It is never too early to contact your licensed agent to meet with you to discuss your home purchase. Having a buyer meeting with your agent beforehand will allow you to review the steps of buying, answer any questions you may have as well as review the type of home you are looking for. Whatever your reasons for buying, finding the right home, in the perfect neighborhood, and at a cost that is within your budget, is no small task. There are many benefits you receive from working with an experienced agent.
To begin, you’ll first need to find out how much house you can afford. Your agent may provide you a referral list of reputable and knowledgeable lenders who can help you determine how much of a down payment you can afford, along with a monthly payment you qualify for.
Make a list of everything you want in a home. Is an owner suite important? How many bathrooms? What about closet space? Do you need a yard for the kids and pets to play in? How about a fireplace or a bay window? Do you prefer a rambler or multiple-story house? Are schools or access to transportation important? Separate your needs from wants and put them on a “must have” list. Prioritize the rest of the items into a second and third list in order of importance of your wants. We’ll then go over the list so that I’m very clear on what you want and need in your home.
Your agent should check with you regularly, even if you haven’t found a house that suits your needs yet. Keeping in contact with you allows them to establish a good rapport, and helps them to learn how to help you effectively. They should continue to be on the lookout for homes that suit your needs and share them with you promptly so you may see them in a timely fashion. This process should continue until the right property is found for you.
Before you start looking at homes, it’s a good idea to find a target price range that you are comfortable with.
A lender will want to make sure you can qualify for the down payment, plus a monthly mortgage payment made up of principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI). Interest rates and your personal finances will influence the amount of house you can afford.
Your agent should have reviewed this form with you before your home search so you are prepared for what to expect. Once you’ve found the home you want to buy, together we’ll complete a purchase and sale agreement.
This is the contract in which you and the seller outline the details of the property transfer. The purchase and sale agreement usually consists of the following pages:
When you’re under contract to purchase a home, your offer may be contingent on a professional inspection. Alternatively, you may have a pre-inspection completed on a home you’re looking to purchase prior to making your offer on that home. You’ll want to discuss with your agent the differences in an inspection contingency and pre-inspection to determine which will work best for you. Your agent also should be able to provide you a referral list of reputable local inspectors from which to choose.
The home inspector looks beyond the cosmetics to make sure that the home’s general systems operate properly. The standard home inspector will review the conditions of the home’s heating and cooling systems; interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; foundation, basement and visible structure. During the inspection, the inspector will also look for cracks in cement walls, water stains that indicate leakage and any indication of wood rot. Based on the inspectors finding they will provide a report on the condition of the home and needed repairs.
A home inspection also points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. Remember, no home is perfect. If problems are found, your agent should help you negotiate through the process.
During the negotiation stage of the transaction, a mutually agreed-upon date for closing is determined. “Closing” is when you and the seller sign all the paperwork and pay your share of the settlement fees, and the documents are recorded.
Settlement obligations vary widely due to specific contract language, local laws and customs.
Prior to closing, the closing agent (usually a title & escrow company) will complete a detailed settlement statement for both buyer and seller.
THE BUYER PAYS:
A point is equal to one percent of the loan principal. Some lenders charge points, in addition to interest and fees, at closing. Ask your lender to learn more about this and receive your estimated loan costs.
Title insurance may protect against loss from defects in the legal title, liens against the property or other adverse claims. The lender usually requires title insurance.