Real Estate Tips
YOU WANT TO BUY A HOME
It's a big decision and there is a lot to learn but if you decided to buy, here is a quick-reference guide, in ten key steps, information and tools to find, purchase and finance a home that meets your needs and preference.
The key steps:
- Assess your credit and finances. This is central to any home purchase. This will help you make better decisions as to what you can afford and put you into a better negotiating position when it's time to make an offer to a seller. You goal here is to obtain a pre-approval letter from you lender stating you are qualified for a loan up to a specified amount. A pre-approval letter give you two advantages: sellers will find any offer you make more attractive if you are pre-approved for a mortgage and the time involved before closing may be shorter if you secured a mortgage approval.
- Find an accredited buyer's representative (ABR designation). A buyer's agent is an advocate for the buyer - not the seller - in a real estate transaction. Usually, the seller of the property you buy will be represented by a listing agent who provides expertise throughout the transaction to the seller. You should want the same level of service as a buyer. To find a REALTOR in your area who holds the ABR designation - visit REBAC.NET
- Assess your wants and needs in a home. Deciding what you truly want and truly need - and can afford - can be challenging. Set priorities and be prepared to face trade-offs. Your ABR should play a key role in helping you sort out your options. For example, total square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, ranch style, two-story, split level, preferred areas, commuting, size and shape of the lot to name a few.
- Search for your home. Perhaps the first choice you will make is choosing a neighborhood. It's important to choose a home and neighborhood that you and you family will enjoy living in. Your ABR will direct you to helpful sources of information and to web sites that makes shopping for a home, even in the preliminary statges, easier than ever before. Your ABR will prove very useful here.
- Negotiate terms. When you find a home that is right for you, it's time to make an offer. Your ABR can provide valuable assistance in this regard - counseling you on market conditions, price ranges and negotiating strategies. Your ABR will do a comparative market analysis (CMA) on the property you are interested in buying. This will give you a better sense of whether the seller's listing price is higher or lower than prices of comparable properties. Your ABR will guide your decision of how much to offer for the home. Current market prices, those sold within the last 6 months, are the most important factor.
- Obtain a mortgage. If you did the legwork discussed in step 1, you are one major step closer to obtaining a mortgage. Together, your ABR and lender can help you understand the process of applying for a loan, the closing costs involved and the truth in lending statement. Most importantly, your financial picture cannot change between the time you apply for a mortgage and close on your property, even after you were approved.
- Prepare for closing day. Many details must fall into place during the contingency period which is commonly called the "due diligence" period. It is important to follow the contract timeline, here again, you ABR will guide you through this period. Some of the important details include: complete a home inspection which will give you an idea whether there are any severe issues with the property. During this period you should finalize your mortgage which will include obtaining homeowners insurance, attend a final walk-through and determine exactly how much money you will be expected to bring to closing.
- Close. Closing is the actual, legal transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer and involves recording of the lender documents which announces to the world who owns the property and who has the first rights to the property should you not perform according to your loan documents.
- Move. You should begin planning for moving day well in advance. You can eliminate many of the surprises and hassles of moving by investigating moving companies, estimating moving costs and making a moving checklist. Before selecting your mover, confirm that the company is insured and provides coverage for your belongings.
- Celebrate. Congratulations!
Larry Isaac has the ABR designation.