Choosing a Realtor:
Buying a house can be a tricky process, that said, it’s a process that needs to be done properly. Choosing a realtor is the first step towards the realization of this dream. The right agent will have your best interest as his/her priority, smooth the way for you and save you time and money. Take these steps in consideration:
1. Keep your options open, talk to at least 3 different agents before choosing one.
2. Look up their licensing, credentials and how long they have been in business.
3. Check their online presence and reviews.
4. Talk with recent clients.
5. Look at their current listings and ask about other houses for sale nearby.
Applying for a mortgage always includes pre-qualification. This part of the process takes in consideration basic information regarding your financial status that you provide and determines an amount in which you may qualify. Here are some recommendations:
1. Determine the basic type of house you are looking for and the price range in that area.
2. Research the types of mortgage loans available and be ready to discuss them with your agent.
3. Know how much of a down payment you plan to make on the loan.
Pre-Approval for a Loan
Getting pre-approved is the next step, and it tends to be much more involved. The lender will ask for all pertinent information regarding your finances to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating. This will ultimately return the exact amount that you are eligible to receive for a loan.
Find a Home
At this point, you know the price range in which you need to be. Now you must decide what features you would like your new property to include. Your agent will do a complete search through multiple listing services to find properties that fit your requirements.
Remember this! no matter whose name is on the sign, call your realtor! The agent on the sign represents the seller. Your agent will arrange for you to walk through any home when it is convenient for you.
Making an Offer
Once you find your “Dream Home”, it’s time to make an offer to the property owner. Your agent’s advise is very important here, take in consideration similar properties in the area and what the homes have sold for recently. The information provided by your realtor will better prepare you for writing your purchase agreement. The purchase agreement will always be in written form detailing what needs to be done by both parties to execute the transaction. The agreement or contract should include the following:
• Address of Property (sometimes it might be necessary to include to description of the property)
• Offer price
• Financing Arrangements
• Earnest Money (Deposit Amount)
• Closing Dates and Specifics
• The method of conveying the Title
• Documentation of what appliances or furnishings will be included
• Inspection Rights
• Any relevant Contingencies
Once you have signed the contract, your offer is presented to the seller, at this point, the seller may begin to negotiate the offer with you to reach an agreement. Everything is negotiable. Some of the most common items to be negotiated are:
• Final Price
• Closing Costs
• Title Insurance Cost
• Inspections results i.e. major defect
Important to remember that all negotiations should always be in written form. During this part of the process you can expect a “Counter Offer.” Your agent will help you review it, study it and make a decision, before accepting it or rejecting it.
After your offer has been accepted, your agent and your lender will complete an application for your mortgage to buy your property. The lender will order an appraisal of the property as well as survey the property if needed. If that’s the case, your agent will advise you of inspectors to hire.
Your agent will help you coordinate all of the closing items to ensure their completion before closing. One of these items is Homeowners insurance, this one is very important and it needs to be purchased before closing can take place.
As the closing date nears, your agent will be in contact with you and with your lender almost daily to ensure that the closing agent receives all the necessary documents from the bank. The closing agent will prepare the closing statement. At that point, you should discuss with your agent what form of payment you will need to bring to the closing for any fees that you will be paying according to the contract.
The closing is usually done by an escrow company. This the point is where ownership of the property is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. The closing officer/agent coordinates the document signing, collection, and distribution of the funds. Your agent will oversee that the contract terms have been met.