Buying a Home: Our 5-step Process
It’s important to realize that you need help, not just any help, but help from qualified professionals who have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process of buying a home.
1. TALK WITH A REALTOR
This will probably be your largest financial transaction. Developing a trusting and confident relationship with a Realtor is vital to getting through the process with more good decisions than bad and more workable solutions than insurmountable problems. Give your Realtor honest information about what you want and don’t want in a home, your financial situation, and the things that are important to your lifestyle. This includes schools, shopping, and proximity to jobs. Ask your Realtor for the names of people you can put on your home-buying team. To begin, this will include loan officers. Later it will be insurance agents, home inspectors, movers, decorators, and repairmen.
2. TALK WITH A LOAN OFFICER
There are many home loan products. It’s crucial to develop a trusting relationship with a knowledgeable person who will help you choose the right loan and lead you through the process from contract to closing. Understand the value of working with a loan officer who is local and available. Explain your situation and ask for options before focusing in on one particular type of loan. Loan products are constantly changing. Be open to suggestions that can save you a lot of money on your loan.
3. START YOUR HOME SEARCH
Your Realtor will do a property search and provide you with the homes that fit your budget and your wants. Allow time to schedule the showings and then plan adequate time to look at the homes you most want to see. While you may want to drive by a home before scheduling a showing, do not walk around the yards or look in the windows. Once you are scheduled to look at a home, look at it. You don’t have to spend a lot of time if it doesn’t suit your needs, but at least take a quick look out of courtesy to the seller who has made it ready for your tour.
4. WRITE AN OFFER
Once you decide on the home that is your top choice, your Realtor will help you complete an offer to purchase. This is usually a standardized form used by members of the local Realtor board. Understand that price is only one of the terms covered in a real estate contract. The financing plan, closing date, possession date, inspections, and many other points are covered in order to make sure that all parties have a clear knowledge of the overall agreement. Consider the advice of your Realtor. Calm advice based on the experience of writing many offers can help you avoid mistakes that can easily occur when you’re dealing with unfamiliar circumstances.
5. PREPARE FOR CLOSING
Your Realtor and loan officer will help you arrange the needed inspections, get insurance, and schedule each step that takes you from the contract to the closing.