Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Your agent should be a Realtor! Not all agents practicing real estate are Realtors. Only Realtors are held to a higher standard, they subscribe to a strict code of ethics that goes beyond what is required by law. They should work exclusively for you, not for the seller. In new home sales, the agents in the office work for the builder (seller), and while it seems they care about your interests, their allegiance is with the builder. Your agent should work for you for FREE and give you advice and council throughout the entire buying process. They should explain how they work so you can understand how they can be available to you at no cost to you. They should be available directly to you with care, professional expertise and trustworthy information through every step. Your Realtor should be well connected and have a vast network of lenders and vendors to assist you.
Find the Right Lender
Before you start looking for a home, you need to know how much you can afford. To get approved you will need to provide some income and financial information to your mortgage lender. Your lender will supply a pre- approval letter to submit with any offer to purchase. This is the first step in finding the right home for you.
Start searching, drive around the areas of interest if you can, search online for local information if you’re not familiar with the area. Choose criteria important to you, neighborhoods, schools, parks, access to interstates or airports, proximity to employment, etc. And at this point your Realtor should be supplying you options of homes available that meet your needs from the most reliable resource available.
Shopping and Making an Offer
While looking for homes in your price range it is important to not only look at the home, but drive around the area, stop at the grocery store, talk to people and look for the things that matter to you. Walk the neighborhood at different times of day and pay attention to amounts of greenery, noise and amenities nearby. Take time to note such things. Once you find the right home, your Realtor should do a little more research so you can decide the best way to proceed. If you choose to make an offer, your Realtor should go over all available information with you and will be able to negotiate on your behalf the best price and terms possible. Once an agreement is reached the home will be under contract (in escrow).
Get a Home Inspection
Make sure your offer is contingent on a home inspection. Home inspections provide an in-depth analysis that can potentially find not only currently needed repairs but also things that may become a problem later. Upon delivery of the report, your Realtor should go over with you and decide if any repairs need to be addressed by the seller. If so, your Realtor will negotiate such repairs on your behalf.
Select Your Loan
At this point you should be completing your lenders checklist and able to select your loan. Having the lowest interest rate, monthly payment or the shortest term may be a priority. Working closely with your lender, you will be able to select the best loan to suit your needs.
Now is a good time, if you haven’t already done it, to obtain your homeowner’s policy for the home. Your Realtor and your lender should be reminding you to have this in place early. This is one of those little things if left to the last minute can delay closing.
Get an Appraisal
Your lender will arrange for an appraiser to provide an independent estimate of the value of the home you are buying. The appraisal will let all the parties involved know the price value of the home.
Coordinate the Paperwork
There is a lot of paperwork when buying a home. Your lender and your Realtor will work with the title company or real estate attorney to handle all of this for you and you will be provided copies of all that you need at closing.
Closing is when the title is transferred form the seller to the buyer. At closing you will sign all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. Closing can be finished in as quickly as 30 minutes or up to an hour. Once finished signing and paperwork is processed you will get the keys to your new home. Congratulations! Time to celebrate!