Your very first step when buying a home is to get Pre-Qualified with a Lender; we have several to pick from! Many First Time Buyers want to start looking at homes before they get Pre-Qualified. This sometimes can be discouraging if you find a home and have your heart set on it and later find out you don’t qualify for it. We have helped many first time buyers and repeat buyers over the years and I can not stress how important it is to get Pre-Qualified before you start looking for a home. This will answer most of the questions that you have been asking yourself. The lender will discuss income, payments and home price with you. It is a necessary step for your REALTOR to help understand your needs and devise a plan to meet your goals. The best part of doing this is it is 100% FREE to you and very quick. Once your lender completes this process they will be able to give you a Pre-Qualification letter that simply states they have talked with you and based on that conversation you are Pre-Qualified for a certain price range. In todays world many sellers want to know that you are pre-qualified before they will let you view their property and without a pre-qualification letter you may miss what is the perfect home.
What is Important To You In A Home:
What amenities do I need in a home versus what I want?
Make a list of what you would like to have in your new home. Divide the list into two columns: needs (the features the home must have) and wants (nice features to have, but things you could live without). Since you’ll probably be in your home for several years, it’s important to consider future needs as well, such as an additional bedroom if you plan to have children or a yard for a dog. Reference your list when touring a house to make sure that it has what you’re looking for. If you are using a real estate agent, you can provide this list to them so they can find homes that best fit your needs.
How can I find information about the neighborhood that I want to live in?
Your real estate agent is the BEST source or our website can provide valuable information about areas where you may be interested in living. While price and home amenities often drive the primary decision to purchase, proximity to work, school, and shopping can make a big difference in the overall quality of life.
Home Warranty Policies
Sometimes you will see a home listed that comes with a home warranty, which can provide added assurance that you will not have to pay for a major appliance or other repair within the first year of purchase. These policies vary in what is covered, the out of pocket deductible, and terms, so be sure to review them carefully.
Working with a Real Estate Agent
Many first time Buyers are not aware that having your own Buyer’s Agent is 100% FREE to you as a buyer! The Seller will pay all of the Buyer’s Agents fees but you get the benefit and expertise of a licensed agent that will work on your behalf and not the Sellers.
What’s the difference if the Listing Agent represents me or I hire a Buyer’s Agent?
A Listing Agent has a contract with the seller to sell the home at the highest price possible.
A Buyer’s Agent represents the buyer and is responsible, among others things, to help the buyer purchase the home at a fair price.
While it’s legal to have a listing agent represent both parties, you should consider whether you think the listing agent or having a buyer’s agent will best represent and protect your interests in the transaction. If you buy one of our listings, we will designate an agent that will work 100% for you…that’s the benefit of a team!
If you go to an open house, it’s likely a listing agent, or one of their assistants, will be showing the property. It’s common for the agent showing the property to ask if you are “represented”. At that point, tell them yes and give us a call. Again, it is FREE to you to have your own Buyer’s Agent represent you. The seller pays us to represent you!
A home inspection provides you with information about the state of the home you intend to purchase. An inspector will look at the structural and functional aspects of the home, property, and its amenities. If the inspector finds something that is out of the ordinary, he/she will note it in the report. While it isn’t a guaranty, this will give you some assurance that there should be limited surprises once you move in. It’s important to review the report carefully so you can determine if there are any serious concerns with a home that may influence your decision to buy it. Sometimes buyers use the outcome of the report to renegotiate the purchase price of a home, if the findings indicate there are costly repairs or issues that should be addressed, or they request that the seller have the issue resolved prior to completing the purchase. You can learn more about home inspections at the American Society of Home Inspectors.
How long does it take to purchase a home once I’ve found one?
A typical closing period is 45 days, some can close quicker when paying cash, or some longer when there are difficulties or problems with an aspect of property clearance or financing. This is where a Buyer’s Agent can be extremely important to you. Many things can happen during the loan process and a good Buyer’s Agent can help you navigate through them. Being prepared and completely honest with your loan provider is a good way to help ensure a smoother and faster transaction. If you are in need of a lender, we have several proven lenders that are happy to speak with you. It cost you nothing to speak with a lender and get Pre-Qualified.
Do I have to make a 20% down payment?
No. We’ve seen the headlines too that say you have to make a 20% down payment to buy a home, but it’s simply not true. While it will depend on your credit profile and geographical location of the home, there are loan options available with as little as a 0% down payment.
Can my credit card balances stop me from getting a loan?
Yes. It’s important that you don’t increase or take on new monthly debt while you are going through the process of buying a home as it could negatively impact your ability to qualify for a mortgage (even if you’ve been pre-qualified or have already submitted your mortgage application). Once you are working with a lender, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you discuss with them BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY PURCHASES THAT ARE UNUSUAL TO YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES. The smallest thing could derail your loan process and jeopardize you getting a home. You may also want to check with your lender before you make any unusual deposits…many loans require that all deposits be sourced (where it came from). So, hold off on depositing your inheritance or anything that is unusual.
Many buyers don’t realize that in addition to your down payment, you will need to have money to also cover closing costs, which typically range from 1% to 4% of the sale price of a home, depending on where you live.
Closing costs include services that are provided on your behalf during the transaction (i.e. title insurance, closing services, loan fees, etc.), and can also include prepaid items like interest, and hazard insurance. Your lender will provide you with a detailed estimate of these costs so you are prepared for the total amount required to close your purchase shortly after you apply for your mortgage. FYI, your Buyer’s Agent can negotiate with the Seller to help pay for some, if not all, of your closing cost.
Coordinating your Move
Depending on the closing date of your purchase, you may be giving notice to your current landlord or moving from another property that you own. While the professionals handling your transaction will do everything possible to insure a smooth and “on time” closing, it’s possible that your closing could be delayed for a number of reasons. Stay in close contact with your mortgage and sales professional to insure that you know the exact date of closing, as well as when you will receive the keys to the property (take possession and move in). Renting or hiring movers, packing, giving notice, and finally moving typically require advanced notice to get service providers, so being in constant communication can reduce the likelihood that you will have issues.