Word Count: 542 words (3 minutes to read) Many things
Before you do anything else, ask yourself if you’re ready to buy a home. There are several variables to consider—financial and otherwise—before you take the plunge. Here are a few points to consider.
1. Getting Started
- Decide on an area that is acceptable to you
- Consider neighborhoods in your projected price range
- Look to buy a home for the future and not just present day
- Consider distance to work and school if children are involved
Once you’ve decided that buying a home is, in fact, the right choice for you, you’re ready to start thinking about the next steps. The process of buying a house is quite lengthy and involved, and you can anticipate bumps along the way. Still, things worth having rarely come easily, so prepare to knuckle down so you can secure the perfect property.
2. Get Pre-approved
Your first real challenge as a prospective homeowner will be getting pre-approved for a mortgage. So, what does this mean, and why should you do it before launching into your search in earnest?
Many real estate sellers will ask to see a letter of pre-approval (not pre-qualification) from aspiring buyers. To get a letter of mortgage pre-approval, you’ll have to show valid documentation proving your assets and income, verification of employment, and a good credit score, among other things. The official letter proves definitively that you’re able to obtain financing, which makes sellers much more willing to negotiate the price with you.
3. Find a Realtor
Find a company that has Realtors who can cover the entire state. Most agents cover only a few neighborhoods and in today’s fast moving environment you need a Realtor up to date with the latest technologies. Innovative agents who work with local home showing specialists are an indication of a very efficient person in your corner. The agents do not need to open the doors of the homes you want to see, but instead they should be analyzing the data, evaluating your offers and negotiating like mad for you. Look for a full time agent that works with many customers and maintains their working knowledge and skills in the real estate business.
At CityWorth, we believe in simplifying the home buying experience, which is why we match our clients up with one of our in-house realty professionals. We’re proud to employ a roster of savvy, experienced, and hardworking realtors who will work with you to find the perfect home.
4. House Hunting
Your primary house hunting time will be spent on the computer either on your own or with the help of the agent. The agent’s access to property information is a little better than yours as a customer. Look online on your own and have your agent active in searches too. Once you have narrowed down your possibilities then you will set up appointments to see the ones you have selected. Make sure your agent is up to date on all the latest innovations by having home showings specialists open the doors for you so you can see the homes at your convenience without the worries of conflicting schedules.
5. Make an Offer
When you’ve finally found “the one,” it’s time to make an offer. This can become a strategic chess game, and you (and your realtor) must find the balance that will get you the house without compromising your budget.
Your offer should be competitive but not extravagant; it should be detailed and specific; it should utilize proposed contractual contingencies without offending the seller. It’s the written equivalent of walking a tightrope, but that’s why your realtor is there to help. Your offer may be accepted, rejected, or countered, and it takes a practiced hand to play the game of counteroffers and win.
6. Scheduling an Inspection
Don’t underestimate the importance of a home inspection. This might seem like a superficial item on your home buying to-do list, but it can make or break a purchase. A home inspection can tell you about the major and minor issues present in your prospective home. The quality, duration, and thoroughness of an inspection can vary widely between service providers. However, commonly checked items during a home inspection typically include:
- Heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems
- Interior plumbing
- Roof and attic
- All visible insulation
- Floors, ceilings, doors, and walls
- Basement, foundation, and structural elements
The cost of an inspection can also fluctuate depending on the contractor and the services required. According to HomeAdvisor, however, the average cost of a home inspection can range between $279 and $399, with the national average sitting at $339. If repairs are needed, your realtor can negotiate with the seller to fix them, lower the sale price, or even terminate the offer.
7. Getting an Appraisal
An appraisal determines the fair market value of a property or home. It assures your mortgage provider that you’re paying a fair price for your new home. Appraisals can also help determine the property taxes you’ll pay as an owner. Lenders will often order an appraisal before closing, and it typically costs a few hundred dollars, paid for by the borrower.
An appraisal shares some similarities with an inspection, but there are a few critical differences. An inspection hones in on the structural and operational aspects of the home, looking for problems that may need to be repaired. An appraisal considers the home’s overall appearance and condition to determine the property value.
8. Preparing to Close
Before you close on the property, you’ll take a final walkthrough to ensure everything is as it should be. If fixes were stipulated in the contract, this is the time to give them the final look-over. If everything looks good, it’s time to close!
‘Closing’ means you’re finalizing the financial details of your mortgage transaction. These days, it’s not necessary to do this in an attorney’s office or anywhere specific, as traveling notaries are quite common and will come to you. You’ll sign the paperwork and ensure all your necessary documents have been received. The three main items to be reviewed during closing are the deed of trust, the promissory note, and the closing disclosure. After this is done, your lender will finalize the mortgage.
9. Moving In
It’s finally time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! After all, the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, you can pick up your keys from the seller and prepare for the big move. But wait—you’re not quite finished yet. Before you settle in and get comfortable, you’ll need to do a few things to make your house habitable:
- Secure the house by changing the locks and codes
- Hook up the necessary utilities like gas, water, electricity, air, and internet
- Check the smoke and CO2 detectors
- Investigate the circuit box and learn how the breaker works
- Find out where the water mains are
- Review your home warranty and make a maintenance to-do list based on your inspection
- Do a deep-clean
Once you’ve gotten these out of the way, you can focus on nice-to-haves like fresh paint and other decorative touches.
10. Concluding Your Move
Homeownership is a monumental decision for anyone. And despite all its stresses, it is an incredibly rewarding endeavor.
At CityWorth Homes, we know that owning a home isn’t the end of your journey; it’s just the beginning. That’s why we’re passionate about finding you the perfect home, whatever you’re looking for. At CityWorth, our goal is to make your homeownership dreams come true.
Let’s build that dream together! Connect with us today by email or phone, and check out our resources to learn more about what we can do for you.
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