7 Steps to Buying a Home

SEVEN STEPS TO BUYING A HOME

1. Define your needs

You and I will talk about the kind of home you are looking for and what it needs to be like – what it should cost, where it should be, what should be near and what amenities it should have and we will look only at those homes.

In any given market, there are X number of homes for sale in the neighborhoods where you would like to live and the price range you are comfortable with. We will use internet websites like Craigslist, foreclosure sites, the MLS and search out FSBO homes (for sale by owner) so that we identify all the homes on the market that meet your criteria.

2. Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified

Now that you know what you want in a home and neighborhood, you need to find out what you can afford. There are two ways to go about this: prequalification or preapproval for a home loan. I can refer you to a mortgage broker to begin the process. In most markets, preapproved buyers are preferred by sellers over those who are pre-qualified. Your preapproved status lets the seller know:

  • You have gone through an extensive financial background check.
  • A lender is willing to do business with you.
  • The likelihood of unexpected obstacles regarding financing is minimal.

3. Let the house hunting begin

Now you are ready to embark on your home search – an endeavor that can prove overwhelming if not approached with some forethought. The most efficient route is to allow me do the initial scouting for you. Using your wish list as a guide, I will alert you of new and existing listings that have strong potential. If these listings pique your interest, I will arrange home tours at your convenience.

You also can do some research on your own. Read local real estate publications, surf the Internet, or drive around your favorite neighborhoods. While these methods certainly can lead to your dream home, it’s important to note that 82 percent of home sales are the result of agent connections.* That means it’s more likely I will find your dream home through being in the real estate business than you driving around on the weekends.
* National Association of REALTORS

4. Make an offer

When you’re ready to make an offer on a home, I will help you determine the offer price by reviewing recent sales of homes similar in size, quality and amenities. With your input, I will draft a written contract that outlines what needs to be done by both parties to execute the transaction. If the seller accepts the offer, the document becomes a binding agreement, so it is imperative that you carefully review it with me and speak up if anything is not clear to you. It’s important to note that if the seller changes any aspect of the offer, it is not a binding agreement until the buyer agrees to the seller’s changes.

5. Strike the deal

Sometimes, you get lucky and the seller accepts your offer as is. However, in most instances, the seller will make a counteroffer. This is where my experience in negotiations will be invaluable. Keep in mind almost everything is negotiable when you are buying a house. This can give you a great deal of leverage in the buying process – that is, if you have adequate information and you use it in an appropriate manner. Some items you may negotiate:

  • Price
  • Financing
  • Closing costs
  • Move-in date
  • Repairs
  • Appliances and fixtures
  • Landscaping
  • Painting

Bargaining is not a winner-take-all deal. It is a business process that involves compromise and mutual respect.

6. Prepare for the closing

When an offer becomes a binding agreement, I will help you tackle the checklist of action items that you, as the buyer, have agreed to perform prior to closing. Depending on how the responsibilities are divvied up in the agreement, this is typically when you will:

  • Conduct a home inspection.
  • Get an appraisal and finalize your financing.
  • Secure title insurance.
  • Shop for a home warranty.

Having these procedures done in a timely and professional manner is a must, as any delays could threaten a successful closing. I serve as your “one-stop shopping” referral source for service providers. I also serve as your advocate, helping to coordinate activities and making sure the vendors have access to the property to perform their jobs.

7. Close the deal

Congratulations! The moment you’ve been anticipating has arrived. The closing is where home ownership is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. It is a formal meeting that most parties involved in the transaction will attend. Closing procedures usually are held at the title company’s or lawyer’s office. The closing officer will coordinate all the document-signing and the collection and disbursement of funds. A few days before your closing date, your lender will send a final closing statement that outlines your closing costs, if applicable. I will review this document with you to ensure its accuracy, as well as help you gather any necessary documentation that you’ll need to bring to closing.