The Buying Process
You’ve found the home you can see yourself living in, now what? There are several steps to the buying process you will go through before you can officially call it your own.
Purchase And Sale Agreement
Once an offer on a property has been made by a buyer and accepted by the seller, they enter into a legal contract known as a Purchase and Sale Agreement. This document outlines the specific terms and conditions of the transaction and is acknowledged by both parties by the signing of the document.
Once a buyer and seller reach mutual acceptance on a property, a home inspector is hired to investigate every nook and cranny to determine if the home is in need of any repairs. An inspector will check items, such as the roof, basement, heating system, water heater, air-conditioning system, structure, plumbing, and electrical. Afterwards, buyers will have a chance to negotiate with the sellers to cover the costs of certain repairs or to ask for concessions.
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, negotiation is the key to getting the best deal. Negotiations can involve everything from settling on a sales price to concessions and financing. Windermere Real Estate agents are expert negotiators whose job it is to represent your interests during the give and take of a real estate transaction.
You may already be pre-approved, but now that you’re closer to the actual purchase price, you’ll be working more in-depth with your lender on your final loan approval. To learn more about this process, pay a visit to our Mortgage Center .
You will receive a full report detailing the property history for you and your lender to ensure there are no legal encumbrances between a new owner and the property being purchased.
Once the offer is accepted and a closing date agreed upon, escrow allows the buyer and the seller to have an outside party ensure all parts of the contact are complete. Your Windermere agent can help coordination the completion of all necessary forms to the escrow company and monitor the escrow process until the transaction is complete.
At closing, all the paperwork is signed by the buyer and seller, both parties pay any settlement fees and the documents are officially recorded. Prior to closing, you'll receive a settlement statement outlining any fees which may apply to you. After closing is finalized and recorded, the home is yours!
Getting Ready to Buy:
You’re ready to buy – or maybe you're just ready to start seriously thinking about buying. There’s a lot you can do to prepare. With so much information available at your fingertips, you may already be doing a lot of your own research. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you get started.
Determine Your Price Range
The best place to start when buying a home is to find out how much house you can afford. Your Windermere agent can refer you to a loan officer who can assist you with determining how much of a down payment you can afford, along with a monthly payment you are comfortable with, and the type of loan that fits your needs best. Serious buyers who are highly motivated should go through the effort of getting pre-approved; not only will this allow you to focus your home search, but it will also position you as a serious buyer in the eyes of sellers when the time comes to make an offer. Check out our Mortgage Center for more information about financing.
Make A List And Prioritize
Imagine your ideal home and community. Now make a list of everything you envisioned. Then take that list and break it down from high to low priority. High-priority items are the things you cannot live without in your new home. Lower-priority items are those that are an added bonus, but not necessary. Your list can include things such as: number of bedrooms, need for a yard, style of home, and access to schools and shopping.
Tour Homes In Person And Online
Some people look at several homes before finding just the right one. And others find “the one” immediately. Thanks to the internet, you can streamline your search process significantly by checking out homes for sale online. And when you’re ready, your Windermere agent can tour homes with you on your schedule and create a personal checklist for each one. If you’re not quite ready to start working with an agent, you can visit open houses and preview everything that’s for sale in your market on Windermere.com.
You’ve decided you want a piece of the American Dream. Now what? The first – and most important – step to the home buying process is financing because you can’t do anything until you know how much you can afford. To get started, you need to understand what lenders are looking for from a borrower. There are three main factors that help determine if you qualify for home financing: income, assets, and credit history.
Most loan programs require the lender to verify all of your income sources. Typically you will need to provide paystubs, your W-2, and copies of your tax returns.
A critical step in the mortgage loan application process is to verify the sources for your down payment, closing costs, and assets, as well as documenting income and debts.
All lenders review a borrower’s credit history to determine the type of credit used, the amount owed, and the borrower’s history of repaying debt.
The Home Loan Process
Applying For A Loan
This is when your lender takes your application and reviews your credit history. He or she will also discuss your short- and long-term goals and reasons for wanting to become a homeowner. This information is very helpful when evaluating which loan fits your needs best.
Choosing The Best Loan
With so many loan programs to choose from, it can be difficult deciding which loan is best for your individual situation. During the application process, your lender will walk you through all the options in order to match your needs with the best loan program.
Locking Your Loan Rate
If you have a Purchase and Sale Agreement, you can lock-in your interest rate. In most instances, you have the choice to either lock your loan at a set rate and fee for up to 30, 45, or 60 days, depending on the lock-in period you've selected, or you can let the loan float. Your lender can help you with this decision, but the ultimate choice is left up to the individual borrower.
Processing Your Loan
Once you have completed and signed your loan application, your lender will work with you each step of the way to get your loan approved and closed in a timely manner. After you have provided the necessary financial information, your lender will arrange for an independent appraisal and preliminary title report.
In many cases, loan approval can be completed at the time of application. For certain loan programs, your loan file is sent to an underwriter for review. Your underwriter may request more specific details about the property or your financial information before approving a loan.
Preparation For Closing
After your loan package is complete, the file is prepared for closing and sent to your closing agent.
Your closing agent will call you to set up an appointment to sign the final papers. At that time, you will be asked to bring a certified check for the closing costs and down payment. After you sign, the closer will prepare the final loan papers so that they can be legally recorded.