For Buyers

Buying a new home is such an enormous venture. It can be easy and pleasurable or it can be a huge pain. The most you can do to make the process easier is to arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge makes even the occasional unexpected snags easier to handle.

The home buying process basically boils down to these steps:

1. GET READY
Get your financial documents in order to obtain pre-approval letter. You’ll need financial statements, pay stubs, bank accounts, tax returns, and any credit cards or auto loans. If you’re paying cash, you can avoid being “preapproved” but you may still need to provide proof of funds.
Find out what types of mortgages you qualify for
Improve your mortgage chances:
-Check your credit scores first and immediately correct any errors
-Register to vote
-Carefully manage your available credit and close old, inactive accounts
-Always pay all your bills on time
-Don’t apply for credit shortly before a mortgage
-Cut back on spending before applying for mortgage and stay out of overdraft
Consider hiring an attorney to review all contracts and agreements associated with the home buying process
Save for down payment (normally 10-20%, but can be less with FHA)
-Consider closing costs which can include taxes, attorney’s fees and transfer fees
-Consider utilities and monthly bills including homeowner association dues

2. FIND A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL
Ask the professional Realtor® you interview about buyer’s representation contracts and agreements; make sure you understand the terms
Explain your needs and expectations to the professional Realtor® you choose to work with
Expect only the best service. When I represent you as a buyer agent you can be assured:
-You can always reach me by phone or email and I will return your call
-If I don’t know the answer to your question, I will find the answer
-I will aggressively work to get you the best deal possible
-I work for you, and am determined to help you succeed
-I want you to be my forever customer – my business depends on your referrals!

3. FIND THE RIGHT PROPERTY
• Determine what is important to you, such as house type, size, number of bedrooms and baths, schools, neighborhood amenities, monthly mortgage payment, etc
• Be certain to include home owner’s assessments, utilities, and taxes when calculating the monthly mortgage payment
• In a seller’s market, be prepared to move quickly if you find a property that suits your needs

4. MAKE AN OFFER AND REVISIT LENDER FOR FINANCING
Submit a competitive bid along with the lender’s preapproval letter and be prepared to make a counter-offer
• Only one offer will result in a sale, so be prepared to move on if your offer is not accepted
Read all contracts before signing – make sure you understand all of the terms, ask questions
• Contact your mortgage broker or lender – make sure you understand the financing terms
Make sure title is clear, or make your offer contingent upon title clearance and acquire title insurance
Ensure the property is inspected by a licensed home inspector

5. CLOSING AND LIFE AFTERWARDS
• Protect your new asset by obtaining insurance such as homeowners, flood, termites, disaster, and fire
Weatherproof your new home
Maintain files – digital or print – for all warranties, insurance documents, contracts, etc
Keep original closing documents in a safe place, preferably outside the home (such as a deposit box)
Set up utilities in your name
Set a move date and hire movers or plan a move party with your friends
Get to know your neighbors and explore your new neighborhood
• If you’re happy with the work I’ve done on your behalf, be sure to recommend me to your friends and family!

 

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Information adapted from:
http://www.realtor.org/articles/home-buying-in-six-steps
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/boost-mortgage-chances

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