So you've decided to buy a home... GREAT! - Now before you start getting lost in the excitement home ownership offers, make sure that you are ready for this level of commitment both financially and emotionally. Whether this is your first purchase of property or it's been ages since you've moved, below we have listed the steps to be expected along the way with some helpful tips to keep you in the know during the entire process. This will be helpful on your journey to home ownership!
ARE YOU READY TO BUY?
First ask yourself this question in two regards. Firstly, are you financially ready? Do you have funds for a down payment? Have you been Pre-Approved for a mortgage? Are you aware of all the costs associated with buying a home? From home inspections, lawyer fees, insurance, and mortgage rates, to moving costs and how much you can expect to spend in home maintenance and repairs anually? These numbers add up quick!
And second, are you emotionally ready to make the move? Are you moving to a new City or town? Is this your first home? Are you about to leave a home with sentimental value? Are you moving for the right reasons? A good time to ask yourself these questions is NOW, before you have invested your time and money into a potential move only to realize that you're not ready for the transition you thought you wanted.
PICK A REALTOR YOU TRUST
When purchasing a home, it is in your best interest to use a Realtor®. They are trained to look out for your best interests throughout the entire process and offer a wealth of experience and knowledge otherwise unavailable to you. PLUS, when buying a property listed on MLS, YOU DO NOT PAY REALTOR FEES. (Yes, we get asked this often!) You need to use a realtor you can relate to, trust their opinion and be comfortable to be honest and upfront with. Afterall, the more open you are about your wants and needs, the faster the realtor can work to find you the right home!
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Knowing what you need vs. what you want are very important to know when shopping for a home. Also, knowing your BUDGET is very key. Nothing is more frustrating than falling for a home out of your budget and not being able to see past it when moving into a budget within your price range. Keep this in mind from the very beginning. By making sure you are pre-approved for a mortgage, this can prevent from any let downs. Also bear in mind that the asking price isn't always going to be the selling price. There is usually some wiggle room in there. So don't be afraid of looking at home just slightly above your goal buying price. Your realtor will help keep you in a realistic price bracket.
Another perk to using a realtor can be their skill for vision. Not every property is sitting there awaiting your arrival in perfect form. You sometimes need to see the forest for the trees. Having a creative mind with you who can help visualize what some simple upates or coats of paint can do, is extremely beneficial and could save you some serious cash!
MAKING AN OFFER
Once you have found the property you love, your Realtor® will help you to write up an offer. Usually one does not go in at their fullest budget unless, well, they are just that excited about it and believe it is priced very well, or there is an existing offer already on the property and they hope to steal it away from the first buyer. On the offer, you have the option of writing conditions to the sale such as home inspections, inclusions to the sale (appliances, furniture etc.),financing (amount of deposit), and closing dates etc. Your Realtor® will walk you through this slowly and make sure you understand exactly what is and is NOT included in the sale.
Sometimes it can take a few rounds to get the details accepted by both parties. Use your realtor's experience and knowledge during this time to make an educated decision on what makes the most sense for you. The joy of having the realtor is so that they can do your bidding for you! So take advantage of this.
OFFER IS ACCEPTED!!
Once the offer has been accepted, now is the time to submit your loan amount and property details to your lender and submit your deposit to the Realtor® to hold the property. If the sale goes through, those funds will be put towards the purchase price of the home. If the sale falls through prior to the conditions being removed, the deposit is refunded to you, the buyer. The only way you lose those funds is if you have already removed the conditions (making the sale final) and then back out, the seller keeps the entire deposit as compensation. An accepted offer does not mean you have bought the house! Not until the conditions are removed has the house been offically sold.
INSPECTIONS AND FINAL REVIEW
When you have been approved by your lender, it is time to conduct any inspections or appraisals you see fit. By using professional inspectors to take a second look at a property you are protecting your investment. There are many things invisible to the untrained eye that can be extremely costly if over-looked. Whenever unsure, it is recomended to have the appropriate inspections completed. If something occurs in the inspections that is worrysome or requires costly repairs, now would be the time to re-negotiate. At this time, you can request a reduction in the price, request that the owners repair the issues, or you can walk away from the sale all together.
REMOVAL OF CONDITIONS
Once negotiations are again completed and you feel confident in purchasing the property, you will remove your conditions and will have made the sale official! At this time you will take the contract of purchase and sale to your lender, decide which lawyer you would like to use, and start preparing the transition of utilities and mail/ other personal services that will require a change of information. (Your realtor will have a list of these services in checklist form)
On the date you receieve posession of the home, your Realtor® will do a walk through with you and present you with all the keys and or codes to the property. At this time, you will make sure all inclusions to the sale are present and that the home is in a clean presentable state. This will only happen on the pre-determined date on the contract. No earlier than what was negotiated. The Realtor® is only authorized to give posession once the lawyer has contacted the office stating the home ownership has been transferred and the funds have been recieved from the buyer's. Once the walk through has been completed and everything is in order, YOU ARE A HOME OWNER!!