Phase One: Decide to Purchase
So you have decided to embark on your dreams of owning your own home? Congratulations!
Most people will only purchase an average of 2-3 homes in their lifetime, making this one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. The main key to purchasing a home is finding a good buy that fits within your desires, while also fitting within a workable budget. You know the old phrase “house poor.” Historically, purchasing a home is a good strong investment with several financial advantages, tax benefits and potential value appreciation. Owning a home allows you to have a built in savings program that renting does not provide.
As your real estate agent, I will help keep your stress to a minimum by educating you along the way. You do not have to know everything just to buy a home…instead, have a great realtor to light the way.
Also, as your agent, I will always put your needs first. Remember, this is your dream and I am your advocate to help you make your dreams come true.
During your home purchase I will help coordinate and educate you along the entire process. In my opinion, communication is the key to success.
Phase Two: Qualifying Your Purchase:
Finding a lender can be challenging; however, I work hand in hand with several lenders to ensure my clients find the financing they desire. I do caution my clients that a many times a lender will pre-approve you for an amount that is outside of the comfortable monthly payable limits. The reason leaders do this is because they only see the numbers on paper. The most common things lenders ask from each applicant are:
Copy of Driver’s License
Copy of W-2s
2 years of tax returns
However, the things lenders do not see that affect a budget greatly in most cases are food, travel and entertainment expenditures. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide the extent to which you want to stretch your budget in order to purchase your dream home.
Ultimately, your lender will pre-approve you for a certain amount but YOU will decide what you’re comfortable paying every month. Remember, your lender only sees your finances on paper. It’s up to you to decide how much you’re willing to stretch your budget in order to get into your dream home.
Phase Three: Search For Your home
Now that you are preapproved by your chosen lender, let us begin the search. This is where your needs and wants become two separate lists. Needs are the items you have to have in your new home for you to be happy and able to live there for at least several years. On the other spectrum, wants are items you would like to have in your new home if possible.
As your licensed agent, I will help you pinpoint the homes in the area that fit your criteria. The most well rounded home will meet all of your must haves and at least a few of your wants.
Things to ask yourself when starting your home search are:
What area of town do I want to live?
How much space do I need and why?
Large or small yard?
House, condo, townhome, or garden home?
Ready to move in or needs work?
What amenities do I want or need?
Do I want to live in an area with homeowners’ associations?
Note you do not need to know what exactly you are looking for in a home right off the bat. After looking at the first few homes, you will be able to better define what you are looking for in your dream home.
Phase Four: Let’s Make A Deal
We have found your dream home and you are ready to purchase. Now is the time to make a reasonable offer on the property. During this phase, many buyers become emotionally attached and forget that the home is a long term investment. It is important to have a competitive market analysis (CMA) done on the home to help determine if it is priced fairly in relation to the market. As your agent, I will guide you through the offer process while explaining it along the way.
An offer is comprised of 4 basic components:
Price – the dollar amount you are willing and approved to pay for this home.
Closing Assistants – The fees/ financial help which you the buyer ask the sellers to help cover.
Terms – these include items such as closing dates and financial implications.
Contingencies – verbiage that lets you out of the deal if there happens to be a problem that arises while under contract but before it closes.
Phase Five: Inspections
Now that the offer has been accepted, it is time to ensure the property you love is safe. We will get the property inspected (you do not have to but it is recommended) to find any hidden issues. During this time it is best to put emotions aside and allow reason to control. You do not want to purchase your dream home just to find out that it is a money pit.
An inspector’s job is to inform you of structural and safety issues within and outside the home. The inspector will point out major and minor items during his inspection report. Just remember to not sweat the small things on the report. As your agent, I will be happy to be there at the inspection if you are not able to make it.
If at some point in the inspection report a major issue appears, it does not mean you have to walk away from your dream home. We can request/negotiate the repair(s) of such item(s). However, if you do choose to walk away, you have the right to during your defined option period, which is set out in the offer. This rarely happens during home and roof inspections.
Phase Six: Keys to Your Home
The offer has been accepted and you have made it through all the inspections. Now to the final phase! I hate to see buyers lose the opportunity to purchase their dream home due to the failure to fulfill the final responsibilities to the lender, title company, and themselves. One of the things that can put your mortgage at risk is not staying in control of your credit and finances.
One of the quickest ways to fail at this is to make a large purchase before closing on your new home. What constitutes a large purchase, you ask? Anything that requires you to run your credit, use a credit card, or touch your savings account. If you must make one of these purchases please contact me (your agent) or your lender first.
The next item that slows or extends closing is not communicating with all parties involved during the transaction. During the final days, lenders and the title company will be requesting information from you and it is critical that you respond in a timely manner.
As the last week before closing happens, we will conduct a final walk-through of the home. This will ensure that all the repairs requested during inspections have been completed. At or before closing you will need proof of home insurance and certified funds to close.
Phase Seven: Life after Closing
Home sweet home! Take a moment to breathe…you made it through the home-buying process! However, now you have to come up with a plan to maintain that investment. It is your sole responsibility and in your best financial interest to protect your investment for many years to follow. I highly recommend routine maintenance on higher price items. These items include HVAC systems, pools, water softeners, and so on…
By doing routine maintenance, you will avoid costly repairs in the future. Remember that the sale is complete but, as your agent, I can still help you by providing direction to contractors and repair services.