The Buying Process
Congratulations! You’ve decided to buy a home. Whether you’ve spent years saving and preparing to buy a home, or are unsure if you can afford it, the questions surrounding a house purchase can feel endless. The following information is intended to help you navigate through the home buying process. Here are some of the basic steps:
Hire a real estate professional
The first step is to select a professional to help you find your home and fine-tune your financial expectations.
Get Pre-qualified or Pre-approved
You should get prequalified, which determines how much you can afford and allows you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. See Pre-qualified vs. Pre-Approved for more information.
Define what you want
Create a realistic idea of the property you would like to buy. What features are most important to you? Make two lists: one of the items you can’t live without and one of the features you would enjoy. Refine the lists as you house hunt.
Search for homes with your REALTOR®
Now you’re ready to visit some houses. As a member of the Mid-Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS), we have access to existing homes, townhomes, condominiums, and new home construction. We will arrange showings, and keep track of the properties you’ve seen.
Rate the houses you tour
After touring each home, write down what you liked and didn’t like. Develop a rating system that will help narrow the field down. For example, pick the house you like best on day one and compare all other houses to it. When you find a better one, use the new favorite as the standard.
Make an offer
Once you have found “The One”, it’s time to get serious about the financial and contractual side of the purchase. Many aspects of the contract are negotiable. Remember, you never want to make any oral representations, it is recommended to always put everything in writing! The contract is then presented to the Seller. The Seller can accept the offer with no changes; reject the offer; or counteroffer with different terms, conditions, etc. Be prepared to transfer the earnest money deposit at the time of the offer.
Acceptance of offer
Once the offer is accepted and all parties have signed the contract, the “clock” begins. This is known as the effective date. All timelines and schedules are based on this date. If chosen as your REALTOR®, we will provide you with a schedule of important dates based on the contract. This will ensure that the terms of the contract are satisfied and closing occurs on schedule. If the terms of the contract are not satisfied, the seller could retain your deposit as default on the contract.
Arrange for a home inspection
After your offer is accepted, I can help you arrange a home inspection and provide you with contact information for some local inspectors. It’s common to find problems, including leaky roofs, cracked walls, insect infestations and foundation problems. If you negotiate repairs as part of the purchase, ask for a “walk through” before finalizing the paperwork.
Homeowners Insurance is required by all lenders on residences being financed. It is suggested that you begin searching for homeowners insurance within 5-10 days after the effective date, so closing is not delayed. The lender will ask for a copy of the insurance binder prior to closing.
After all financing and contract contingencies are met, you are now ready for closing. The lender will send your closing documents to the Title Company or closing agent. Once the title company prepares your closing documents, you will receive a Settlement Statement. This will tell you the final dollar amount that you will be required to bring to closing. You will need this figure in advance of the closing so you can get a certified check from your bank. Many times however, buyers do not receive their figure until the day of closing.
Prepare for life in your new home
Before rolling out the welcome mat, consider some moving basics: arranging for an alarm company, turning on electricity, water and gas, cleaning or replacing the carpet, and notifying your local post office of your new address. The best time for renovations is often before you move in.
We are always available if you should have any questions about the home buying process! We look forward to making your dreams come true.