Get Pre-Qualified; Getting pre-qualified means that you have given all the supporting documentation to a lender and the lender has qualified you for a loan amount. Really there is no sense in shopping if you don’t know what you can afford. Your meeting with your lender should accomplish a lot of things. You will know exactly how much you can spend on a home. You will know exactly what your payment will be and how much money you will need to close escrow. You will need a prequalification letter in order to make an offer on a house.
Find a Realtor; You want to find a realtor that will ensure your home buying experience is successful. Your realtor should know market trends, neighborhoods, and all the areas that you would like to purchase a home. You should ask your realtor questions to make sure they have the experience to close your escrow. Finally you should feel comfortable with your realtor that they have your best interest in mind and not their pockets.
Find a Home; A lot of research can take place online when it comes to shopping for a home. Although you need to take tours with your realtor, to get a feel for neighborhoods. The internet cannot show you everything. You want to hear the realtor discuss everything they know about the neighborhoods. When you find a home that you like you really need to start your research. What are the homes for selling for in that neighborhood, what is the average price per square, and what upgrades does this home have or not have? You need to take a close look at the neighborhood, you should even speak to neighbors.
Make an offer; This can be an emotional time and the best advice is for you to not get emotional. This is a business process that needs to be handled in that manner. Make a fair offer based on the supporting documentation you have researched with your realtor. Remember it is also an emotional process for the seller. You can insult sellers will low offers. Ask for your realtors advice on what is the best approach to get the best deal.
Inspections; The inspection process includes everything you can think of! The traditional inspections include termite, property, roof, and chimney. Other inspections can be appliances, pools, pet odor, mold, lead based paint, and many others. These are inspections that your realtor should advise based on the house. Sometimes you will find things in the property inspection that will lead to other areas that need inspections. With all of these inspections is your own research. You need to spend time at or near this home during different parts of the day. Make sure that there are no surprises that you overlooked. Contact the local police department for any activity in that area. Contact the school district to see if the school you want is full or not. Review all your disclosures to ensure the seller doesn’t have anything that you were not aware of. Check with the city to make sure the property has all its upgrades completed with permits. The list goes on and on.
Close of Escrow; Close of Escrow is when the property has officially been recorded in your name. The money from you and your loan has been funded to the title company. The title company has taken your money and paid off all the seller’s liens and then the rest goes to the seller. If you negotiated possession to be taken at close of escrow then you receive your keys and get to move in. You then need to put all utilities in your name. Finally you get to enjoy your beautiful new home!