As a follow-up to my last blog about the home selling process, here is a guide for the other side of a real estate transaction – the home-buying process. As with selling your home, the process to buy a house can seem complex and confusing at times. Luckily, you can get help from a real estate professional who will guide you through the process every step of the way. One thing some first-time home buyers don’t realize is that in most circumstances, the agent’s commission is paid for by the seller of the home, not the buyer. So this means your representation should cost you nothing!
When you meet with a real estate professional, you will want to discuss what you are looking for in a home & ideal location so they know the parameters of your home search. Your realtor will likely ask you pretty early on if you will be requiring a loan or paying cash. If you are getting a loan, you will want to get pre-approved by a lender right away. This helps ensure you are searching for homes in an accurate price-range and when it is time to put an offer on a house, you can quickly have a pre-approval letter to give with your offer showing you can afford a house of that amount. Having this pre-approval completed at the start will make the process move a lot more smoothly. If you aren’t sure where to start with finding a lender, your broker may be able to provide recommendations.
The fun part is searching for a home! Your realtor will search for homes in your criteria & schedule showings as appropriate. When you are looking at homes, it is important to think beyond just the obvious like number of rooms, size of kitchen, and age of the roof. You may want to visit my blog post about important things to consider when buying a house. There is no magic number on the amount of homes you should see before you make an offer. I always tell my buyers you need to have the right feeling with a house – you should feel at home in it to know it is right for you. Once you find the right home, your agent will prepare the offer based on the price and terms you choose. Often there will be some form of negotiation on both sides and once the parties come to an agreement, you are under contract!
The contract will dictate the dates, deadlines, & terms that must be met before closing & possession – these include items like the inspection, appraisal, due diligence documents, record & off-record title, property insurance, loan deadlines, and more. Your broker should keep you up to speed on all upcoming deadlines and what to expect. If you are getting a loan, you will also be getting a lot of requests from the lender on information you need to provide. Staying on top of both of these will help make the process as smooth as possible and not risk delaying close (or worst case, terminating the contract).
The last deadlines will be the closing date & possession (not always the same date). Closing is the transfer of funds and ownership & the day we are all looking forward to! A title company or an attorney typically acts as an independent third-party to facilitate the closing. Post closing & at the time of possession you can celebrate your new home and the new title of being a home owner! Congratulations!!
I would love to help you find your next home! Please contact me below if you have any questions on the home buying process or would like to discuss how I can help you with you real estate needs. Visit my testimonials page to see what others have to say about working with me.