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Home Buying Process


Find a Real Estate Agent

First and foremost, a good real estate agent can answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction. Even if you are not ready to buy for a while, an agent's advice will be invaluable. Avoid early disappointment. You cannot begin the process of determining a sales price until you get pre-approved, nor look at homes until you know how much home you can buy, all of which an agent can assist you with. 

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Most buyers work with the first agent they run into or a close family friend. You can find an experienced professional who will listen to you, conduct herself ethically, and knows your market well through referrals, open houses and other recommendations.
  • Study the rules for working with a real estate agent to make sure the entire process moves smoothly for you.

Talk to a Mortgage Lender

Lenders come in all types. Some make only certain types of loans. Others have a broader ability to match a loan to specific needs. Don't automatically assume that the place where you maintain a checking account is the best place to get a loan. Ask your real estate agent for a referral. Agents know which lenders perform and which do not.

  • Get a free credit report from a reputable place online. Don't bother paying to get a FICO score because your lender will use a different service.
  • There are many types of mortgage loans, make sure you choose the mortgage best for you. Ask your agent how easy it is to get some of these financing contingencies accepted by a seller.

Get Your Finances in Order

Once you have determined your down payment amount, set the funds aside and do not alter your financial situation. Lenders will track all monies coming into your checking and savings accounts, and large unexplained sums or monies from unusual sources could cause difficulties. Ideally, you want the money in your account for two to three months, which is called "seasoning." Make sure you:

  • Get a preapproval letter. There is a difference between being pre-approved and pre-qualified, and pre-approval is better.
  • Do not make any large purchases on credit or by diluting your cash reserves. Talk to a mortgage lender about what can go wrong in underwriting that could cause your loan to be rejected.
  • Presenting the wrong type of pre-approval letter could affect your chances of offer acceptance.

Make a Purchase Offer

Little is worse than writing offer after offer and none accepted. It can dampen your spirits and make you start to wrongly believe that you do not deserve to buy a home. Start by listening to your agent's advice. Don't be that buyer who thinks she knows best or you may become that buyer who needs to learn the lessons of rejection. Follow these tips to catch the eye of the seller:

  • When you find the perfect home, you need to make a purchase offer immediately. Many buyers are looking at the same homes who have similar desires and tastes.
  • If you encounter a multiple-offer situation, make your offer shine above all the rest by seeking out expert advice from your real estate agent. Some lucky buyer will win, and that buyer could very well be you.
  • Study the market comparables and your present type of real estate market, which changes all the time. Then learn how to make an offer to buy a home that will blow the seller away.

Share the Big News

Once your offer is accepted, you will enter the process of closing on your new home. Part of the home closing process involves due diligence on the part of the buyer. Talk with your agent about the types of inspections you might want to order and the timeframe for your contingencies. These steps will help you close:

  • First order of business is to obtain a home inspection for your own edification. Talk to your agent about examining the essentials.
  • Keep your funds aside for your closing costs. It is the money in addition to the balance of your down payment. You may pay upfront for an appraisal from your lender. 
  • You agent and lender will keep you in the loop and guide you through the entire closing process, and the types of mistakes that can cause delays.​

Work With Allison

Allison is passionate about relating to people, sharing her knowledge and creativity, and consulting with her clients through the process of buying or selling a home.

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