Your Checklist to Buying Your New Home
The TV shows all make it look so simple, quick and easy. Buying a home can be lots of things, quick and easy are usually pretty far down on the list. More often that not it's exciting, stressful, scary, exhilarating, overwhelming, emotional and much more, all in varying degrees. A brisk market like the one we are in currently makes it more important than ever to be prepared. You study the market, pour over the house listings on your phone and computer. Now what?
1) Choose an Agent
First choose an agent to represent you. Make sure you share your wishes, wants and dreams so that your agent truly understands your home search needs. Pick someone you like and get along with because you're going to be spending a lot of time with this individual in the near future. Pick someone you feel confident will represent your best interests in the transaction. And remember, like business, this is a time when working with family can be sometimes be lovely, other times, not so much...
2) Choose a Lender
Next choose a lender. Your lender can make or break your home purchase, so you will want to choose with care. Look for a lender with great communication skills, who shares options with you and discusses what will work best for you in your unique situation. While deciding on a budget, your lender will help you consider your monthly bills versus your income to decide how much house you can afford. Carefully consider what monthly payment you are comfortable with, make sure taxes and insurance are included in that total, unless you plan to pay them yearly in a lump sum (otherwise they will be escrowed). When saving for your down payment, make sure you factor in closing costs too. Your lender can give you a ballpark for approximately how much you'll need to bring to closing and what types of loans you qualify for. Make sure you choose a lender and mortgage product that best meets your needs. Get pre-approved right away to give yourself more buying power!
3) Start the House Hunt
Now the fun part...Your House Hunt begins! Let's go shopping!!! Work with your agent to find your dream home. Make a list of Must Haves. Discuss your search criteria in detail with your agent so he or she can help find the perfect match! You may find your list changing as your search progresses. Don't be afraid to explore new horizons and adapt your search to your changing wants/needs/desires. Just makes sure to communicate those changes to your agent. The average home buyer views 8 homes before finding "the one"...some far fewer, some many more. Don't get discouraged! The perfect house is out there just waiting for you to find it.
4) Write an Offer
When you do, it's time to write an offer! Run, don't walk...Time is not your friend in a hot market where multiple offers and crazy things happens every day! Sit down with your agent right away to write up your offer. Your agent will walk your through all the paperwork and disclosures, everything you have to sign. Let's pause for a moment here to consider how happy you are that you have an agent you trust on your side. It is in your best interest (especially when it doesn't cost you anything since the seller pays the commissions) to choose a reputable professional to assist with your transaction. Why on earth wouldn't you?!? After you determine the pricing, dates and terms, your agent will prepare your offer and you will sign it. Once your offer is complete then submit your offer to the sellers agent. It may take some time to work out all the details and negotiate a deal that is agreeable to both parties.
5) Once Your Offer is Accepted - Schedule Your Home Inspection
Once you have an accepted contract, the next round of work begins! You will want to schedule a home inspection with a home inspector right away. Per your contract you will only have a certain number of days to complete the inspection, review the report and compile a list of repairs (if any) that you would like to request the seller performs prior to closing. This is the second time you will negotiate to come to an agreement that works for both you and the seller.
6) Get Your Home Insurance Quotes
You will also need to work on gathering quotes to help choose home insurance and a policy that provides the best/most affordable coverage for you and your family.
7) Wait for the Home Appraisal Results
Next, the bank will order an appraisal for your home. The appraiser will calculate the fair market value of the home. This is done by comparing your dream home to recent sales of other similar homes in the immediate area. Adjustments are made based on condition and other factors to give the best estimate of the value of your new home. The bank decides how much it is willing to lend you based on this figure. If the house does not appraise for the contract price, you will likely be facing your third round of negotiations with the sellers during the home buying process.
8) Schedule Your Final Walk-Through
Last, but not least, your agent will schedule your final walk through a few days prior to closing. The walk through is a time when you can check to make sure the seller has vacated the house and all agreed upon repairs were performed. The house should be left in a way that matches the terms of the sale/contact.
9) Closing Day! - Come Prepared
The big day, closing day is finally here!!! All the dates and terms are approved, it's time to sign to purchase that home you've been dreaming of! Make sure you check with your agent and lender so you can come to closing prepared, knowing exactly what you need to bring. If you do, you'll walk away with the keys to your new home!
10) Move In
Moving Day is never easy, but after the home buying process and how far you have come, it feel like a piece of cake! Your agent can even help recommend professional moving companies or places to get your moving supplies.
Congratulations, your a Home Owner now!!!