From conception to delivery there are many steps and stages when purchasing your first home, whether it’s a resale or new construction.
Buyer or Dreamer?
Once you decide you no longer want to live with good old mom and dad, or pay rent, you must prepare yourself to become true buyer and future homeowner. The first step is to determine your financial position. If you live with mom and dad, take 6 months to pay yourself the amount you would be paying in a mortgage. It does two things: it helps you build up savings, and it helps you overcome the sticker shock of having to pay your own way.
Show Me the Money
Do you have enough money set aside for a down payment? The most common amount needed is 3.5% of your purchase price (for an FHA loan). There will also be what are called closing costs to complete your loan and home inspection processes, and to close the deal at the attorney’s office. Closing costs run about three and a half percent of the purchase price. Before you determine that this is too much for you, ask your home-buying experienced family, friends and coworkers about a savvy REALTOR® who can work with you in your area who will negotiate that the seller pay your closing costs.
Your REALTOR® has preferred vendors and can recommend lenders to help you obtain your goal. My lending analogy is this: if you have some credit issues or are self-employed or earn commission with fewer than 24 months in that job and on a tax return, you may need a Big Mac and you can only get that from one place. But if your credit scores are high and you’ve been employed in the same field for over 6 months earning wages or a salary, a taco may be right for you. You can get that anywhere from a fine restaurant with a real Mexican chef, or you could go to Jack in the Box and order that thing in a taco shell with meat and American cheese called a taco. Once you’ve discovered your lender needs and become pre-qualified by reputable, preferably local lender, you have become a potential home buyer.
The Dreamy Home
Next, clearly outlined the preferences you have in a home within your price range establish by your lender with your REALTOR®. Select the top 5 homes you prefer and enjoy shopping!
Once you’ve discovered your top pick, it’s time to develop an offer. Your Realtor should discuss with you the pros and cons of what you’re thinking. A strong offer is a high percentage of list price, has no contingencies, is offered by well qualified candidate working with a local lender with whom the realtor has great experience, and can close in a short period of time. There will be several documents that you will sign that authorized your broker to represent you and to direct the seller to pay the buyer agent fee. Additional documents include actual Offer to Purchase which becomes a contract when all parties agree on the terms. This document is accompanied by your pre-qualification letter and an earnest money deposit. The earnest money deposit is your ‘skin in the game’ in exchange for the seller taking his house off the market while you begin inspections and so on, and usually runs between $500 to $1000 dollars, depending upon the price of the house. There may also the negotiations to request a Due Diligence Fee from the buyer that is not refunded if you fail to close on your purchase. Once you and the seller agreed to all the terms, the offer becomes a contract.
Congratulations! You have just purchased your new home! Now your broker has 180 tasks to perform behind the scenes to get you to an on-time closing.
From Contract to Close
Your broker will begin ordering inspections such as the termite and home inspections and any others if indicated during those inspections. Focusing on the discovery of any major defects, you may prepare a request for repair proposal for the seller.
You’re also coordinating with your lender to get him several documents and other pieces of information. Be sure to respond to his requests as soon as possible to keep you on schedule to close on time
Your broker will recommend looking into homeowner’s insurance and provide any HOA documents, if indicated, for review.
7 to 10 days from closing you should have a loan commitment letter from your lender. Now is time to transfer utilities into your name and forward your mail beginning the day of closing!
Advice About Advice
Sure, the internet, the media, Uncle Herman, your coworkers, and dear old mom and dad have opinions about real estate, and your nearest and dearest have purchased homes and know about the process, but unless they are closing homes hundreds of times a year in your market, there’s no way that they are up to date on changing guidelines, trends and the latest market analysis. Hear what they have to say, but let your real estate professional be your guide.
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Chrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local,homegrown real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including First Time Home Buyer, New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Luxury Homes and GREEN Features. Contact her at 704.562.1030 TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com