The Home Buying Process

1) PRE-QUALIFY

As a prospective homebuyer, the first step you should take when you begin to search for a new home is to find out the amount that you are qualified to borrow. Fill out the prequalification form on this site to find out more. No matter what your credit history, do not assume that you will not be able to find an adequate loan. There are many mortgage brokers around that specialize in less than perfect credit who might be able to find you attractive rates and loans that meet your needs. In addition, even if you do not have the traditional 20% down payment for a new home, there are a variety of loan programs available that require little or no money down, depending on your credit.

To pre-qualify, you will be asked to state your income, assets, and liabilities. From this information, the mortgage broker or bank will calculate which loan will give you the most favorable outcome. Because the financial data you provide is stated and not verified by the mortgage company, the terms the lender gives you are not guaranteed.

If you are fairly certain you will be purchasing a home in the next few months, you might consider taking the additional step of getting pre-approved. In this case, you would fill out the entire loan application. After checking your credit and verifying your financial data, the lender will commit, in writing, to funding your loan, pending a successful appraisal of the home and a few other conditions. There is no binding commitment on your part to follow through with the loan.

By taking the time to get pre-qualified or pre-approved, you will put yourself in a stronger position as a buyer when you search for your new home.

2) DEFINE YOUR CRITERIA

Now that you know the price range you can afford, it is advisable to define up front your wants, needs, and desires. This will help you to avoid getting caught up in the emotion of the moment and will force you to focus on your greatest priorities.

Make a list in writing of the things you are looking for in your new home. Mark each as either a requirement or a want. You might also rank each want on a scale of one to five to evaluate its importance. By taking these simple steps initially, you will be able to more objectively evaluate each property that you view.

3) FIND YOUR HOME

Next is the fun partů Shop!

We have access to thousands of properties throughout the area, and will prepare a list of properties that meets your needs and budget. Fill out the "Find a Home" form on this website and we will contact you soon with a list of properties that meet your criteria. We will also take on you on a personal showing of those properties that peek your interest. Consider taking the Home Buyers Checklist with you to the appointment. This will allow you to analyze the property more objectively and to better remember what you saw long after the appointment is over.

When you find the home you are interested in, we will make an offer and prepare a contract.

4) THE CONTRACT

Once the terms of the sale are agreed upon, the buyer and seller must sign a written contract detailing the real estate transaction. We will prepare this contract for you to ensure that you are treated fairly in the real estate transaction.

Here are a few of the items that are a a typical part of a residential real estate sales contract:
Sellers' and Buyers' Names
Description: the street address and legal description of the property
Personal Property Items: detail any personal property that is included in the sale. Personal property is defined as anything which isn't affixed to the house and which a seller might remove and take with him or her.
Purchase Price: The total purchase price being paid for the property.
Earnest Money Deposit: The amount of deposit to be put down on the property. This clause should also stipulate who will hold the deposit (typically a title company or attorney)
Pre-qualification: If the buyer has not already presented a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage company or bank, the seller might include a clause into the contract stating that the seller must present such a letter within a specified number of days of signing the contract.
Financing Contingencies: If the buyer is planning to borrow money to fulfill the contract, the buyer might include a clause that the buyer can terminate the transaction if he or she is unable to obtain a specified loan and/or loan terms within a set time.
Inspections: Specifies in the contract the right of the buyer to obtain certain inspection before closing. This clause should specify how any issues uncovered by the inspection should be handled (that is, whether the buyer or seller share the cost of repair, one party pays for the entire repair, or the buyer or seller has the right to terminate the contract. This clause should also specify that the inspections should take place within a certain set time period.
Closing: Specify the date by which the closing will take place. Also specify the place that the closing will take place.

5) THE CLOSING PROCESS

Once both parties sign the contracts, the closing process can begin. You should meet with your mortgage company as soon as possible and provide them with a copy of the contract so that the formal approval process and underwriting can begin. The mortgage company will then request an appraisal be done of the property being sold. Any necessary inspections will also be done as soon as possible. Inspection issues will be resolved by the buyer and seller as set forth in the contract. All issues should be resolved prior to close. Be sure to keep all receipts, as these will likely be required by the title company. Your lender will also require you to get a hazard insurance policy on the property.

You should arrange a final walk-through of the property the day of or the day before close to make sure that all repairs have been done and the property is still in the agreed-upon condition. A day or two before close, your lender should provide you with an estimate of funds required at settlement. A certified check should be brought to closing in this amount. Also be sure to bring a checkbook to the appointment in case any unexpected expenses come up at the last minute. At the closing table, expect to sign many documents! The whole process generally takes around an hour, depending on your particular situation.