Below is only a general guide to the buying process. For more information and/or to discuss your property search, please contact us anytime.
STEP#1: Get Pre-Qualified/Approved for Your Loan
Unless you are buying with all cash, this is a good beginning step. It is important to know how much property you can afford and how much of a loan you are qualified for before spending hours, days, weeks, even months driving around looking at properties. Last thing you want is to find that dream home only to receive the news that you are not qualified to buy it! Save yourself the time by going to your local mortgage professional and getting your loan pre-approval process going.
Here are just some items you may want to gather before meeting with your mortgage professional:
1) W-2’s, 1099-MISC (for independent contractors), 2 years of tax returns (for the self-employed), etc.
2) Most recent 2-4 months of bank statements
3) List of all your expenses, assets, secured and unsecured debts (most of these will be on your credit report, but always good to make your own list)
STEP #2: Choose an Experienced and Professional Realtor
Purchasing real estate is often people’s biggest life-time purchase and is not something to be taken lightly. Therefore it is always advisable to hire a Realtor who has experience representing buyers and one who you understands your needs and is looking out after your best interest. You will likely be dealing with them on a regular basis throughout your property search so be sure it’s someone who you can get along with and trust.
Once you selected a Realtor, be sure to provide them with your property search criteria. Its important to provide as much detail as possible as this will help narrow down your search so you can start looking at properties in your desired location and in your affordable price range.
We work with buyers for free and would be happy to discuss your real estate needs if you do not already have a Realtor in mind. Contact us any time.
STEP #3: Search for Properties
Your Realtor should be sending you listings that match your criteria and its now time to go view properties you like, either with your Realtor or driving by on your own time.
Do Your Due Diligence!
While your Realtor’s job is to show you properties and give you as much information about them, it’s equally important for you to do some of your own research and perform your due diligence. Whether it be driving around the neighborhood, searching information about the school district, looking up crime statistics or verifying local zoning ordinances, these are all essential elements that will likely play a big role in your final purchase decision. Your Realtor should help you with this too, but its always good to know yourself first hand.
STEP #4: Make Offer
You just found your dream home! Now it’s time to make an offer.
Realtor Helps You Determine Fair Market Value
Prior to submitting your offer, your Realtor should provide you with comparable sales information to determine fair market value of the property. This will help avoid overpaying for the property or writing too low of an offer that it does not give you a good chance for seller acceptance. And if there are multiple competing offers, this is even more important.
STEP #5: Offer Accepted!
Congrats! Your offer has been accepted. Now is the time to stay in close communication with your Realtor as well as your mortgage professional.
As your real estate professional, we are here to help you throughout the sale process. We will make sure all deadlines, terms & conditions and contingencies are clearly communicated and satisfied, as well as helping with any further negotiations necessary.
STEP #6: Close
As you approach closing, there are few important things you should keep in mind:
1) Avoid making any major purchases, such as buying a car. Remember, your loan approval is based heavily on your debt-to-income ratio, so making these types of purchases prior to closing could negatively affect your loan and essentially could dis-qualify you for a loan.
2) Make sure you are easily accessible for both your Realtor and mortgage professional. There may be last minute items/paperwork requested that need your timely attention.
3) Make sure to be available to do a final walk-through of the property. If there are any repairs you’ve requested the seller to complete prior to closing, its important to know for sure these are done satisfactorily prior to signing final closing documents.
If everything goes according to plan, you will sign final closing documents (likely at the title/escrow company) and become the rightful new owner!