In our end of year planning we found that on average it takes buyers approximately 3.5 months from the time we meet to close on their new home. If you are a first time home buyer or just haven’t bought a home in a while, we thought a little real estate 101 would come in handy for the New Year. Many home buyers decide to make purchasing a home their New Year’s Resolution, so don’t let fear of the process stop you from reaching your goals.
There are basically 7 Steps to Buying a Home. Let us walk you through! This is a shortened version of our Guide to Buying a Home. Download the full Free Report
1.) Decide to Buy
The dream of homeownership is as American as apple pie. There are many good reasons to buy a home and wealth building ranks among the top of the list. The time to buy a home is a personal decision involving many factors. Ask yourself a few questions to know if now is the right time. Do I plan on staying in this area? How long will I live in this home? What will my mortgage payment be versus rent over that same time period?
WEEK 1-2 Hire an Agent and Secure Financing
2.) Hire an Agent
Not all agents are alike! We may be biased but we hope you’ll work with our team. We pride ourselves on the systems in place to help a buyer go from the decision to buy to closing with ease. The right agent will know the market and educate you about what to expect, analyze your wants and needs, guide you to homes that fit your criteria, coordinate other needed professionals, negotiate on your behalf, communicate efficiently and effectively for all paperwork and deadlines, and solve any problems. Even in today’s day in age where you can view thousands of properties for sale online, a good agent will help you identify the best fit for you and save you time!
3.) Secure Financing
Most buyers require a mortgage to purchase a home. This is a little scary but a good agent can help direct you to a qualified mortgage professional. You MUST obtain a mortgage pre-approval before looking at homes. Be sure that you fully understand the cost of buying and your monthly payments before looking at properties. Some properties will not qualify for certain loan products. Agents and mortgage professionals that understand the market will be able to guide you to the right homes that fit your budget and needs. It doesn’t do you any good to find your dream home only to watch it go pending because you haven’t sorted out the details of your financing. No seller is going to be willing to take their home off the market without proof that you can buy it. That proof is called a “Pre-approval”.
WEEK 2 – 6
4.) Find Your House
You may think that shopping for homes starts with jumping in the car and driving all over town. And it’s true that hopping in the car to go look is probably the most exciting part of the home-buying process. However, driving around is fun for only so long-if weeks go by without finding what you’re looking for, the fun can fade pretty fast. That’s why we say that looking for your home begins with carefully assessing your values, wants, and needs, both for the short and long terms. After sorting through a needs analysis, looking in your desired location, budget, and other criteria most buyers see 7-10 homes before finding the right one. Narrowing the search by what is most important to you is what makes a good agent. Don’t settle for an agent that just sends you mass “drip” emails with listings that don’t match your criteria.
5.) Make an Offer
Depending on the market you are experiencing, finding the right house could take 1 week – 1 month. If you don’t find a home in the first time out to look at homes, then you basically have to wait until a new listing comes along or re-evaluate the search criteria. Once you find the right place, making an offer will usually come naturally but sometimes it takes a day or 2 to realize you want to move forward. The offer terms will be discussed and a good agent can help you evaluate the current listing price and offer suggestions for terms to get you the best deal possible for the market conditions.
6.) Perform Due Diligence
Now that you’re under contract on a home it starts to get real! Now is the time to do inspections. There are a million kinds of inspections you can do on a house. Typically a general inspection and WDO (wood destroying organism) report will cover most of your bases but check with your agent about what other things may be important. You want to be sure the house doesn’t have any major defects and if it does that you are able to handle them. Ideally during this time you would also review any permit issues, HOA documents if there is a homeowner’s association, and begin to get quotes for home owner’s insurance. Sometimes a homeowner’s insurance company can actually identify a past claim that may have existed or a nearby sinkhole. With most Florida transactions, you have a specified time period 7-15 days and you can withdraw if things are not acceptable to you.
7.) Finalize your loan and Close on your Home
The loan process is a detailed one. Your lender will ask for everything but your blood type! Depending on your lender, the process can take 30-45 days from start to finish. They will collect documents and an underwriter will review to make sure they want to lend you the money. Upon review they may need more documentation or verification of certain items. Your lender will also hire a 3rd party to conduct a property appraisal to ensure the value is sufficient to the sales price.
During this time the title company (selected by the seller) will also be working to do a lien and title search to be sure that the property can convey without issue. One of the final pieces is a survey. The title company sometimes waits until the last minute to order this. They want to be sure we are closing and the surveyor will be paid. Be sure to see a copy of this before going to the closing table! When the lender has committed to lending you the money and finalized all the details, they will say it is “clear to close”. Then the process of reconciling the final paperwork at the title company begins and your closing is right around the corner!
WEEK 15 – YOU OWN A HOME!
If you are thinking about buying a home, hire the right agent to guide you through. Contact us today 407-494-2820