So you're thinking about buying a home?! It's the American dream, and your dream is about to come a reality. Now before you start hopping on realtor.com and looking at a thousand houses, you should take a minute and put a serious game plan together. Take a look below at our quick plan to HomeBuying101.
1.) Pick a REALTOR - This part of the process should not be taken lightly, and for more information take a look at our "Picking a REALTOR" page. When it comes down to it, you want someone who isn't just a REALTOR, but someone who actually "sells homes" and someone that you feel you can work well with. Having a good REALTOR is half the battle in the home search process. To contact us for a free home buyer session with John Port of Century21 Alliance.
2.) Get Pre-Approved - Arguably the most important part and definitely one of the most difficult parts of the home buying process is getting pre-approved and then getting an actual mortgage. Really, you shouldn’t even be looking at houses unless your’e pre-approved. If you are out looking at houses with a realtor that you picked, and your'e not pre-approved...FIRE THEM and find someone else. This is an integral part of the process. A pre-approval should take you 20 - 30 minutes to obtain, and it will let you know what homes you should be looking at, and what you can actually afford. Looking at homes without getting pre-approved can lead to major problems. If you are looking to get pre-approved today Contact Alex Luboff of First American Mortgage by clicking here.
3.) Meet with your REALTOR - The next step in the process is meeting with your agent. Every buyer should be meeting with their realtor to go over the process before they get out and start looking. Think about it, this is one of the most important decisions you are ever going to make. So it's probably a good idea to get educated. Have your realtor go over the process with you, and educate you on the types of properties you will see in your price range. You need to be prepared, so that you make the right decision. To set up a meeting with John Port from Century21 Alliance.
4.) Condense Your Search - When you look for a car, do you look at every single car on the entire lot? No. If you did, you would still be looking at cars. To have a successful home search, you need to know what you are looking for. Ultimately you want to be able to compare apples to apples. Not apples to chicken cheesesteaks. It's ok to be open to different areas, but you want to be able to focus on certain areas. It's fine to be open to singles, town homes, or twins, but it always helps to prioritize your search and keep it as refined as possible.
5.) Find the right house - The home search process can become exhausting these days. There is just so much inventory, you will be looking at a ton of homes online, driving by properties after work, google mapping properties day in and day out, and one day after all of the work, finally it will happen. You will walk in and find THE ONE. You will know when you find your place. It sounds corny, but it's the truth. You will either see the potential, or see yourself living in the home and you will know this is the one. Now what? First things first, schedule a second showing.
6.) The Second Showing - OK you finally found the place, but now what? Do you make an offer right away? Well, in some cases you may have to, but in most cases, especially in today's market you have time to set up a second showing. This is the MOST important showing. Bring anyone and everyone that helps you make decisions. Mom, Dad, Uncle Ernie, bring em all and get their opinions. This is an important showing, you want to know any objections, that you may have been blinded to during your first showing. The people that love and care about you the most, will definitely bring those objections forward. If you hear all of the objections, and still love the house, GREAT! It's time to make an offer.
7.) Making an Offer - Obviously you love this home, so it's time to make the offer. Now the million dollar question....How do you decide where to come in, and how low to go? The most common misconception at this point of the process is that you should tell a seller how terrible their home is and then give them an offer. Did you tell someone that they are ugly and have bad breath before you ask them on a date???? No. Look, the seller knows that you like their home, and they don’t want to be told whats wrong with their home. So how do you make a low offer? You base your offer off of the market. If a home is on the market for 100 days at the same price, chances are its going to sell below list price. The question is how low can you get it. This is where a great negotiator comes in. If your realtor is selling properties on a DAILY basis, they will know how to negotiate the best price for you.
8.) The Home Inspection - Offer in, and offer accepted. The next step is the inspection. Be prepared, this is where some deals blow up. Here's the thing, if your second showing was thorough enough, you should have a good idea of what you are in for. Just remember it's never as good as it seems, and never as bad as it seems. Think of it this way. You are paying someone to find problems with this home, and that person is going to walk through that house for almost three hours looking for imperfections. Imagine doing this in the place you live right now. They are going to find a ton of problems, but what you need to know is how many of these problems are MAJOR CONCERNS. Find the serious concerns at this point and negotiate with the seller. This is your last chance for negotiations in the process. Just make sure you are realistic. An unrealistic buyer can quickly upset a seller and potentially ruin negotiations.
9.) The Mortgage Process - You got the pre-approval, you got the house, you made it through the inspections. And you thought that was the hard part??? Not even close. In today's market the mortgage process may be one of the toughest things you will ever have to do. Think of it this way. They are going to ask you for every pertinent piece of paper since you were 18. Then, when you think it's all done they will ask for more, then when you've given them everything, they will ask for your 4th Grade 3rd quarter report card. Ok, it’s not that bad, but it can be exhausting. The best thing you can do is be prepared, and rather than argue, just get everything they need as soon as they need it.
10.) Settlement - There is light at the end of the tunnel!!! At the beginning of the process it seems like lightyears away, but actually it is right around the corner. Don’t sweat the horror stories. There are always mishaps, but most of the time settlement is an easy, relaxing day. Just make sure you spend time at the pre-settlement walk through checking the home out. Make sure all of your inclusions are still there, check to see that the inspection reply work was completed, and that the toilets, hot water heater, AC unit, etc are all in working order. Then go ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!!!
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The Mike Mulholland Team
CENTURY 21 Alliance
Michael E. Mulholland