Buyer's Process
1) Get Ready for Home Ownership
-Build a good credit history
-Get mortgage pre-approval
-Find out what type of mortgages you quality for
-Consider hiring an attorney to review all contracts and agreements associated with the home buying process
-Save up for a down payment (typically 10-20% of property’s value; if FHA-qualified, then possibly less)
-Consider closing costs which can include taxes, attorney’s fees, and transfer fees
-Consider utilities and monthly bills, such as homeowner's assessments
2) Find a Real Estate Professional
-Get a referral from friends, family, and work colleagues, or search® and look for real estate yard signs and advertisements
-Ask the real estate professionals you interview about buyer's representation contracts and agreements; make sure you understand the terms
-Explain your needs and expectations to the real estate professional you choose to work with
3) Find the Right Property
-Determine what is important to you, such as particular schools, neighborhood amenities, monthly mortgage payment, public transportation, walkability, etc.
-Make sure you include home owner’s assessments, utilities, and taxes when calculating the monthly mortgage payment
4) Finance the Property
-Contact your mortgage broker or lender
-The lender or attorney will run a title search to ensure there are no clouds on the title
-Make sure you understand the financing terms—ask the lender for clarification, if needed
5) Make an Offer
-Ensure the property is inspected by a licensed home inspector
Acquire title insurance
-Make sure the title is clear, or make your offer contingent upon title clearance
-Read all contracts before signing—make sure you understand all of the terms, ask questions
-Place a competitive bid and be prepared to make a counter-offer
-Keep your credit score stable and in-check by waiting to purchase any big-ticket items until long after the closing
-Only one offer will result in a sale, so be prepared to move on if your offer is not accepted
6) Closing and Life After the Big Purchase
-Protect your new asset by obtaining insurance such as homeowner’s, flood, disaster, and fire
-Weatherproof your new home
-Maintain files—digital or print—for all warranties, insurance documents, contracts, etc.
-Keep original closing documents in a safe place, preferably outside the home (such as a safety deposit box)
-Set up utilities bills in your name, maintain files
-Implement desired aesthetic changes such as painting, minor construction, and re-flooring
-Set a move date and hire movers or plan a move party with your friends
-Get to know your neighbors and explore your new neighborhood
-If you're happy with the work of your real estate professional, be sure to recommend her/him to friends and family.