Ten Steps in Purchasing a Home
OurGreenville.com wants your house hunt to go smoothly. Even though every search is different and there may be additional steps than the ones listed below, the following guidelines will hopefully make your search more productive and much easier:
1. Price Range: How much can you afford?
Know how much you can afford to spend on your house before you begin looking. Talk to someone in the area of real estate financing and obtain a pre-approval letter from a lending institution. By doing this, you can save yourself disappointment and time.
2. Location: Where do you want to live?
Once you know how much you can spend, you need to know where you want to buy. You will need to be realistic about location. Look in neighborhoods where homes sell within your price range. Stay out of neighborhoods where the homes sell for much more. Be on the lookout for the conveniences of neighborhoods in which you can afford to buy.
3. Realtor: Who is going to help you find your house?
After you decide to begin your house hunt, it is important to establish a relationship with a licensed real estate agent. You will need to work with one agency only, and you will need to sign a Buyer Agency Agreement in order to receive the very best service possible. Your realtor will explain this to you and provide you with a Buyer Agency Disclosure Brochure.
4. Looking: How can you keep this part fun?
The fun part about finding a home should be finding a home! If you keep an open mind and a realistic approach regarding expectations, you should find homes that interest you. As you tour homes, avoid looking too closely at current furnishings and decorations. After all, once you own, you will change everything anyway. Do look at the floor plan, the mechanical and structural condition of the home, and the lay of the lot. Once you begin comparing the various houses that have caught your eye, you should be able to make a choice.
5. Make an Offer: How much are you willing to pay?
When you are ready to make an offer on a property, you need to determine what other homes of similar size, style, and condition have sold for in the same neighborhood or vicinity. Your realtor can help you find this information. Once you have it, you should be able to come up with a realistic range of value.
6. Preparing the Offer: What goes into the sales contract?
Once you determine an offering price, you and your agent will prepare a Contract for Sale. This is a contract, and you will have to make decisions regarding inspections, a closing date, closing attorney, inclusions, and earnest money amount, to name a few. You need to read and understand the contract fully before you sign it. Once you sign, your agent will submit the contract to the seller.
7. Negotiations: What will be the bottom line?
This part of purchasing a home can become stressful, but it is important to remember to stay calm. You and the seller will have to agree to the terms, and once you do, you will be required to follow the terms of the contract for the balance of the transaction.
8. Inspections: Which inspections will you have?
There are several inspections written into the Contract for Sale, some optional and others required, and you have a specified time in which to complete these inspections. It is extremely important to work within the time frames of the contract. Remain calm, but be diligent. Stay in touch with your realtor during this time. He/she will facilitate a Seller’s Repairs List, if necessary.
9. Loan Approval: What makes for a smooth loan approval?
Along with the inspections comes the mortgage process. Your contract specifies requirements regarding the loan application as well. Your lender will require various documents, and you need to be extremely diligent in providing them. If you stay in touch with your lender during this process, you will stay on top of the situation.
10. Closing: What makes the deed transfer go smoothly?
Several steps are involved in moving towards a closing date:
- You will need to get a homeowner’s insurance policy for the property.
- You will need to make arrangements to have the utilities transferred to your name.
- You will need to schedule a final walkthrough prior to the closing.
- You will need to sign numerous documents at the closing table.
- You will need to bring a certified check for the down payment to closing.