7 Steps for the Home Buying Process

7 Steps for the Home Buying Process

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home buying processIt can be overwhelming exciting and stressful to buy a home. It can take weeks, or months, to find your next home. We want to help you through the home buying process. Just know that we are with you every step of the way.

1. Get a Mortgage

The first step in the home buying process is to talk to a mortgage banker or broker. This will give you an idea of the price range of homes to look at. Looking at homes that aren’t in your price range is unproductive and disappointing. You will also need a pre-qualification letter to make an offer on a home. The mortgage lender will give you one. Your offer won’t be taken seriously if you don’t have this.

2. Find Your New Home

Next comes an exciting step in the home buying process: looking at homes to find the right one for you. We start by emailing you listings from the Multiple Listing System and pointing out any plusses and minuses of the homes.

  • Does the home have good resale potential?
  • What schools would the kids go to?
  • Is there room to fit a pool if you wanted to add one?
  • Is the lot facing the right direction for a pool?
  • What are the neighborhood restrictions?

Finding the right home is a delicate balance. You need to find one that is both what you like and a good financial decision for you and your family.

3. Contract and Escrow Deposit

You have decided upon a house. Now, in the third step of the home buying process, we need to negotiate with the Seller. The terms of the contract will include:

  • How much you’re willing to pay
  • When you want to close and move into the house
  • What items will stay with the home, for example, the washer and dryer or pool equipment

Contracts can be between 10 and 20 pages long. We will make sure you understand everything in the contract before you sign it.

The escrow deposit amount will depend on the price of the home and what the seller will agree to “take it off the market.” After all, you don’t want other buyers to keep bidding on the house. The binder deposit will usually be between $1,000 and $5,000. This money will end up going towards the purchase price of the house at closing.

4. The Home Inspection

Step four of the home buying process is getting a home inspector to determine the condition of the property. They will be looking for things like:

  • Does the roof need to be replaced?
  • Does the heating and air conditioning system work properly?
  • How old are the appliances and hot water heater?
  • Does the house have termites?

We will be able to negotiate with the seller, once we know these things, about repairing them. If not, you can walk away from the house and look for another one.

5. The Home Appraisal

The bank or mortgage company will want to ensure that the home you are buying is worth the amount they will be loaning you. That’s why, in step five of the home buying process, a licensed appraiser will be hired by the bank to get an “opinion” of value. They will look at other homes that have sold for in the neighborhood and compare it to yours. Your contract should be contingent on the house appraising for the contract sales price. You can talk to the seller about lowering the price of the home if it doesn’t.  You may need to put more money into your down payment. If they won’t change to price, you should walk away from the house.

6. Insurance

Different homes need different insurance policies. A single-family home will need a homeowner’s policy and may need flood insurance. A condo, on the other hand, only needs contents insurance. The condo fee will usually include the part of the building insurance for the and maybe a flood policy. So, in step six of the home buying process, you will look for the proper insurance for your new home.

7. Closing

In this last step of the home buying process, we usually do a “walk through” of the home a few days before close. We check to make sure any repairs that were needed were made. We also make sure the house is in the same condition as it was when we first looked at it.

Then it is time to attend the closing. You will get to look over all the costs that will be charged with your lender. The closing normally happens at a title company or attorney’s office. It should only take about an hour. You will need to wire the money to the account of the closing attorney or title company. Then you’ll get the keys, and the house will be yours.

If you have questions about the home buying process, give us a call. We’d love to share our expertise with you.

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