the title company will record the mortgage and the deed.