Information for Buyers
Why You Should Use a REALTOR® in Your Home Search
Buying a home is probably the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. Having an experienced, knowledgeable real estate professional representing you in this transaction just makes good sense.
Buying a home is not like buying a car, a mutual fund or other commodity. It can be a life-changing event. Real estate agents fully understand the real estate process – and just as important, they understand the local market.
Of course they know the right steps to take, but they can also help you avoid a misstep in your home purchase. If a new freeway is going to be built a few blocks away, they’ll probably know it. If you’re unsure about school districts, they’ll be able to direct you to answers. If you’re unsure of a builder’s reputation, they’ll know how you can confirm it.
Your REALTOR® also performs another important function: minimizing the emotion involved in a home transaction. You may be in love with a home, but your agent can point out factors that might not make it right for you.
Let’s begin the home buying process so that you can understand how easy and hassle-free I can make it for you.
Buying a Home the Traditional Method
#1 Getting Ready To Buy
Are you ready to build the “American Dream?” Preparing to buy a home can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Fortunately, I can lead you in the right direction toward the home for your dreams. You first may want to ask yourself these questions:
- What am I looking for in a new home?
- Do I have enough money to purchase a new home?
- How does my credit look?
You may want to make a list or brainstorm about the features and amenities that you find most appealing in a new home.
#2 Contact a REALTOR®
A real estate agent can help you through the entire process of buying a home, starting with the mortgage and continuing right through closing – and into the future. Your REALTOR® can help you shop for the best interest rate and terms and, if you wish, suggest mortgage lenders.
#3 Get Pre-approved for a Loan
Your next step should be to contact several local & respected lenders and determine which one will give you most favorable terms. Review your credit score with your lender. The higher your credit score, the better interest rate you can command. Your REALTOR® can assist you with a list of reputable lenders. Your lender should be able to provide you with a pre-approval letter, along with a “good faith estimate” of all closing costs associated with your mortgage. It is important as a buyer that you establish some kind of financing before you make any serious home offer. The “pre-approval” process allows lenders to take a look at your finances and credit history in order to make a general assumption about your loan amount.
The pre-approval process is when a lender looks at all of your finances and determines the amount of money you could afford for a mortgage. Doing your homework about loans will save you both time and money. There are thousands of loans out there to choose from, but it is important to keep in mind several key factors that will help you along the way:
- How much money should I put down?
- How is my credit?
- Is this my first home?
#4 Beginning Your Search
By now you should have a good idea of how much home you can afford. This will help your REALTOR® narrow down your home search. You should also begin researching the neighborhoods in which you might want to live. I can help with this as well. Decide which amenities and features you must have – and which ones would be nice but not necessary.
Some things to consider while compiling your criteria:
- Bedrooms & Baths
- Price Range
- Neighbor hood
- School District
- Style of home
- Other amenities such as; acreage, outbuildings, view etc…
#5 Finding Your New Home
Beginning the search for your new home can be a great feeling. It is important that you directly communicate what you desire in a home are to your REALTOR®
Right here on carrieschliesing.com you can find listings that meet your criteria. Identify properties that seem to be fit needs and wants, take an afternoon and go on a driving tour. See what’s available in your price range and explore neighborhoods. Looking for a home in an area where you feel comfortable is key.
With Your Agent, Begin Seriously Looking at Homes
Your agent can add to the list of homes you’ve already identified – including ones that are “new” on the market. Look at homes with a critical eye – does the floor plan work for you, is the property in good condition, would it be right for your lifestyle? In short, can you imagine yourself and your family living there? Take notes at each home you visit. What do you like and not like? Narrow down your choices; re-visit homes in which you’re interested. See them at different times of the day.
#6 Making an Offer
When you’ve identified the home you want to buy, your real estate agent will help you prepare a written offer quickly. Your REALTOR® will be familiar with market values and will help you arrive at a price that gives your offer the best chance of being accepted.
At this stage, try not to become emotionally attached to a home. Your offer may not be accepted for any number of reasons. Have backup homes in mind. Be prepared to negotiate through your agent with the sellers.
Once Your Offer is Accepted:
- Have the property professionally inspected (I can assist with a list
of inspectors if needed).
- If necessary, request repairs
- Obtain homeowner’s insurance
#7 Closing Procedures
The closing process is always changing. It is even referred to as “settlement” or “escrow” in different parts of the country. With increased technology, most closings are completely automated and both parties do not have to be present at the same time to sign.
Closings usually take about 30-45 days to complete. This mainly depends on the buyer’s financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, termite inspections, surveys and appraisals).
The closing process is the transfer of the title of the property from the buyer to the seller. The seller will receive the keys to the home or the deed to the land, while the seller receives payment for the property. This takes place the day after closing and is called Recording. The amount the seller receives is based upon the amount that is still owed on the mortgage, any outstanding fees or taxes, and any additional closing costs. All legal papers are filed with the local record office.
It is this step where the buyers and sellers do very little. It is important that the buyer take a final walk through the property to make sure the property’s condition as not changed. It is equally important for both the buyer and seller to make sure the paperwork they are signing reflects the agreement of the original sale.
Last Minute Checklist:
- Contact utilities (phone, water, power, etc.)
- A few days before closing, stage a walk-through
- Obtain a cashier’s check for the down payment and closing costs.
- At Closing: Make sure the terms and conditions of the loan statement are correct
- Carefully read everything before you sign
ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!