You want to buy a home but what do you do? Who do you call?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Commonwealth

If you are asking these questions, keep reading.

1.  You need to find a Realtor, one that has your best interest at heart.  You may need to interview a few until you find someone that you can relate to and trust.  A Realtor needs to be consistent, available, honest, reliable, trustworthy, compassionate and a hard worker to name a few.  If you are not getting any of these, you may want to interview a few more Realtors.  Some people will do step two first, either way is acceptable.

2.  Get pre-approved.  Your Realtor can give you referrals to good mortgage officers or banks, however, some people may already have someone in mind that they would like to use.  These people will educate you in different types of loans, down payment assistance programs, interest rates, etc..  You will need to provide them with personal information and permission to pull your credit, once this is done you will have a better idea on how much house you can afford comfortably. 

3.  Shop for homes.  Once you obtain a pre-authorization or pre-qualification letter, you can now start shopping.  Discuss with your Realtor what you are looking for in a home, for example; how many bedrooms? bathrooms? do you need a garage? etc..  your Realtor can now put together a list of homes fitting your criteria.  Once you look at all of them, write down the MLS number or addresses of the homes that you are interested in and give the list to your Realtor to make appointments to view these properties with you.

4.  Place an offer.  When you find the home you absolutely love, its time to write a contract.  Your Realtor will handle this for you, they will explain every part of the contract and fill it out with your offer and any other requests or contingencies.  Your Realtor will organize all paperwork with signatures to send to the selling agent.  Now the negotiation process begins.  It may take several times of going back and forth until there is a meeting of the minds.  This can be a little nerve wrecking but as I see it, if its meant to be.....it will happen.

5.  Ratified Contract.  Once the offer is accepted and everything is signed, you now have a ratified contract.  It is now time for a home inspection, you usually have several days to do this and the cost can vary from $250.00 - $500.00 depending on the size of the home.  I highly recommend this because there is so much you cannot see that may be seriously wrong with the home.  In the event there is, you have the ability to walk away or ask the seller to fix the problem.  At this point your agent will re-negotiate the offer to protect you, your agent will put together an addendum for anything that you are asking the seller to fix or replace.  Another important feature is a home warranty which costs between $350.00 - $450.00 and will cover a list of items that can go wrong when you move in. 

6.  Obtain homeowners insurance.  Shop around for a company that will give you a good rate and coverage because you need to have homeowners insurance in place before your lender will lend you the money to buy.  Sometimes it is best to use the same company to cover your home and vehicles to be eligible for a discount.

7.  Utility hook-up.  Ask your agent to give you the names of utility companies that service the area where you are purchasing your new home.  Call these companies and inform them of when you will be occupying your new home to have them switch the account into your name.  On my website, I have a button called 'utility hook-up' where you can switch everything right there over the internet.  My website is: www.ForSaleByStory.com 

8.  Walk Through.  You and your agent will need to do a walk through of the home prior to closing.  This is very important because you want to verify that the home is in the same condition as it was when you made an offer.  While you are doing your final walk through, verify that everything on the addendum has been done.  In the event that it has not been done, you will have time to call the other agent to inquire on what has not been done.  Everyone at this point will discuss any pending issues and hopefully come to an agreement before closing.

9.  Closing.  As an agent, I make it a priority to be there at closing with all of my clients and bring all paperwork in the event that there is a problem or question.  I do my best to be there every step of the way.  After all the paperwork is signed, you will then get the keys to your new home.  Congratulations!!

The steps I listed above do not list every detail of the buying process, there are many more tasks involved for your agent and mortgage officer, however, this is an easy version.  I hope this information is informative and that you find it useful. 

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