Purchasing a home is an exciting time, whether it’s your first or fifth. There are so many possibilities and opportunities associated with a new home, like a shorter commute to work or a new school and set of friends for the kids, more space for the family or the back yard you’ve been dreaming of, entertainment space to host get-togethers, a man-cave or spa-like ensuite bathroom. Whatever you’re excited about, the home buying experience will deliver it, along with a host of other emotions.
With all the excitement, stress will likely be along for the ride. There are many moving parts in a home purchase. You will need to view several homes, which can be taxing on your schedule. Once you find a new home you may not be the only person interested in it. Home inspections are a wild card where there will always be issues found, but it will be up to you to determine if they are issues you can or cannot live with. You must also get the financing to pay for the home, but if you haven’t gotten pre-approval it can sometimes be a process that leaves the purchase in limbo or stops the process in its tracks. There are so many more factors that come in to play throughout the home purchase that can cause stress, and potentially some disappointment.
Fortunately, there are many ways to get ahead of some of these issues, or even avoid some of them completely!
First, before you look at a single home, you need to talk with your bank or mortgage specialist. Find out exactly what you can comfortably afford. Know your buying power. This will eliminate most of the issues with your financing later in the process. You will have an idea of what price range you can afford, what interest rates are available, and what terms are best for you. It will give you confidence once you find the home of your dreams to make an offer knowing you can afford it, and obtain the appropriate financing to purchase it.
Your next step should be to sit down and figure out what it is you want and need from your next home. This is extremely important because it is easy to be distracted away from what’s important. You will find a home that has all the shinny new appliances you like, or oversized double garage with a man-cave, but its over an hour commute to work, or out of the kid’s school district, or doesn’t have a space for the home office, or only has two bedrooms on the second floor when you really need a minimum of three. The point is, you really need to have your priorities in line before you start shopping. It’s very easy to get off track.
If you haven't already done so, the next step is to find an experienced realtor who knows your preferred locations. It is a good idea to chat with someone before any of the previous steps, but this is the time to get them to start really working for you. A good realtor can help take the stress out of the process and make it an enjoyable experience, just as it should be. They can save you time, effort and money. They know the areas and the process. They will keep you on track, and- most importantly- from making costly mistakes.
Next, start shopping! Since you have more than likely been scouring the web for homes already, you probably have a few in mind, and it’s time to start viewing them. Send them to your realtor, and they may have some options for you to review as well. Once you have a few you like, they will set up some times to starting viewing them. It’s important to view as many as you need to comfortably decide. Different homes will offer different opportunities, so it’s important to see a few in order to make a good decision.
You found it! This is it- your next home. FANTASTIC! Now, it’s time to write an offer. Your realtor will go over market information with you such as, recent sales, average days on market, and current the market conditions to help you decide what price to offer, what terms and conditions you will require, best possession date, and anything else pertinent to the purchase. Negotiations can be a stressful part of the process, but again, a good realtor should be able to keep your stress to a minimum, and everything straightforward. Again, if you’ve done your homework, and followed the aforementioned steps, you’ll be going into this with confidence!
Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted! Now, the fun begins. Time to get your financing together, home inspection done, and any other conditions satisfied. Typically, you will get somewhere around ten days to get everything done. It should be plenty of time since you have already been pre-approved. I usually like to leave the home inspection until a couple days before the agreed-upon condition day to make sure your financing is in order before you spend the money on a home inspection. A typical home inspecting will run somewhere around $500.
Your financing has been approved and the inspection came back to your satisfaction. Excellent! It’s time to waive conditions and finalize the offer, another process assisted by your realtor. Once finalized, all documents need to be sent to your real estate lawyer. Your lawyer will handle all aspects of the purchase from this point to possession day. You will have to set up a time to meet with them in order to sign final papers and deliver the balance of your down payment a week or two prior to possession day.
OOOOMMMGGGGG its possession day!! The big day. So the morning of possession day your lawyer (as long as there have been no issues) will transfer all funds to the seller’s lawyer. Once received, the keys are released and the home is all yours! This usually takes place sometime between 11 am and 2 pm on possession day. Your realtor will pick up keys and arrange to hand them off to you at your convenience.
This has been a quick overview of the purchase process. Of course, every purchase is different and there are many different scenarios that can come into play; therefore, it is so important to have an experienced realtor who can help you make the right decisions and guide you to a smooth and stress-free finish.
If you have any questions about this process, or would like to sit down and discuss this topic in further detail, just ask. I’d be happy to help!