The process of buying a house can be overwhelming at first. The key is to break it down into smaller steps and check each off one by one. If you’re a first-time home buyer, real estate agent Michelle Thomas offers a guide to get you started. It discusses applying for a mortgage, finding a house, making an offer, inspections and home warranty considerations, and closing.
Applying for a Mortgage
Your first step will be applying for a mortgage. Approach your desired lender armed with your proof of income, credit documentation, and proof of assets and liabilities. If you’re deemed a desirable candidate — meaning you have a steady income, good credit history, and acceptable assets — you’ll be pre-approved for a mortgage and can begin the house-hunting process. Your pre-approval will act as a guide as to what price range you should look in.
Find a House
First, make a list of needs and wants for the house. Give this list to your real estate agent so she or he understands exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to your list, there are considerations you should make about the houses you see like:
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- State and size of the kitchen
- The back and front yard
Be prepared to take your time while shopping. If you’ve looked at a listing ahead of time, bring along any questions or clarifications to the showing so you can ask your agent. Take photos of each home you visit and notes while you’re walking through it.
Make an Offer
Once you’ve found the right home at the right price, it’s time to make an offer. Own Up notes that you’ll first meet with your agent to determine what the offer will be, then she or he will write an offer letter and send it to the seller’s agent. From there, the seller will do one of three things:
- Accept the offer. You’ll both sign the offer letter, creating a contract.
- Make a counter offer. You can accept, make another offer, or bow out.
- Decline the offer. You can make a higher offer or bow out.
Some sellers will request a personal offer letter from the buyers. It would tell the sellers what you like about the house, what your plans are (maybe you intend to start and raise your family there), and overall why you’re the right family to buy it.
Getting Inspections and Researching Home Warranties
Once you’ve got a contract, it’s time for the home inspection. Do plenty of research to find the right person — licensing and certifications, what he or she does and doesn’t check, how long he or she has been in the business, and more. It may help to ask for a sample report. Make sure you’re at the inspection so you can ask questions in the moment. Go over the report with your real estate agent.
Based on the report, you may want to get a home warranty. This will cover costs like normal wear and tear of air conditioning and appliances. By keeping up with inspections and regular repairs, a home warranty can protect you from major unexpected costs like the replacement of your dishwasher. Still not sure if you need one or which company to choose? Start reading reviews from real customers to get a sense of what a home warranty covers, and which companies provide the best customer service. You don’t want to waste money on a policy you’ll never use, or commit to a company that doesn’t let you speak with a real person.
According to the Home Buying Institute, “In real estate context, the word ‘closing’ is synonymous with ‘signing.’” In addition to reviewing and signing important documents, you’ll also pay closing costs and your down payment (if you haven’t put it down already). In this process, the property title and ownership of the home are transferred to you from the seller. In some states, you may close at a different time than the seller while in others both parties must be present at the same time.
Many are intimidated by the thought of buying a home. It can be complicated at times, but it is within your grasp if you have the funds. Applying for a mortgage, finding a house, making an offer, going through inspections and home warranties, and closing are the main stepping stones to owning the house of your dreams. And working with a great real estate agent like Michelle Thomas will make things even easier. Call her at (239) 860-7176 to get your Naples and Marco Island area house hunt underway!
Article provided by Suzie Wilson; email@example.com