The 9 Steps to Home Ownership
Make the Decision to Buy
It seems obvious, but it’s good to note that the first step to buying a house is making the decision to buy. Consider the reasons you want a new house and write them down. Determine how long you want to live in the new house – does buying still make good financial sense? Can you afford a house that will meet your list of requirements? A good rule of thumb is your mortgage payment should not exceed 1/3 of your net monthly income.
Seek Professional Guidance
I’d like to schedule a time to talk with you to hear the reasons you want to buy a house and your plans for the future. We’ll talk about neighborhoods, schools, economic factors likely to affect the market today and tomorrow, as well as how you would like your house and neighborhood to grow with you.
At this time, I will also help you choose the right lender for your needs and assist you in getting pre-qualified, or even pre-approved, for a mortgage loan. Pre-qualification is a written statement from a loan officer indicating his or her opinion that you will be approved for a mortgage loan up to a certain amount. The fact that you are pre-qualified will help us tremendously when we are negotiating the deal.
Begin the Search
After our initial conversation/meeting, I’ll search all my resources for houses on the market that fit your criteria. I’ll preview these houses to eliminate the duds. Then, I’ll schedule appointments to tour the houses at times convenient to you.
As we view these homes, we will discuss the positive features and negative features. I’ll ask you to tell me what you like and what you don’t like. This process allows for us to amend your “wish list” some things will become more important and others less important. With this new information, I’ll refine our search criteria to narrow in on that “Ideal Home” the perfect house of your dreams.
Know the Market
In a “seller’s market”, it is not unusual to see multiple offers on a property, full-price offers, and even above-price offers. On the flip side, during a “buyer’s market” there are more houses for sale than buyers. This gives us more negotiating room as houses are taking longer to sell. Both of these conditions exist in the Atlanta metro marketplace; it just depends on the neighborhood and sometimes even the street.
I’ll keep you abreast of current market conditions and their effect on our house-hunting efforts and our negotiating strategies.
Find the Home That’s Right for You
We’ll compare the properties and then you get to decide which home is right for you. I will provide you with a market analysis of this home and its runners-up so that you can be assured that the value is there. When you have decided that this is the one, we will put together the offer to purchase tailored to your needs including appropriate contingencies (such as obtaining financing, favorable home inspection, clear title, etc.) to protect your interests.
The offer is normally presented with “earnest money”. This is a cash/check deposit made to a home seller to secure an offer to buy the property. The amount is applied towards the purchase price at closing. If the seller accepts the offer, generally closing is held 30 to 60 days from the offer date (usually dependent on the turn around time of your mortgage financing).
Negotiate the Deal
I’ll present the offer and begin negotiations on your behalf.
It is not uncommon to receive a counteroffer when the initial purchase offer is submitted. This shouldn’t discourage you. We will discuss the counter offer and decide whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or reject the counter offer and move on.
Market conditions will play a role in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. We will also work within your limits. Emotions can lead to buyer’s remorse. It is better to set limits prior to negotiating an offer and stick to these limits.
During the closing period, you will be working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. Since you pre-qualified for the loan before starting your home search, this should be a smooth process. You will receive a “Good Faith Estimate” of closing costs at the time the loan application is submitted to the lender. The estimate is based on the loan officer’s past experience and may not include all the closing costs. I will be glad to review the estimate, answer any questions, and highlight missing costs or items I believe to be incorrect.
Prepare for Closing
I’ll be on hand to advise and help in the selection of the right vendors we will be using to complete the transaction. These include property inspectors, termite companies, closing attorneys, etc.
Also, I’ll gather the necessary property information and coordinate the preparation of documents your lender will need to close the loan.
Close the Deal
Finally! We’ve made it this far, and I’ll provide the support necessary to successfully bring the transaction to close.
It is now time to move into your new house and make it your home. Enjoy this exciting time. I can help you coordinate your move-in and assist you with any post-closing issues, should they arise.