10 Steps - How to go from Home Buyer to Home Owner
- Choose your buyer’s agent
Working with a buyer agent early in the process can be beneficial for finding and acquiring what it is you are looking for. Buyer agents not only show you homes, but are there to guide you and prepare you in what to expect throughout the process. They help fine tune your search to understand your needs while advising you on the market conditions, pricing, and financing. Once under contract they manage your transaction from the financing to inspections and repairs. Finally, they get you ready for settlement making sure that everything is in line to close.
Getting your pre-approval before seeing any properties is integral in understanding where you are budget-wise. Just because you can afford a certain amount does not always mean it is what you want to spend. Price can also effect the neighborhoods where you search and help you get an understanding of the type of product to expect in each area. This way you don’t fall in love with something that may overextend you.
- Let’s Go Shopping
Now that you have a buyer agent and a full understanding of all the who, what, where and whens of the buying process – It is time to shop! There are times that the perfect home will pop right out, while other times it might take a number of showings to find “the one”. Don’t be discouraged, now that you know what you are looking for you’ll be ready to move on the right house once you find it.
- Negotiate the Offer
There are many pieces to an offer. Price tends to be the main demarcation of what makes a strong offer, however there are other pieces to an offer that help improve or diminish its strength. Your timeline (the seller’s timeline), financing, inspections, appraisal, and/or other contingencies will effect what you present. Your buyer’s agent can help you determine how and what type of offer you are presenting and how to approach submitting your offer.
Inspections are an opportunity to make sure what you are buying is what you are expecting to buy. This is also the point where you learn about your home. What kind of roof does the home have? How old is it? What is the age of the furnace? Where is my main water shut off? Consider this you and your homes dating stage where you are getting to know each other.
At this point you have already chosen a lender. You are on your way to home-ownership but need to provide your lender with all the appropriate paperwork requested, in a timely manner.
Not all insurance companies insure all properties. Through recommendations and/ or research you should look for homeowner’s insurance early on in the “under contract” stage of your home purchase. This will help you in avoiding any hiccups that may negatively affect your ability to close on your scheduled settlement date.
At this point you and your buyer’s agent will be coordinating other aspects of the sale to get to settlement. For some sales there is little to do but to check in with the lender, title company, and sellers (listing agent). Other transactions might entail getting contractor estimates, coordinating repairs, measuring, or speaking to contractors about a post-settlement renovation. Keep in mind not to make any large purchases or pull any new lines of credit at this time as it could affect your ability to close!
This is it! Walk-through is scheduled and you have time and place to sign paperwork. You have scheduled painters, movers, and a celebration dinner.