Things you should know about buying
The inside scoop
The first thing that will happen is that it will dawn on you that you want to own your own home. The next thought is to jump online and find out all about it. The internet is an amazing tool and has a plethora of information.
GET YOURSELF QUALIFIED FOR FINANCING
You wouldn’t go out shopping for furniture or a car without knowing if you can afford it…that’s how it works in real estate. Contact a mortgage broker, your credit union (if you belong to one) and your local bank to get yourself pre-qualified. NOTE: Pre-qualification is NOT the same as a Pre-approval…you should know the difference. A pre-qualification is when the mortgage broker/credit union/banker collects information regarding your income, assets, debt and credit score and determines that you “should” be able to buy. A pre-approval is not only collecting the previous information stated but also taking it one step further by verifying your employment with your employer, verifying assets and sending your file to an “underwriter” who then says your “good to go.” At that point all you need to do is find the property and buy it.
FIND YOURSELF A GOOD REALTOR
Once you have your loan secured, you should then find a good Realtor to help you with the purchase. In most cases, the Realtors’ services are free to you except a transaction fee that his/her office may require them to collect from you at closing.
While the internet provides various sites to help you with your home search some of those sites are out dated. A Realtor having access to the MLS (short for Multiple Listing Service), has up to the minute status updates that can benefit you when great buys “pop up” on the market.
WHAT TO DO ONCE YOU'VE FOUND THE PROPERTY YOU WANT TO BUY
OK…you’ve found the house you want to make a bid on. You will meet with your Realtor to write up an offer. NOTE: You will have to put down what is called an Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). Your Realtor will help you decide how much to put down but this deposit is important because in essence what it is saying is “I like your house so much Mrs. Seller that I am putting some money down today to show you that I am in “earnest” i.e. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. Some buyers are worried that they will lose this money if the offer is not accepted…that is a myth! If the seller does not accept your offer, you get your money back.
OK…your bid was accepted and you are officially under contract. The next step is for your Realtor to send the signed contract to your mortgage broker/credit union/banker so they can continue processing your loan. In the meantime, it is advisable that you schedule a home inspection. If you don’t know a home inspector, your Realtor will be able to help you with some suggestions. A home inspection will reveal things that you maybe didn’t see when you put in the offer. What you want to pay close attention to are issues with big ticket items such as the Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, Heating/Cooling and any Structural Problems.
Once the inspection is over, your inspector will give you a report indicating all his findings. After you have read over the report, you have to decide if you are willing to take the property in all its glory. If the answer is NO, then within the inspection period you provide a copy of the report to the seller and cancel the contract in writing. As long as you are within your inspection period, you will get your EMD back (your Realtor will remind you of the timelines involved).
Once you’ve decided to move on with the sale, then it is up to the lender to order an appraisal. The purpose of the appraisal is to inform the lender of what the real property value is. This is important because if you are paying too much, then the lender will consider lending you the sales price amount as a bad investment. As a result, they could lose monies in the future and this would NOT be a good business decision for them. The appraisal is meant as a safeguard for both the buyer as well as the lender.
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS
Assuming everything went well with the appraisal, there will be a quiet period. During this time, the lender is putting the finishing touches on your loan package and handing it into the underwriting department for final approval. Depending on how busy the lender is, this period can take anywhere from 3-21 days. Remember, patience is a virtue.
Yeah! Your loan was approved and the closing documents that you will need to sign are being prepared to be sent to the Title Company. The Title Company will prepare everything for the actual closing day. On closing day, you will be told how much money you need to bring in. The money will be in the form of a cashier’s check or a wire transfer. At the closing table will be you, the seller (unless it was a mail away), your Realtor, the title agent and sometimes a lender representative. It will take between 1-2 hours to sign everything, but by the end of that time, you will be receiving the keys to your new home.
Your realtor will have been with you every step of the way and your final act will be to remember your Realtor, not with a gift (although, gifts are always welcome) but with a testimonial about how great they were and future referrals to friends and family for years to come!