Understanding the buying process
The following steps can help make the home buying process manageable and help you make the best decisions possible.
Start your Research Early
As soon as you can, start reading Web sites, newspapers, and magazines that have real estate listings. Make a note of particular homes you are interested in and see how long they stay on the market.
Get Prequalified and Preapproved for A Mortgage
- To get prequalified, you just need to provide some financial information to your mortgage lender, such as your income and the amount of savings and investments you have. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much we can lend you. This will tell you the price range of the homes you should be looking at.
- Later, you get preapproved for credit, which involves providing your financial documents so your lender can verify your financial status and credit.
- You need to understand there is a difference between being prequalified and approved for a mortgage. Time and circumstances can change during the buying process.
Find the Right Real Estate Sales Representative
- Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable.
- And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent – they’re normally compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house.
Shop for Your Home and Make an Offer
Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:
- Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
- Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
- Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly
It’s also important to evaluate the neighborhood and make a note of things such as:
- Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
- How much traffic does the street get?
- Is there enough street parking for your family and visitors?
- Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation?
Take as much time as you need to find the right home. Then work with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Be prepared for counter offers during negotiations before a final deal can be reached.
Get a Home Inspection
Typically, purchase offers are contingent on a home inspection of the property to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing. Your real estate agent usually will help you arrange to have this inspection conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. This contingency protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty if the inspection reveals significant material damage.
Finalize Your Financing of the Home
- Every home buyer has their own priorities when choosing a mortgage. Some are interested in keeping their monthly payments as low as possible. Others are interested in making sure that their monthly payments never increase. And still others pick a loan based on the knowledge they will be moving again in just a few years.
- Make sure your mortgage meets your needs and ability to pay.
Close the Sale
At closing, all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase is signed and you are ready to move into your new home. It is an exciting time put your need to be aware of all the closing costs. See the “Closing Costs for Buyers” page in this section for greater detail.
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