Decide to Buy
Is Home Ownership Right For Me?
Purchasing a property is a major financial decision. It’s a big move, literally and figuratively. Buying a house requires a serious amount of money and time. The journey isn’t always easy. It isn’t always intuitive. But when you get the keys to your new home — that, can be one of the most rewarding feelings ever.
When considering home buying… you might ask yourself … Is now the right time to buy a home? What are the tools at my disposal? And most importantly, who can help me find the right home?
Prepare to Buy
Build Your Financial File
Before you start shopping for your property, it is a good idea to make some preparations.
Your financial file should contain all of the important financial documents you may need to secure financing for your property. A typical financial file would contain:
- Bank statements (last three months)
- Investments statements (previous month)
- Credit card statements (previous month)
- Auto loan statements (previous month)
- Recent pay stubs (last three months)
- Tax returns (last three years)
- Copies of leases for investment properties
- 401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information.
Consider Down Payment Assistance
If you're searching for "how to buy a house" you've probably already put away some savings. But it’s important to note there are more than 2,400 home buyer assistance programs in the United States that offer down payment help in the form of grants, low-interest or deferred loans, forgivable loans, and other programs. Help with closing costs is also available.
Check Your Credit Rating
Lenders will determine your credit worthiness by researching your credit rating from the three credit reporting agencies, such as Equifax, Experian and Trans Union to determine loan amount and interest rate to offer. I can recommend experienced and knowledgeable lenders – part of my network team.
Recommend no career changes or large purchases at this point if possible. You want to show lenders financial stability.
Find a Great Agent
Find a Realtor you can Trust
It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. I can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:
- Look for a full-time agent – one who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
- Interview a few agents: Are they familiar with the area in which you are interested?
- Ask how much time the agent will have for you, and if they are available in the evenings and on weekends.
- Ask about their credentials and education: A good agent will continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends and hold the highest designations in their respective fields of expertise.
- Does the agent return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a property.
- Choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs and concerns.
- Pick an agent, with whom you feel comfortable.
Shopping for the Perfect Home
Take a Drive
Get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions, which interest you. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to own a property in the area. Start getting a sense of the properties available in those areas.
Narrow Your Search
Select a few properties that interest you the most and have your real estate agent make appointments to visit them. Ask your real estate agent about the potential long term resale value of the properties you are considering.
Time to Buy
Once you have picked out the property you want to purchase, your real estate agent can help you make an offer that the seller will accept. A good agent will investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property. An agent can also help you draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offers.
The Contract and Deposit
A real estate contract is a legal arrangement between a potential buyer and the property seller and has two parts. An offer (contract) is part one of the real estate transaction. Part 2 is when the seller returns with an acceptance to your offer. At this point the home is consider under contract.
A home inspection can now be ordered which is at the expense of the buyer. You will need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed upon in the contract. You can, at this point select a company for your Homeowner’s Insurance. An escrow account is established by the title company to hold the buyer’s deposit.
Once your lender has approved the loan, the lender will order an appraisal of the property. The appraisal should result in a value equal or greater than the home purchase price.
The Closing Agent
Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as a closing agent. The closing agent will hold the deposit and research the complete recorded history of the property to ensure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions which limit various activities such as building or parking restrictions. There may be recorded easements and encroachments, which limit the rights to use your property.
Time to Close on your Home
Final Walk-Through Inspection
The final inspection takes place a day before, or the day of the closing. You will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind, and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.
Home Services and Utilities
I will provide a list of useful numbers for the activation of home services and utilities before the closing occurs.
Sometimes there are delays in processing or some other minor detail that arise during the closing process– no need to worry. I am ready to assist you should any unforeseen situations occur. I am in constant communication with all parties involved to capture and fix early and avoid delays with completing this transaction.
The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the seller(s) will sign this statement, as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances to complete the transaction. If you are bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically into the closing agent’s escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the closing so that you may receive these items at this time.