- Step 1: Initial Interview
- This meeting is the time and place to ask all of your questions. It serves as a "reality check" – the chance to review what you’re looking for…and to see whether what you want fits your budget.
- Step 2: Establish Needs
- This the most important part of the process: defining and prioritizing what you need, and distinguishing your needs from your wants.
- Step 3: Establish Financial Parameters
- Define how much home can you afford based on parameters such as interest rates, income, debt and credit history, down payment, how long you intend on staying in the home and most importantly, your comfort level.
- Step 4: Define Geographic Considerations
- Determine which neighborhood or community is right for you based on several factors such as driving time to work, lifestyle, schools, etc.
- Step 5: Obtain Mortgage Pre-Approval
- A pre-approval is not the same as being pre-qualified. A pre-approval includes a mortgage commitment letter from a lender which provides you with considerable bargaining leverage when negotiating with a seller.
- Step 6: Show Property
- Here’s where the fun begins…going out into the neighborhoods and looking for your "dream home." Generally we’ll spend 3-4 hours at a time looking at homes, and in each session we’ll look at 10-15 homes.
- Step 7: Make Offer-Negotiate
- How much should we offer? What we’ll generally try to do is determine a fair price from the home and then devise a negotiating strategy to purchase the home at the best possible price for you.
- Step 8: Solidify Financing
- You have not experienced "home buying hell" until you’ve had difficulty with your mortgage application process. Work only with a highly reputable firm with a lengthy history of work in the area, and with a very experienced loan officer.
- Step 9: Home Inspection
- I always recommend to my clients that all offers to purchase homes be contingent on satisfactory Home Inspections by inspectors selected and paid for by the buyer.
- Step 10: Pre-Closing "Walk-Through"
- Immediatly prior to the actual closing, we will conduct a final inspection of the home in order to insure that the condition of the home has not changed since the purchase agreement was signed; to be certain the sellers have removed their personal items and debris; to review any corrective actions the seller was to have completed on the home as part of the terms of the contract.
- Step 11: Close
- The closing is when the house officially becomes yours. The closing will occur in the office of the title insurance company you select. The entire closing should not take more than one hour.
- Step 12: Move In!
FOR MORE DETAIL ON EACH OF THESE STEPS
Order Marty’s Buyer’s Guide
Get a Jump on the Competition
- Get your finances in order
- In this way, you will be prepared to make a strong offer when the right property becomes available. Buyers who are pre-approved for their mortgage have an advantage over the competition.
- Find a competent, trustworthy real estate professional who specializes in the area where you want to buy
- Sometimes listings sell before they hit the open market. An out-of-area realtor will not be privy to these new listings as soon as they become available.
- Carefully analyze what you need and want in a home
- Make a list, putting what is most important at the top. Items that you may be willing to forego belong at the bottom. You must expect to compromise on some of the features you desire. Occasionally you should reconsider listings that you liked but discarded if they did not match your criteria exactly. Such listings are worth another look if your priorities change.
- Ask about expired listings
- An expired listing is one that did not sell during the listed period. Sometimes these are relisted, but often sellers decide to take a break from marketing their home. Expired listings may still be available for sale.
- A few more tips…
- The more flexible you can be in your search criteria, the easier it will be to find a home. If more than one neighborhood is acceptable, you will have more listings available to choose from. Buyers who are willing to make some cosmetic improvements will also increase their odds. Look carefully at every listing that might work for you. Do not simply look at the outside as you may be pleasantly surprised by what you see on the inside.
Marty Siegel, GRI, CRS
Coldwell Banker Burnet