You Are Only 11 Steps Away From Buying A Home
Step 1, Get Your Finances in Order Your credit reports are an ongoing look at how you manage your finances. You must know exactly what your credit reports say about your financial history before you apply for a mortgage, because the reports play an important role in the mortgage approval process and in determining the interest rate and other loan terms that a lender offers you. If you haven't looked at your credit reports, you might be surprised at their contents, because errors are common.
Step 2, Get Familiar with the Mortgage Industry Finding the right loan and lender is crucial to your home buying success. It's up to you to determine which lender is best for your needs, and it's always a good idea to have at least a bit of background about the loan process before you talk to a lender.
Step 3, Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Do you know how much house you can afford? Probably not, unless you've talked with a lender. Pre-approval helps you in other ways. Consider this scenario. A home seller gets two similar offers. One is accompanied by a letter from the buyer's bank that states she is pre-approved for a mortgage in the amount of the offer. The other has no supporting documents. Which offer do you think the seller will consider first?
Step 4, Determine Your Wants and Needs Buying a home isn't as difficult as you might think, even if you're short on funds, but the process will go a lot smoother if you get familiar with your real estate market and narrow down your wants and needs before you start looking at houses.
Step 5, Learn to Work with Your Real Estate Agent Real estate agents represent buyers, sellers, or both. It's essential to understand agent duties and loyalties. Don't hesitate to ask your agent about what they can do for you and how they plan to help you meet your personal objectives.
Step 6, Start Searching for a Home Your agent will give you multiple listing reports to study. I'm sure you'll also spend time surfing the Internet for homes. You might even plan afternoon drives to preview neighborhoods. Those are all excellent ways to see what's available. Step 7, Handle Pre-Offer Tasks Deciding whether or not you want to buy a house involves a look at its structure and its features, but there are many other topics that are every bit as important to your purchase. Be sure to consult your real estate agent about these very important considerations.
Step 8, Present your Offer, Negotiate Terms, and Select an Attorney There's no single set of instructions that can cover all the differences in real estate laws and procedures that the various towns and locations, so the mechanics of making an offer and its specific contingencies depend greatly on your location. However, your agent will serve as the expert in understanding the most important issues when making an offer on a property.
Step 9, Home Inspections and Other Tests In some cases, home inspections are accomplished before the final purchase contract is signed. However, in New Jersey, inspections generally take place after an offer is finalized. No matter when you do them, it's critical to decide which inspections and tests you should perform. Once the results are in, your agent and attorney can help you decide how to move forward. Talk with your real estate agent or other advisor to find out when inspections should be handled and if additional types of testing are important for your specific purchase.
Step 10, Avoiding and Correcting Last Minute Problems As your closing date nears, everyone involved in your real estate transaction should check progress on a regular basis, because staying on top of things means you'll know immediately if there's a problem that must be dealt with. Once again, your real estate agent should be your trusted advisor along with your attorney.
Step 11, You're on the Way to Closing Most of your home buying problems are behind you now and you're on your way to closing, also called settlement, the event that transfers ownership of the property to you. Just prior to closing, you will plan a "final walk through" of the property just to verify the condition.
Final Thoughts The steps outlined here are a general home buying guide. You will encounter issues specific to your location and your transaction, issues that can best be explained and handled by your real estate agent, your lender, your attorney, your closing agent, or others who are helping you complete the home buying transaction. Never hesitate to ask questions. Ask as many questions as necessary to help you understand the entire home buying process. You are making a long term commitment and spending a major sum of money--you'll feel much better about the transaction if you stay informed and understand what's happening every step along the way, and have the best possible professionals woking with you every step of the way! I will guide you every step of the way!! Now let’s get started!
Donna Clayton - Broker, Associate
RE/MAX Properties Unlimited - Westfield, NJ