An Overview of the Home Buying Process   

I often talk about broad concepts in the Real Estate industry. A better term might be the “30,000-foot view”, but this week, let’s go back to one of the basics. Let me outline a buyer’s steps when purchasing a home. Some of you may already be familiar with this, but some may not.

  1. First of all, interview several REALTORs®. Don’t just choose someone in your family, your neighbor or someone from your church. You need someone who has more than just a license. You need someone skilled and experienced.
  2. Get pre-qualified by a local lender. You can get recommendations from your REALTOR®. I strongly recommend not using a loan officer who works hundreds of miles away. Use a local loan officer even if they’re affiliated with a larger company. Use one who, like your REALTOR®, has local resources at their disposal. This will make your transaction less stressful.
  3. Search for a home with your REALTOR®. Your pre-qualification letter from the lender will provide a good parameter in addition to other criteria such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, acreage, etc. you desire.
  4.  Make an offer when you find a home you want. There may be negotiations involved and your REALTOR® should provide expert guidance on this. If the offer’s accepted, you’re under contract!
  5. Order a Home Inspection – your REALTOR® knows the good local home inspectors. Inspections can include a basic inspection, but additional inspections for radon, mold, septic and pest can be added.
  6. Meanwhile, you and your REALTOR® will be in communication with your lender. Your lender will need financial documents from you in order to elevate you from “Pre-Qualified” to “Approved”. This process could take a few weeks but be responsive in order to meet the deadlines in the Purchase Agreement.
  7. Your lender will also order an appraisal. A local appraiser will be used but neither you nor your REALTOR® has any say as to which one is chosen.
  8. If the inspections indicate repairs are needed or if the appraisal comes in below the agreed price, there may be additional negotiations at this point. Your REALTOR® should be experienced in guiding you through this step.
  9. Once clearing all of this, it’s time for the attorney to perform a title search, prepare documents for the lender, etc. Your REALTOR® should help you select a good Real Estate attorney.  At the end of the closing, which may take 45 minutes or so, you will be handed the keys to your new home! The attorney will record the transaction with the county within a couple of days or so.

This is not rocket science, but you need a professional who knows the ins and outs and who has the experience to guide you through one of the biggest financial decisions you may make in your life!  Hire a professional to represent you!

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