Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.
Investing in a home is one of the most important decisions you will make. Your home is where life unfolds and memories are made, while building a financial foundation for your future.
The first step is to have a buyer consultation in order for me to get all the details on what you are looking for in your new home to ensure that your house hunting journey goes as smoothly as possible and according to your timeline. As a professional real estate agent and REALTOR®, I will support you every step of the way. I offer complimentary consultations for us to discuss how I may be able to support you in your real estate search. Likewise, this is your opportunity to ask your questions about the process and how you might benefit from my professional expertise.
If we choose to work together, I will work strategically and relentlessly to help you achieve your goals. Your needs will drive how and when we find your next home. I will take the time to get to know you, your situation and your needs in order to understand exactly what you are looking for. I will ensure that the house hunting process moves forward at your pace and with minimal disruption to your daily life.
Before we get serious about visiting potential houses, it is important to get a pre-approval letter from your lender or other proof of funds. This will give you an advantage in any potentially competitive offer situation and will help secure a winning offer once you have found your dream home.
We will typically tour homes together alongside any co-buyers, friends or family you would like to join. Homeowners are usually not home, so you are free to spend as little or as much time as you want at each property. First impressions count, and you may have a gut reaction when visiting a home. If a location or exterior of a house does not match what you are looking for despite the pre-selection process, we will not waste time on going in. I will give advice on home values and help you evaluate your priorities in the context of what is available in your price range.
It is always a good idea to see at least a few homes before making a purchase decision. This gives you valuable points of comparison. Some home buyers find their dream home on the first house tour. For others, particularly in a strong seller’s market, the process can take much longer. Whatever your situation, I will patiently guide you for as long as it takes to find your next home.
What should you look for when touring homes? Look beyond the staging and decorative items that convey with the house. Check the condition of the home. Keep track with photos and notes. Consider possible improvements you may want to make so you can research costs later. Do not forget to check out the outside of the property and the neighborhood.
Once you find your dream home, I will help you evaluate the market by providing detailed data on comparative sales in the area. We will then draft a well-thought-out offer that also protects your interests.
Your offer will be written using the most recent standard forms that comply with all state and local laws. The offer will include the following: the offer price, terms such as financing and home inspection contingencies, target closing date, earnest money deposit (one with offer and one at the signing of the subsequent Purchase & Sale Agreement), request for final walk-through, time limit of offer.
The most common contingencies of an offer are:
Financing: Unless you are paying cash, it is typical to write your offer with a financing contingency clause that lets you out of the contract if you are unable to obtain a mortgage within a certain amount of time. Even though you have a pre-approval, it is best to protect yourself in case something changes during the course of the process.
Home inspection: It is advisable to make an offer contingent on a satisfactory home inspection report within a certain number of days. This protects you if the inspection uncovers expensive and necessary repairs, so that you may negotiate costs with the seller or walk away from contract.
What happens if you face a multiple offer situation? In a seller’s market, you may be competing against other buyers. I will strategize on how to present the best possible and most competitive offer using real-time market data. Communicating with the seller’s agent to uncover any information about a seller’s timeline, motivation for selling, and any particular issues of importance will help us craft the strongest possible offer.
The seller can accept your offer as is, or can make a counteroffer with an adjustment to your terms. You can accept or reject the counteroffer and make your own counteroffer. The contract is final once you and the seller have agreed to all terms and signed the contracts and when earnest money has been received.
Only you will know how much you want a particular property and what you are willing to accept to get it. However, sometimes there may be legitimate reasons to walk away. Examples are: if a bidding war drives the price too high, the appraisal of the home is below your offer, a home inspection finds defects that would be too expensive to repair, the seller is unwilling to make reasonable repairs, you learn about homeowners’ association rules that will not work for you.
You will hire your own home inspector to carefully evaluate the condition of the house you are under contract on. The inspector will check a long list of items, such as systems, appliances, and structures. You will get a written report that identifies any issues and future maintenance needs.
You are encouraged to be present at the home inspection as this is not only your time to learn about any potential problems, but also a chance to learn from a qualified professional how to maintain and care for your new home in the future.
Once your offer is approved, you will need a real estate attorney to represent you in negotiating the final purchase & sale agreement. Typically, the seller’s attorney drafts the first version, but you need your attorney to review and negotiate on your behalf to protect your interests as the buyer.
The period between the signing of an offer contract and a final purchase & sale agreement is crucial. We will stay in close contact to make sure you do not miss any contingency deadlines and that you have all the information you need to make the best possible decisions. You will need to stay in close contact with your lender to make sure your mortgage process will be completed in time for closing. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the most common reasons for contracts to fail or be delayed are home inspection problems, financing problems, or an appraisal issue.
I will work with you and on your behalf to ensure a successful transaction.
A home warranty policy, which typically lasts for one year and is renewable, provides coverage for some of your home’s systems and appliances. In return for the annual fee, the company will cover repair costs and arrange for contractors. You will pay a deductible fee and possibly service fees if you need to use a warranty. Whether or not you need a home warranty policy depends on a number of factors and each buyer’s individual circumstances.
Home insurance is a must and you should shop around to get the best policy to fit your needs, budget, household, and lifestyle.
Together with your attorney, you will finalize all the paperwork needed to close on the purchase of your new home. You will be advised about required documentation and paperwork to bring to the closing ahead of time. The most important documents you will sign are: Promissory note to repay the mortgage, deed of trust, which gives the lender the right to foreclose if you do not repay the loan, initial escrow disclosure which outlines the funds on deposit for your property, statement of taxes and insurance bills.
After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house!
As first-time homebuyers, Ingvild made the entire house hunt seamless. She helped us narrow our search criteria by visiting many different types of homes and taking the time to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each one. Sh...
Whether buying or selling, I will work relentlessly on your behalf to achieve your real estate goals. Contact me today to find out how I can be of assistance to you!