Talk to a lender and get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified. It is a very competitive seller’s market and a verified pre-approval will make your offer stronger. Pre-approval requires credit check, verification of employment, tax returns, bank statements & any other docs needed by the lender to tell you how much home you qualify to purchase. If you are paying cash, having a proof of funds letter is necessary.
Discuss your needs and desires with us, your REALTOR. How many bedrooms, baths, size of home, area(s), etc. Do you want move-in ready or are you open to a fixer upper? We will set up a search for you of active properties that meet your criteria.
Do some homework. Look at listings online, then drive by the homes and check out the neighborhood. Do the homes look well cared for? Are there any features of the neighborhood or the area that you love? Or hate? Keep track of the areas that most appeal to you. We would be happy to create a custom search for you to make sure you are seeing all the homes that meet your needs.
Once you’ve narrowed down the homes you would like to look at, call us & we will schedule showings.
When you find the house that you love, we will write an offer. We will look at comparative sales in the area & discuss the best strategy. Since inventories are so low now, it can become competitive when making an offer on an attractive listing. Some things that can make your offer more appealing in a multiple offer scenario are: making the terms more attractive to the seller. Do they want a quick close or do they need some extra time for possession? If the home is in good condition and you aren’t concerned, you might offer to waive inspection. If paying cash is an option for you, a cash offer is always at the top of a sellers list! Writing an “impact” letter about how much you love their home, telling them a little about your situation and why “their home” is your dream home can sometimes sway a seller in your favor. It is very common for sellers to counter offer, many times we will go back and forth several times. It is very important to be available during these negotiations because they are often time sensitive. We will send docs over to you for digital signatures.
At the time we make the offer, you will need to write an earnest money check. This is generally 1% of the offered price. Your check will not be deposited until we have an accepted offer. Once accepted, it is deposited in the listing broker’s escrow account until closing where it is then credited to your down payment.
Once the offer is accepted, we will send the offer and any counters to your lender so they can start the underwriting process. It will be important to get your lender any documents they need as quickly as possible during the entire procedure. If your lender tells you that you are “tight” on income to debt qualification, it is very important to watch your purchases leading up to closing. Financing furniture or a new TV for the new house could delay or even prevent closing.
The next step is to call an inspector and schedule inspection of the home. You may want to consider radon testing & pest inspection along with the general inspection. We have provided you with a list of inspection companies many of our clients have used but you may use any company you prefer, just be sure they are licensed. The inspection company will schedule it with the sellers at a time that is convenient for you. It is important to be present for inspection as you will learn a lot about your future home. Don’t be surprised or discouraged if the inspector notes many repairs. All homes have some minor repairs or maintenance items that can be noted, our concern is generally with the ones they designate as of major concern. Once we have the report we will discuss your feelings about the items that need repair and prepare an inspection response asking the seller to make the repairs. Generally, the inspection response is a negotiation between both parties.
Call and shop homeowner’s insurance for your new home. You will have a certain length of time specified in the contract to get an insurance binder from your agent.
The lender will order an appraisal on the home to ascertain the value is at least that of the purchase price.
1-2 weeks before closing you will want to call the utility companies and arrange for them to be transferred into your name at closing.
A closing date will be requested in the purchase offer and the lender will make every effort to get a “clear to close” in the appropriate time frame before that date. Occasionally, generally due to documents needed that are not provided in a timely manner (many times by employers, IRS, etc.), closings may need to be rescheduled. During the entire process, it is important to be vigilant in providing what is requested and following up to be sure items have been received.
Once a clear to close has been given, you will receive closing figures from your lender. Any funds needed for closing that exceed $10,000 MUST be wired to the title company. It is a very good idea to have the funds wired to be there at least a day prior to closing.
A valid government ID is required at closing, check to be sure your driver’s license, passport etc. has not expired, they will not let you close without one.
A walk through of the home prior to closing is always a good idea to be sure all the inspection items have been taken care of and there are not changes to the property that might cause concern.
The actual closing usually takes about an hour. Buyers, sellers & their agents are present. The loan documents and the deed will be signed now. If you get possession at closing you will receive the keys now, if the sellers retain possession for a few days, arrangements will be made at closing for the transfer of keys later. Closing is generally an upbeat time and sellers will share info about trash collection, neighborhood events & other helpful info.
We would be honored to help you every step of the way, we love being part of the process of getting our clients their dream home!
Curious about what’s happening in your neighborhood? You can create a custom market report to see what’s active, under contract, and sold in your neighborhood!