What should I know about buying a home?
Finding your new home can and should be an exciting time. Before you start your serious house-hunting, take some time to make sure you’re prepared for the home buying process. We can help you with your home financing needs, whether you’re staying in town or relocating.
Benefits of Buying
Buying a home is a big decision. When making this leap, it’s good to remember the benefits of this investment. If you're currently renting, buying a home may be an added tax benefit. Because your home usually builds equity every month, you’ll save when you buy it, while you live in it, and possibly make more money when you sell it.
We can streamline the mortgage process for you too. We offer personalized service from a mortgage professional that can help you determine the appropriate loan amount and program for you, this is one of the most important elements of your new purchase.
Costs of a Home
It’s a great idea to start by reviewing your budget and factor in the costs of owning a home. Are you able to maintain a home and make the needed repairs? If you’re thinking of a bigger home, are you factoring in bigger utility payments as well? Don’t forget your down payment and closing costs.
If you haven’t already gotten a pre-approval letter, now is the best time. We can help you research mortgage options early so that you won’t be scrambling once you find the home you want. Getting pre-approved will let you know how much home you can afford, and it will let sellers know that your offers are serious.
Making an Offer
All your searching has paid off and you’ve found the home you want. But before you start thinking of the perfect place to put your sofa, you need to get your offer accepted. Knowing how much to offer may take some thought—after all, the market conditions really affect sale prices. Real estate professionals have an advantage since most of the sales information is recorded in the Multiple Listing Service for your area. If you are working with a real estate professional, ask to see the residential property disclosure on the home and find out: If you haven’t selected a Real Estate professional, let us help, we know who the best professionals are.
- What’s the difference in asking price versus selling price in recent sales?
- How long are the houses in the neighborhood typically on the market?
- How long has the house you’re considering been on the market?
- Has the price been reduced and by how much?
- Do you know of any prior offers on the home?
You need this information to make a reasonable offer. Everybody wants to feel like they got a deal, but a seller may not take a low offer seriously enough to counter. At times, it is not uncommon in some areas for homes to sell above the asking price. Be prepared to go back and forth during the negotiation process until a final number is agreed upon. Remember that generally verbal offers concerning real estate are not binding so make sure that all changes to your offer to purchase contract get made in writing and initialed by all parties. A true Real Estate professional will do that for you.
Purpose of Earnest Money Deposit
You need to include with your offer an earnest money deposit to show “good faith” that you intend to buy the home. The exact amount is up to you and the seller, but usually is 1 to 4% of the offer price. At closing, the money you deposited is usually applied toward the purchase price or closing costs of the home.
Obtaining a Loan
In order to close the deal, you need to secure the necessary financing for the home. Set up some time to get your personal papers in order.
Closing on the Home
Your closing agent will prepare a closing statement detailing all of the expenses for the day of closing. Be sure that you have been informed ahead of time how much money you will need for closing costs. Check and see what form of payment will be required, e.g., a cashier’s check, etc. Plus, you will need to provide a copy of your homeowners insurance policy and evidence showing you’ve paid one year’s worth of homeowner’s insurance.
Your closing agent will also ensure that the title to your home is being transferred clear of any disputes, liens, etc. Ask for the receipts in case you should need to contact the provider in the future.