Buying a home is such an exciting, life-changing experience! But it can also be a daunting and confusing process, especially if it’s your first time. We’re here to help! Here are 9 steps to make the process as stress-free as possible:
- Get your finances in order. First things first, you need to get a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report, make sure the facts are correct & address any problems you find.
- Find a lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you find the right house. From there, you should find a house that you can afford. There are a number of tools & calculators online that can help you understand how income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, association fees, and energy costs. A good lender should walk you through this process and discuss loan products that will suit your needs.
- Hire a professional Realtor®. While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise that you can’t pick up from surfing the web. This is exactly why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. Select a seasoned agent who will have your best interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process. Also, remember you DO NOT pay for the buyer’s agent; the person selling the home pays the buyer’s agent. Feel free to call me at 312.953.5176.
- Find your home! Now you’re ready to begin the home search. If you work with the Blume Group, we will assess your needs and present you with listings that suit those needs. (Don’t worry, we can fine-tune this as we go along and hone into a favorite neighborhood and home style). Then the fun begins! We will tour homes, either in person or virtually, if you prefer. If you don’t have extra money set aside, you may not want to buy a fixer-upper. However, there are also a lot of wonderful properties that are great investments that might need a little fixing up (i.e., floors, paint jobs). If you’re attending open houses on your own, be sure to mention that you are being represented so you won’t get calls from other brokers trying to represent you.
- Submit an offer. Before making an offer, we will research the market and analyze the comparable properties to make sure you are getting value in your purchase. Together, we will come up with an asking price and negotiation strategy that’s competitive but also realistic. I am here as your consultant to provide you with the best plan in order to get the winning bid, even if we end up in a competitive situation.
- Get a home inspection. Once under contract, we have 5-7 business days to conduct an inspection. Normal wear and tear on a home is going to show up on the inspection report and is not something you will be compensated for. It is a significant health and safety issue and a large upcoming maintenance issue that should be considered. For example, does the home have electrical issues? Does the roof need to be repaired ASAP or in 5-10 years? Are there upcoming special assessments?
- Go through attorney review. Real Estate attorneys are the experts in proper title handoff and will ensure your issues after the inspection are given attention. They will work with the title company to make sure there are no outstanding liens on the property that could get in the way of your home ownership. They will also review the contract and suggest alterations, if necessary. The attorney approval process usually takes about 1-2 weeks. ALWAYS hire a Real Estate Attorney, not a generalist. I have a number of recommendations if you need one.
- Appraisal. If you are financing your home, your lender will require a home appraisal. The home must appraise in order for you to receive the full loan amount. If it doesn’t appraise, the price could be negotiated again, or the buyer would be required to bring more to the table, financing less. This could be very stressful during the later stages of the home sale process, another reason NOT to overpay for the home.
- Clear to close. You’re almost there! At this time, your closing appointment will be set, and a final walk-through will be scheduled to make sure that all inspection items have been addressed. Your lender will give you final figures on how much to wire to the title company. ALWAYS verbally confirm wiring instructions with the title company. Now is the time to set up utilities for your new property and turn off your old ones if applicable.
Want to learn more about the home-buying process? The Blume Group’s very own Sera Sousley is hosting a Homebuyer’s Mastery Class on November 12! During this seminar, we will discuss…
- Who is involved in the home-buying process
- How to decide on a budget
- What the home-buying timeline/schedule looks like
- What to discuss with your agent to ensure that you’re picking the best home
- And so much more!
What other questions do you have? Please let us know by giving us a call! We’re excited to answer all of your questions during the seminar. Details on time, location, and raffle prizes coming soon! Until then, you can RSVP here.