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Preparation
Guidelines to Finding Your Home
The Purchase
The Inspection
The Closing

 
 Buyer's Guide

The following information is intended to provide you with an introduction to the aspects of home buying. It is recommended that you choose a professional real estate agent you feel comfortable working with and rely on their experience and knowledge in making the final decision to purchase your home.

Preparation

Work with your agent to complete the following:

  • Speak with a Mortgage Lender/Broker and obtain written pre-approval for a loan. This helps you determine your purchasing power and enables you to act expeditiously and with confidence when you identify the property you would like to purchase. Additionally, a pre-approval assures the seller that you are qualified, providing you with an advantage when bidding on a home. This is especially helpful in a multiple interest situation.
  • There is a customary deposit upon making an offer on a home. Ideally, be prepared to have those funds available when you begin your search. The balance of the down payment will be due upon closing.
  • Review your credit report. Remove all disputed claims and clear up any debt if possible, especially outstanding credit card balances.

Guidelines to finding your home:

  • Define your search parameters. This typically includes price range, location, size, and amenities. Ultimately, flexibility will only work to your advantage.
  • Choose an agent to work with. Since agencies have almost all the same listings, working with one agency allows you to efficiently schedule appointments to see only those properties that meet your needs. In addition, working with more than one agent may actually prolong your search by having the same properties shown to you by multiple agents. Since prime property tends to sell rather quickly, prolonging the process may actually hinder you from seeing the property that best meets your needs. Lastly, by creating a good relationship with your agent, you assure that you are the first person they call when a new listing arrives on the market.
  • Talk to your agent. Be specific about your needs, price point, locations of interest and any other amenities you require in your new home.. If you do not feel comfortable with your agent, do not hesitate to let them know so that they may have the opportunity to refer you to a colleague with whom you may be more compatible.
  • When scheduling appointments, try to be available during the week. In addition to evenings, early morning and late afternoon is a good time to schedule appointments, as more agents are available during these times to provide access to their listings. In addition, by avoiding weekend and open house showings you allow yourself to view properties without fighting crowds of people (competition) and giving you more time to ask questions and get a "feel" for the property.

Once you identify the property - The purchase:

  • Contact your agent immediately, who will complete the necessary paperwork. The offer will include such provisions as purchase price, down payment, amount of financing, included and/or excluded personal property (i.e. window treatments, lighting fixtures, etc) and preferred closing date.
  • Contingencies in your purchase agreement weaken your offer. Be aware any contingency could take you out of the running if a non-contingent offer is presented.
  • Keep in mind that sellers are allowed to hear ALL subsequent offers while your contract is negotiated (or finalized). In fact a seller may accept another purchaser's offer up to the point of a fully signed, executed and returned contract. This means that until your contract is signed by both you and the seller, your deal may not sustain as the primary deal. Therefore, instruct your agent to proceed expeditiously.
  • Your agent will review with you the contract, perform a "due diligence" reviewing with you the "financials" and/or "issues" of the property, and ask you to execute the contract and put forward a deposit to be held in escrow until closing. Thereafter, the seller signs the contract and your agent will deliver one original to you and one to your mortgage broker/bank.
  • Immediately apply for a mortgage (if applicable). Your agent will work with your mortgage broker/bank to coordinate the appraisal of the property and provide the bank with requested information on the property. The loan process typically involves several steps from application to appraisal and finally approval. This process may take up to 45 days to complete and hinges on your ability to provide all of the required financial data to your broker/banker in a timely manner. 

Prior to closing - The Inspections:

  • A professional home inspection will look at the foundation and structure, roof, exterior, major systems (electrical, heating, cooling and plumbing), and appliances that will stay with the home. Plan to meet with the inspector, who will point out potential trouble areas. If the inspection does turn up some flaws, a seller is often willing to make repairs or some other consideration. Get the inspection report in writing. You can add a home inspection contingency to your purchase agreement. This requires the seller to make legitimate repairs - or if the seller is unwilling to do so, it allows you to cancel your agreement. An inspection may cost a few hundred dollars, but it can save you time and headaches in the long run.

  • The day before or shortly prior to closing (but usually after the seller has vacated), your Agent will accompany you on an appointment to inspect that the property is in the same condition or promised condition as stated in the contract. Be sure to check appliances and the removal of personal property, and that the premises are clean.

The Closing:

  • At any closing be sure to bring with you your driver's license, your checkbook for any last minute adjustments, and all funds discussed with your agent. 
  • The closing is ordinarily held at the office of the lender. At the closing you will first sign all documents necessary to complete the loan transaction. Thereafter, you will sign all documents to convey the property to you.


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