Representation – Interview and choose a Realtor who can represent you in the transaction. Make sure the Realtor you choose will assist you in all phases of the home buying process.
Financing/Pre-Qualification – Extremely important! It is unfair to you and to the sellers to look without determining a target price range you can afford and qualify for. If you can attach a pre-qualification letter with your offer to purchase a property, a seller will take your offer more seriously and be more willing to negotiate price and terms!
Finding Your Dream Home – Make a list of your "needs" in a home and your "wish" list. Discuss them with your Realtor to evaluate if they are realistic or the price range you have been pre-qualified for. Your Realtor should search the Multiple Listing Service, For Sale By Owners, and foreclosures to find the right home that fits your needs and budget!
Making the Offer – Your Realtor can provide you the average sales price compared to the listing price and provide you with Comparable Sales in the neighborhood. Price is not the only important factor in an offer to purchase. Closing date, terms, lead paint disclosure; and seller's property disclosures should be obtained and reviewed. Be aware of the subdivision's covenants, conditions and restrictions, and homeowner association dues or taxes. Consider what personal properties will be included, financing, home inspection/repair clauses, termite letter (CL-100 form), contingencies (if needed), and the amount of earnest money. Extremely low offers often hinder the negotiation process, sellers tend to not take the buyer serious or are offended, and will not negotiate their best price. Larger earnest money can show sincerity and sometimes betters the negotiating power - especially when a pre-approval for loan letter is attached to contract.
After the Contract is Signed – Your Realtor will assist in coordinating the home inspection. It is always recommended to do a complete home inspection covering all functions and structures of the house. Finishing the loan process, appraising, and final walk through before closing on your new home ensures all required work was completed and confirm the house was in the same general condition it was when you made your offer. You also need to arrange for utilities to be switched over to your name on the date of the closing.
Closing – Coordinate the closing with a local real estate attorney and arrange to attend your closing to review, sign the necessary paperwork, and provide the balance of the funds needed to close. You may want to check with the attorney to see if they will require a cashier's check or certified funds.
Looking for a Realtor to represent you in all the phases of home buying? Contact Vikki Crossland, CRS, ABR, and put her to work for you!