There are many financial and personal benefits to home ownership.
1. Preparing to buy.
Begin the process only when you are ready to buy and part of being ready to buy includes answering these questions. When do you need to be in the home? How would your plans change if the purchase occurred sooner or later that anticipated? Who else is involved in the decision to buy? Is everyone involved in the buying process committed to buying? How does your job factor into the decision? If you are renting, does your current lease need to be reviewed How are your finances? Have you spoken to a lender? Do you own a home that needs to be sold first? Should you buy or sell first?
2. To ensure you’ll have a place to live.
You’re probably thinking that you’ll buy first but if you do and your home doesn’t sell on time you risk owning 2 homes.
Since you have more control over buying your next home than selling your current one it may be best to first put your home on the market and then begin the house hunting process. Once your home sells, your agent will advise on how to time the moving out and possession of your new home so that the process occurs smoothly.
3. Work with a REALTOR@.
Your realtor will help you establish your price range and guide you to the appropriate mortgage professional if you have not yet obtained a pre-approval. Only view homes that are within your budget.
Real estate agents are an invaluable resource in helping you find the home of your choice as well as:
- advising you on market values,
- providing detailed housing information,
- managing the process,
- guide you to private home inspections, insurance and final closing.
Not all real estate agents are REALTORS@.
REALTORS@ belong to the real estate board and comply with a real estate code of ethics. This ensures that you will be treated fairly and in a professional manner. Working exclusively with a realtor, through an exclusive agency agreement creates a fiduciary relationship. The agent becomes your advocate; where loyalty, confidentiality and care are required.
Establishing an agency relationship with a realtor is your opportunity to get all your questions answered.
4. Haves and Wants.
Determine your housing requirements such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, style of home, yard specifications and lifestyle. To ensure the home has the feeling you are looking for your agent must understand your needs based on your lifestyle too, so be sure to discuss your lifestyle with your agent.
5. House hunting is the fun part.
How many homes should you see before buying?
There is no right number, it may be the first home you view, or it may take a couple of weeks.
As you begin the process of viewing homes, imagine yourself living there, how does it feel. Discuss your reaction with your agent as this feedback helps narrow and define the search.
Keep in mind that condition and decorating are cosmetic and can be changed so try to focus on the homes permanent features and characters, the location is the one thing that can’t be changed. Should you choose to buy a home, get a licensed inspector to do an evaluation and provide a report on the homes condition outlining its defects.
6. If it feels right, make a quick decision.
Once you’ve found a home that feels right, make a quick decision.
Many people lose a home they really want because they wait too long to make the decision. Once you’ve made the decision to purchase complete the purchase agreement in writing by establishing with your agent the terms of the agreement. Your agent will serve as an advisor in this area and come up with solutions that come to an agreement.
Aim for a win-win outcome and remember that your goal is to purchase the home. Focus on the value of the home, not the price. If the home is priced at or near market value, you don’t gain anything by offering a low price.
If you don’t get the house, it wont matter how much you saved.
Its possible that other buyers will submit an offer at the same time as yours. This is called a multiple offer, if this occurs your agent will help you structure your offer accordingly.
Common conditions within a purchase agreement include the sale of the buyer’s home and a professional home inspection.
7. Presenting and negotiating the purchase agreement.
The better your offer, the more likely the seller will accept it. The likely outcomes of a presented offer are.
- The seller will accept it as it is.
- The seller will reject the offer. In this case you will have to start over with a new offer if you still wish to pursue the purchase of the home.
- The seller may ask for some changes which they send back to you in a counteroffer.
Its not a competition; only negotiate those items that are most important to you and accept the minor changes that are of little significance. When both the buyer and seller agree to the price and all the terms and conditions you have an accepted offer.
If the accepted offer is conditional, the work of doing your due diligence regarding the conditions begins. Timing is everything; arrange the inspection, sale of your home, reviewing all the necessary documents in order to satisfy the conditions in the purchase agreement.
8. Completing the sale.
The completion is typically done through your lawyer or notary, it occurs on the date noted on the purchase agreement. You will need to arrange an appointment a few days prior to the completion date with your lawyer to sign final paperwork. Be prepared to pay the balance of the down payment and closing costs on completion date.
The possession date is usually a day or two following the completion date. The Seller will normally move out the day after being paid the balance and the buyer can then move in the next day. The purchase agreement specifies the possession date and time. This is when you can get the keys and physically move in.
Without the right plan, buying a home can be time consuming and a lot of work. By following the 8 steps outlined you’ll have a plan that will make your home buying experience easier and more enjoyable.
Take time, get prepared and call your real estate agent.