Your Guide to Home Ownership
Most people find the process of buying a home exciting, confusing and sometimes overwhelming. Many times a buyer will approach the process in a backwards way that will negatively impact there ability to find and buy a home while protecting their interests. You might be asking yourself, “Where do I start?” I’ve created a step-by-step guide of everything you need to know to get the process going!
Meet With A Lender And Get Pre-Approved
A pre-approval letter is a must have in today’s real estate market and allows a Seller to have confidence in your ability to get your financing and ultimately follow through on an Offer. Meet with a lender and get pre-approved so you are ready to go when you find that property you love.
Hire A Buyers Agent
Buying a home is a complex task with lots of intricacies, emotions, legal documents, people and personalities involved. Outside of this, it is likely one of the biggest purchases you will EVER make! Don’t try to tackle the process alone. An experienced real estate agent can bring so much value to the table including market expertise, negotiation skills, process knowledge and access to vetted industry professionals.
Determine Your Budget And Search Criteria
Figure out how much you are willing and able to spend on a home and stick to your budget. Avoid looking at properties that are above your price point. You will also want to establish specific search criteria. Consider factors such as location, style of property (single family, condo, etc.) and additional features (beds, baths, garage, storage, yard, etc.) that are important to you.
Schedule Showings & Find Your Home
Now the fun part! Start the house hunt and schedule some showings with your real estate agent. Although tempting to start your search on a national search engine like Zillow or Trulia, many of these resources provide outdated or inaccurate listing information. Ask your real estate agent to set you up for success right from the start with a search platform that offers accurate information and live notifications of new listing that come available within your criteria.
Submit an Offer & Reach Acceptance
Once you find a property that you like, work with your real estate agent to establish an initial offer and strategy. Your real estate agent can pull comparable market data in the area to confirm what the property is worth. From there, you will also want to consider a few different factors in determining what a good offer price will be. How long has the home been on the market? Has the price been dropped? Is there a large or small inventory of homes for sale? Is it buying season or off-season? Are there other parties interested?
A Good Buyer’s Agent Will:
- Candidly explain the real estate buying process in detail.
- Educate you about the market in the areas you are searching.
- Educate you about buyer agency and outline their responsibilities to you and others in a transaction.
- Help you explore your financing options and refer you to expert mortgage professionals.
- Regularly search the market for homes that meet your search criteria and budget.
- Set you up with live listing notifications and helpful search resources.
- Email your home criteria to other agents in the area to locate off market or coming soon properties.
- Schedule showings and coordinate property tours for you, at your convenience.
- Provide detailed analysis and data to make sure you are paying an appropriate price for a property.
- Strategize with you to create an offer for a property with the current circumstances in mind.
- Negotiate the best price and terms for you.
- Take care of all the legal documentation.
- Refer you to other professionals (inspectors, title companies, etc.) that can provide advice and service.
- Assist you in working through the contingencies of your offer according to schedule.
Contingencies to Closing
Once you have accepted an offer, there are still several steps to complete before the official closing date and change of ownership. It’s essential to pay close attention to all of the details and timelines to bring the transaction to Closing. Work with your agent to complete these tasks according to schedule.