Steps to Home Ownership
Getting Ready To Buy
Preparing to buy a home can be exciting and terrifying at the same time.
You first may want to ask yourself:
1. What are you looking for in a new home?
2. How much cash do you want to invest in your purchase?
3. Have you talked with a lender regarding qualifying and
obtaining a mortgage?
You may want to make a list or brainstorm about the features and
amenities that you find most appealing in a new home.
Finding a Realtor
When choosing a Realtor, do not be afraid to meet with many different agents and Feel free to ask them questions such as:
1. How many years of experience do you have in this industry?
2. What is your selling experience in my community?
3. What services will you provide for me as my agent?
4. How will you represent me as a buyer?
5. Can you provide as much information as I need about homes in the area that fit into my price range?
6. Explain the paperwork that I need to sign
Once you have chosen an agent, it is important to establish specific goals that you would like to meet. Communication with your agent is key!
Starting the Loan Process
It is important as a buyer that you establish some kind of financing before you make any serious home offer. The "pre-approval" process allows lenders to look at your finances and credit history in order to make a general assumption about your loan amount.
The pre-approval process is when a lender looks at all of your finances and determines the amount of money you could afford for a mortgage.
In order to be pre-approved for a loan, you need to contact a lender. Your agent can help you help find a lender that you feel comfortable with, and that offers programs best suited to your needs.
Starting Your Search and Finding Your New Home
Now it is time to start the exciting search for homes! Beginning the search for your new home can be a great feeling. It is important that you directly communicate with your real estate agent about the desires you have for your new home.
You may want to begin by making a list of the features and benefits that are most important in your pursuit of finding a home.
1. Location: Where do I want to live? (Looking for a home in an area you feel comfortable is key)
2. What is the neighborhood like?
3. What school district will I be moving into?
4. Are there any zoning restrictions?
5. How far is this home from my job?
6. Affordability: What is my price range?
7. Size: How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I want?
8. Style and Design: What style of house am I attracted to?
9. Amenities: What amenities do I desire (ex. pool, fenced-in yard, etc.)?
10. Does this home have potential to increase in value?
11. Is there room to expand if we need to in the future?
Making an Offer on a Home
Selecting a home should be relatively easy once a home falls somewhere in your criteria and the property is desirable for purchase.
You will want to inform your real estate agent what you like about the house and make a list of your likes and dislikes with the property. Though you will most likely have done this already in a general sense, it is important to do it again for specific homes you have in interest in.
In the negotiation process you may accept the seller's asking price and have your agent write up the contract or reject the seller's asking price and have your agent make a different offer.
Doing your homework about loans will save you time and money. There are thousands of loans out there to choose from, but it is important to keep in mind several key factors that will help you along the way:
1. How much money should you put down?
2. How is your credit?
3. Is this your first home?
Receiving a loan requires completion of a loan application and specific financial documents including pay stubs, rental checks, and/or tax returns. You can receive a loan from a number of different financial institutions, namely: commercial banks, credit unions, mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks. Once your loan is approved, it is very important to keep credit purchases at a minimum so your rating is not changed for the final credit check just before closing.
Insuring your home is like making an investment in your future. You work hard to have a home; homeowners insurance protects you and your family from someone or something taking it all away.
There are many different forms of insurance:
Title Insurance - Protects you in the event that the title on your property has a lien, unpaid taxes, or other legalities that would make it invalid.
Homeowners' Insurance - Protects your home from fire, theft and other liable coverage.
Flood Insurance - Protects your home from flood damage.
Prior to closing, it is important, as the Buyer to take a final walk through the property to make sure the property's condition has not changed. It is equally important for both the buyer and seller to make sure the paperwork they are signing reflects the agreement of the original sale.
The closing process is always changing. It is even referred to as "settlement" or "escrow" in different parts of the country.
Closings usually occur about 60 days after both parties sign a contract. This mainly depends on the buyer's financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, surveys, and appraisals).
The closing process is the transfer of the title of the property from the buyer to the seller. The buyer will receive the keys to the home or the deed to the land, while the seller receives payment for the property. All legal papers are filed with the local record office, and CONGRATULATIONS - YOU ARE THE PROUD OWNER OF A NEW HOME!!
MAKING A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION Getting the Highest Price in the Shortest Time
In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better the marketing, the more offers you will get. In addition, the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and term you want.
The most important factor of marketing your home is pricing it right. Your price should reflect the market and the property's worth. The key is to get many people checking out your property at a fair price instead of having no buyers because your price is set too high.
Another important factor is the condition of your home. Make sure that your home looks well cared for and ready to sell. Fix any interior and exterior defects (peeling or faded paint, cracks. stains, etc.), are floors and carpeting stained and/or dirty, consider the landscaping, – are areas of the house visible to the street in good condition, is the driveway clean and clutter free? Condition alone can sometimes prompt fast buying decisions.
You should not only fix any defects, but also consider upgrading your home by making major repairs and cosmetic improvements before selling. A nice looking home triggers the emotional response that can lead to a financial response. Ask around for the opinions others have of your home. Real Estate agents who see houses everyday can give solid advice on improvements needed to make your house more marketable. Objective opinions are invaluable as sometimes it is hard to separate the personal and emotional ties you have for your home from the property itself. In addition, what the buyer first sees is what they think of when they consider the asking price. Do not show your property until it is Buyer ready. You do not want to give buyers the chance to use a negative first impression as a means of negotiation.
Learn how to negotiate the best terms for all parties involved. Terms are another factor that is possible to adjust to attract buyers. If you insist on getting your asking price, think of what you can offer buyers, for example, improvements you have made or offering seller financing at a lower than market interest rate on a portion of the sale price. An itemized sheet of improvements with dates completed can help to convince buyers why they should be paying the price you have set.
Lastly, get the buzz out about your home. List your house with a REALTOR that ensures your house will be MLS listed, advertised on the internet, and with local advertisers. In addition, it should be visible to a passerby that your house is FOR SALE with a sign. On your OWN, get the word out to your friends, family, and acquaintances.