Congratulations! You have decided to purchase a new home. Here you can find basic steps that will facilitate the home-buying process whether you are purchasing your very first home or an investment property.
Hire a Real Estate Professional. The first and most important step is to select a real estate professional who will help you find your dream home.
Shop for Mortgage Rates and Terms. There are many financing options available and wonderful programs for first time home buyers. Shop around for interest rates and terms that are convenient for you.
Pre-Approve for a Loan. You should get pre-approved for a loan to determine how much you can afford and the price range that you should consider. A pre-approval will assist you in moving forward when you find the right home, especially if there are other interested buyers. It also shows the Seller that you are a serious and motivated Buyer and can afford to purchase the home. To obtain a pre-approval you will need to know:
· Current Income
· Job Status
· Cash Available for Down Payment and Closing Costs
· Estimated Assets and Debts
Determine What Kind of Home to Shop For. You can begin by going on the internet and doing some research to find out what is currently on the market. Create a realistic idea of the property that you would like to buy. Be sure to include the features that you need. Of course, it's nice to have all the extra features we want in a home but keep in mind as you begin your search that the "needs" are a necessity and the "wants" are just a bonus. You can also research the neighborhood and schools to make sure that the area you are moving into meets your family's needs and desires. A Realtor from American Liberty Realty will then show you homes that meet your expectations.
Visit Properties. Now you are ready to visit homes. We will schedule showing appointments, and keep track of the properties you have already seen. You should ask important questions such as how much and what type of taxes are paid, the school district, when the home was built, the condition of the home, the age of the mechanical systems, the amount of replacements or repairs that may be necessary, etc.
Take Notes and Rate the Homes You Visit. Be sure to ask questions and take notes for every home you visit. Write down your likes and dislikes. Create a rating system that will facilitate narrowing the field. Select the home or property you like best on the first day you begin visiting homes. Use this home to compare all the other homes. When you find one you like better, use the new one as the subject.
Prepare an Offer. When you find your dream home, it is time to prepare an offer. This is where you need a Realtor most. An experienced Realtor will help you determine a fair price for the home and negotiate with the seller and the seller’s agent for you. Prepare an offer that is within your price range. To make a stronger offer, we recommend that you include a Pre-Approval Letter and an escrow deposit (earnest money deposit), which will be applied to your down payment or closing costs if the deal goes through. If you have any contingencies or conditions, attach them to your offer. Depending on the strength and quality of your offer, the seller may choose to accept, reject or counter your offer. If the seller counteroffers, you can accept or counter seller’s offer. Once all parties agree, a title company or attorney will complete the transaction with the assistance of your lender and Realtor.
Meet All Contractual Deadlines. Meet the important dates on the contract. Keep a calendar of any and all terms and conditions that should be met in order to move forward with the contract and more importantly, release you from any liability or cause you to default. If there is escrow deposits due, be sure that the check or funds are delivered to the escrow agent (usually your Realtor, title company or attorney) no later than the day specified on the contract.
Get a home inspection. Most contracts specify the amount of time you have to do a home inspection. A home inspection is particularly important because it will determine if there is a leaky roof, foundation problems, cracked walls, insect infestation, mold, and electrical or plumbing problems. Once the inspector’s report is finalized & if there are any problems, we will negotiate to get you the most for your money.
Get a loan. You can get a loan from the same company that provided the pre-approval letter or you shop around. This can be done through a lender or mortgage broker. A mortgage broker is a middleman between you (the buyer) and the lender. Time is of the essence when you are shopping for a loan. Study and compare the different types of loan, find the best rate and be well-educated on your decision.
Although doing an appraisal doesn’t have specific time constraints, we recommend having an appraisal done as quickly as possible after your offer has been accepted. You want to be sure that you are paying what the home is worth. Plus, in most transactions, an appraisal is required by the lender to ensure financing. Be sure to ask your lender who their approved appraisers are to avoid any delays.
Here in South Florida, Homeowner’s and Condominium Associations are common. It is extremely important that you inquire if the property you are purchasing has an association. If so, apply to the association immediately. The approval process for most associations is 1-2 weeks; however, there are some whose approval process takes up to 4 weeks.
Plan to Close. Estimate your closing costs before closing to avoid any surprises. Closing costs range anywhere from 3-7 percent, typically about 6%. Schedule a walk-through about a day or two before the closing date, to ensure that the property is in the same condition in which you originally purchased it or that the seller has completed any repairs specified in the purchase agreement.
Now you are ready to close. The seller will officially sign over the home to you. Before signing any documents, have your agent or attorney discuss every detail with you.
Move Into Your New Home. Here are some basic things to remember before moving into your new home:
· Turn on the electricity, water and gas.
· Clean and/or replace the carpet or any broken or loose tiles.
· Notify your local post office of your new address.
· Transfer existing or install new phone lines.
· Try to clean, paint or make any changes to the home before you move in.
· To facilitate the moving process, you might even want to consider hiring professional movers.
Congratulations! You are now ready to move into your new home!