12 STEPS OF THE HOME BUYING PROCESS
1 . Get Pre-qualified & Determine Your Budget
Connect with a lender (check out our recommended lenders). A lender will be able to explain the various loan options and help you pick the one that's best for you. They can also recommend a purchase price range based on your desired monthly payment amount and the loan options you qualify for.
2. Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents are licensed professionals who have access to information that isn’t open to the public. Need help finding an agent? We've got you covered! Click here. Once you’re pre-approved and have an agent, you’re ready to begin looking for a home!
3. Property Search
Your agent will ask you an array of questions to get to know you and the type of property you're looking for. You will then have the option to be set up for new listing email alerts to be the first to know when a property matching your search criteria hits the market. In addition to the auto search, your agent will be watching closely to ensure your dream property doesn't get overlooked.
This is the fun part! As you browse through the properties that your agent sends to you, remember that finding a property that checks all of your boxes is highly unlikely so keep an open mind and know your priorities. You will have the opportunity to view a number of homes based on your favorite properties sent to you. When viewing each property, tell your agent what you like and dislike about that property.
5. Offers and Negotiations
Once you've found a property you're interested in, your agent will review the comps in order to assist you in determining the amount to offer the seller. Your agent will facilitate the negotiations on your behalf and under your direction. Negotiations will proceed until both you and the seller agree on all terms and sign all documents.
6. Earnest Money
Earnest money is the money you pay soon after a seller has accepted your offer on a home. You'll pay this by personal check or wire transfer directly to the title company where it will be held in escrow until closing. At closing, it will be applied toward your closing costs. If you back out of the sale due to a failed contingency (e.g. inspection report), you can recover your earnest money in full. If you back out of the sale for reasons not covered by contingencies, you will forfeit your earnest money to the seller.
HOA Documents and Seller Disclosures
The sellers will provide you with any HOA documents, due diligence documents and disclosures. We encourage you to read through the HOA documents to become familiar with any covenants, rules and regulations for the neighborhood, We will also be reviewing the HOA's financial status to check for any weaknesses. The seller will also disclose any information or issues pertaining to the property that they are aware of in the seller's disclosures.
Even if the home you plan to purchase appears to be flawless, there's no substitute for having a trained professional do a home inspection to assess the quality, safety, and overall condition of your new home. If the inspection reveals serious defects that the seller did not disclose, you'll generally be able to rescind your offer and get your deposit back or you can negotiate to have the seller make the repairs or discount the sales price.
Approximately one week following mutual execution of a contract, the title company will provide you with a title commitment. This is a legal document disclosing any liens, defects, burdens or obligations that are associated with the property. We will review this and we encourage you to do the same. Should there be any cause for concern, we will recommend that you hire a real estate attorney to review it as well.
If you're getting a loan, once you have been approved, your lender will arrange to have a third party company appraise the value of the property. This process is in the best interest of you and your lender to ensure that they provide a loan for a property that has been priced fairly.
The title company will provide you with a Settlement Statement two to three days prior to closing that will show your final amount due at closing. That is the amount you will need to pay either via cashier’s check or arrange for a wire transfer at closing.
If you are a buyer paying cash for your new property, you may have the option of e-signing for closing vs. attending in person. Otherwise, you will have a scheduled closing appointment with the title company to sign your final paperwork. You will be able to take possession of the property once you have signed the paperwork and the title company has received your funds.