8 Easy Steps to Finding Your Dream Home
Being aware of the overall home buying process will help relieve a lot of your worries. It's always best to understand each stage and how it relates to another so that, in the end, you will be as informed as possible and confident in your final buying decision. Here at Ann Cummings & Jim Lee, we want you to be empowered with the knowledge needed to make your home buying experience a great one!
1. Navigating The Sea of Online Listings
On your marks, get set, go! You've committed fully to finding your new dream home and you're officially off to the races. The beauty of today's real estate is that you can begin perusing listings of homes online at your leisure. A helpful tip would be to start with a general city or town and then filter down from there on our site. There will undoubtedly be thousands of listings that you'll need to sift through, but, be diligent. Your new home is in there waiting for you to find it.
2. Find Your Realtor
This is probably the most important step of all. Choosing a realtor is not something that should be entered into lightly as it will dictate either how stress-free the remainder of the process will be or how stressful it will become. An inexperienced agent can not only cost you time, but, potentially a lot of money or even your dream home altogether. You should research agents thoroughly before choosing one. A very experienced one can not only make the process easier, but, may also get the asking price lowered.
3. Sign Your Buyer's Agreement
Once you've decided on your agent, it's time to sign your buyer's agreement. This is a contract that solidifies your working relationship with the agent. It outlines in great detail what is expected from both parties and although it is very formal, it should be looked upon as a tool that builds mutual understanding between you and your realtor. This gives you peace of mind knowing what the agent is responsible for and gives the agent peace of mind that you're committed to them in this process.
4. Schedule and Follow Through on Home Viewings
So you've narrowed the search for your new home from hundreds to dozens to a handful. Great! Now you'll need to speak to your realtor about setting up home viewings with each seller. The home viewing is THE opportunity to see the neighborhood (try and visit the area several times before the viewing) as well as the home itself. Take this chance to look over every aspect of the exterior and interior of the home with a fine-toothed comb. Don't be bashful about feeling around. This is a major investment you're considering.
5. Order an Appraisal
Lenders will require an appraisal of the home to be done so that they can justify loaning the total amount of the needed mortgage that you applied for. This appraisal is not optional and is paid for by you, the buyer. What's key to note here is that an appraisal is an opinion of value and as such you have rights in disputing the report should it not meet the numbers expected. Having a reputable realtor on your side will go a long way in streamlining this complex process. Especially if it involves errors found in the appraiser's report.
6. Have a Home Inspection Done
Although a home inspection is not mandatory, IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE DONE. The goal of the seller and their listing agent is to sell this property as quickly as possible. Because of this, they may advise you that the home is in terrific condition and a home inspection is not needed. There is no way to truly know this without having a trained eye take a look. A home inspection differs from an appraisal because the inspector isn't valuing the property. They're dissecting it to ensure you won't have to fork over thousands of dollars in repairs after you take ownership.
7. Make an Offer to the Seller
At this point assuming all has gone fairly well, it's time to make an offer to the seller on the home you want to call yours. This step is crucial because you although you want to offer a price that's fair to you, try not to insult the home seller. Take everything into account with the area, neighborhood, viewing, appraisal, and home inspection when coming up with the appropriate figure. It should be a number that both parties can either be pleased with or at least willing to negotiate.
8. Take Ownership and Move In!
CONGRATULATIONS!!! This is the step you've been waiting on. After weeks (and possibly months) of diligence and patience, the seller has agreed to your terms and the mortgage paperwork has been signed. Our advice for this step is simple: shake hands, take your keys, and start moving into your new dream home. You've earned it!!