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Steps to Buying Your Home
Step 1: My Time To Own?
How do you know if it's the right time for you to own a home? Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Owning your own home is a great investment that provides specific financial advantages, including value appreciation potential and tax benefits.
- Home ownership can help establish the foundation for a life of financial security and personal choice.
- Your children have flown from the nest (looking to downsize), starting a family (present living quarters too small), time to establish a permanent residence where you can express yourself (tired of landlord rules).
- Are you ready to make a commitment to finding the perfect home? Let’s get started…
Step 2: Hire Your Agent
When you're looking for a professional to help you, know that above all else Buyer Agents put their clients first. Your Davis Real Estate, Inc. real estate representative will:
- Take time to educate you about the market and purchasing process.
- Assist you in sorting through necessities vs. desires.
- Preview homes with you that meet your criteria.
- Present your proposal and be your advocate when negotiating price and terms.
- Coordinate inspections and follow through to settlement.
- Keep your transaction moving smoothly to final ownership and possession.
- Resolve any challenges that may arise.
Davis Real Estate, Inc. is pleased to offer you a complimentary "Your Guide to Purchasing a Home" by filling out the request form, here.
Step 3: Financing Your New Home
It's normal to wonder how much you can afford. Although a lender will establish a maximum you may borrow, you must decide if the monthly investment is one you are comfortable with.
Consider these steps when financing your home:
- Interview lending professionals.
- Obtain a preapproval.
- Establish how much you will invest (initially and monthly) and select a loan option.*
- Provide financial institution with an accepted purchase agreement.*
- Complete lender requirements. (appraisal/inspections/etc)*
- Authorize funding at settlement.
*Your Davis Real Estate, Inc. Buyer Agent will assist.
Step 4: Discover Your Home
With your preapproval secured, it’s now time to get down to business. Your Davis Real Estate, Inc. agent will help you figure out what’s important to have in your new home and what would be a nice bonus. Some questions you might ask yourself include:
- Where do I want my home to be to be located? Near work? Near schools?
- How much space do I need and why? 2 bedrooms? 3? How many baths?
- Which is more valuable: location or size?
- Do I be interested in a fixer-upper? Or am I more of a low maintenance person?
- Is the neighborhood a priority? Parks? Playgrounds? Shopping nearby?
- What about a condo or townhouse? Do I want neighbors that close?
- What features and amenities do I want? Which do I really need?
Your agent will help you refine your search along the way, taking time to reassess after viewings.
Step 5: Make a Proposal
Congratulations! So you've found a home you love. Now you need to make a commitment to purchase. Your Davis Real Estate, Inc. agent will guide you through the process of preparing and presenting your proposal. Your agent's market expertise will help guide this decision. They will show you what similar homes are currently on the market, along with ones that have sold, as well as those that did not sell and are no longer offered for sale.
- Your agent will discuss the price (how much?), terms (when do we get it?), and contingencies (financing, inspections).
- Price is obviously the dollar amount you are willing and able to pay; backed up by market research showing what the home is worth.
- Terms cover such items as settlement date and time sensitive items included in the proposal.
- A contingency is an item that must be resolved in order for the transaction to finalize. Common contingencies are for home inspections, financing, and radon testing. For example: If the home inspection indicates termites, we would then try to come to an agreement with the Sellers regarding treatment. If they are unwilling to pay for it, the decision would be yours – to purchase the home and pay for treatment yourself or cancel the contract. Contingencies specify any event that will need to take place in order for the agreement to be fulfilled.
- Your Buyer’s Agent will also discuss how negotiations will be handled. Are you adamant on the price? Or would you be willing to pay $2,000 more as long as the transaction can settle before the 15th of next month? Knowing what is most important to you enables your representative to present the agreement in the best light – always keeping your priorities in mind.
Step 6: Inspection Time
Most properties are less than perfect. Even brand new homes can have imperfections. Unless you are a construction expert, we highly recommend a property inspection. Whether the certified inspector issues a clean bill of health or not, it is always best to know what you are getting.
- The main concern is the possibility of structural damage. This can come from water damage, shifting ground, or poor construction when the house was built.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s the inspector’s job to mark everything discovered no matter how large or small. Many insignificant items are simply a matter of normal use of the home.
- If your inspection report includes an item of high concern (roof, furnace, water system), you should bring in a specialist. The Seller may be requested to fully repair, share the cost with you, or renegotiate the price or terms. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, you may be well advised to say “thanks, but no thanks” and we will continue looking for another home.
- And even if your home passes inspection with flying colors, you'll still need to buy a home owner’s insurance policy protects you against loss or damage to the property itself and against liability in case someone sustains an injury while on your property.
Step 7: Settlement
When you’ve reached this point, it is only a matter of days until you are a homeowner! But there are a few preclosing responsibilities, and these include:
- Staying in control of your credit and finances. Don’t go out and buy all new furniture and appliances just yet – many lenders check your credit again just before settlement to make sure you aren’t overextended.
- Keep in touch with your agent and lender and return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.
- Conduct a final walk-through of the home with your agent. This is usually done the day before or day of settlement and insures no damage has occurred since you were last at the home and items you may have negotiated in the contract (washer/dryer/refrigerator/etc) have been included.
- Contact the utility companies to change accounts to your name as of closing.
- Confirm with your real estate agent, home insurance professional, and lender that you have certified funds and evidence of insurance lined up prior to closing.
Step 8: Safeguard Your Investment
We’re still not quite done. Sure, you are all settled in and loving your new home – but here are a few items you should do to protect your investment.
- Make sure your home is insured properly and for replacement cost.
- Keep up with routine maintenance on your furnace, air conditioner, fireplace chimney.
- Have any small issues repaired when they happen. A leaky second floor tub faucet can turn into a water spot in your living room and a large water bill. A good rule of thumb is to fix small problems early to save yourself from having to spend big money later.
And remember your Davis Real Estate, Inc. professional who assisted you throughout the process? Well, after closing your agent can still help you with such things as providing information for your tax returns, locating contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home’s current market value.