Define your needs.
Congratulations on your decision to purchase a new home! Before you go house hunting, it’s a good idea to define what kind of home and neighborhood would best suit your desires and needs – make a wish list. Share this list with me. The finer the details, the more effective your home search will be. To further define your needs, you may want to divide your lists into negotiable and non-negotiable items, so I can operate with some flexibility when scouting for homes on your behalf.
Get prequalified or preapproved.
Now that you know what you want in a home and neighborhood, you need to find out what you can afford. There are two ways to go about this: pre-qualification or pre-approval for a home loan. I can suggest quality lenders and mortgage brokers to begin the process. In most markets, pre-approved buyers are preferred by sellers over those who are only pre-qualified.
Your pre-approved status lets the seller know:
- You have gone through an extensive financial background check.
- A lender is willing to do business with you.
- The likelihood of unexpected obstacles regarding financing is minimal.
Now you are ready to embark on your home search … an endeavor that can prove overwhelming if not approached with some forethought. The most efficient method is to allow me to do the “initial scouting” for you. Using your wish list as a guide, I can alert you of new and existing listings that have strong likelihood for meeting your needs. If these listings pique your interest, I will arrange home tours at your convenience. I’ll even visit the property myself to “check it out” for you and send you some pictures and my impressions of the property. Let me know how you’d like to receive my feedback, whether by phone or email.
You also can do some research on your own. Read local real estate publications, contact your local neighborhood associations, visit the local chamber of commerce, surf the Internet, or drive around your favorite neighborhoods. While these methods certainly can lead to your dream home, it’s important to note that 82 percent of home sales are the result of agent connections and those having the REALTORS® designation are very competent and have very high ethical standards.
Make an offer.
When you’re ready to make an offer on a home, I will help you determine the offering price by reviewing recent sales of homes similar in size, quality and amenities. Together we will draft a written contract that outlines what needs to be done by both parties to make the transaction happen. If the seller accepts the offer, the document becomes a binding agreement, so it is imperative that you carefully review it with me and speak up if anything is not clear to you. It’s important to note that if the seller changes any aspect of the offer, it is not a binding agreement until the buyer agrees to the seller’s changes.
Strike a deal.
Sometimes, you get lucky and the seller accepts your offer as is. However, in most instances, the seller will make a counteroffer. This is where my experience in negotiations will be invaluable. Keep in mind almost everything is negotiable when you are buying a house. This can give you a great deal of leverage in the buying process – that is, if you have adequate information and you use it strategically. Some items you may negotiate:
- Closing costs
- Move-in date
- Appliances and fixtures
Be sure to remain in close contact with me so you can quickly review any changes from the seller. Remember, bargaining is not a winner-take-all deal. It is a business process that involves compromise and mutual respect.
Prepare for the closing.
When an offer becomes a binding agreement (i.e. goes “under contract”), I will help you tackle the checklist of action items that you, as the buyer, have agreed to perform prior to closing. Depending on how the responsibilities are divvied up in the agreement, this is typically when you will:
- Conduct a home inspection.
- Have your lender get an appraisal and finalize your financing.
- Secure lender title insurance. Remember to also get title insurance for yourself.
- Shop for a home warranty, if that’s of interest to you.
Having these procedures done in a timely and professional manner is a must, as any delays could threaten a successful closing. I can also provide recommend service providers (e.g. attorneys, tradespeople, insurance companies, etc.). I’m willing to help coordinate those activities and making sure the vendors have access to the property to perform their jobs and perform my oversight on your behalf.
Close the deal.
Congratulations! The moment you’ve been anticipating has arrived. The closing is where home ownership is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. It is a formal meeting that most parties involved in the transaction will attend. Closing procedures usually are held at the title company’s or lawyer’s office. The closing officer will coordinate all the document-signing and the collection and disbursement of funds. This when you get the key to your new home. A few days before your closing date, your lender will send a final closing statement that outlines your closing costs, if applicable. I will review this document with you to ensure its accuracy, as well as help you gather any necessary documentation that you’ll need to bring to closing. Sometimes, buyers like to have their attorney review the documents.