Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Home
The home buying process is all about accomplishing three major milestones: establish financing, find a home, and close the deal. The details involved in accomplishing each of these steps changes with time and circumstances, and a Blake Team Realtor® can advise you on specific questions relevant to your situation. While home buying transactions are generally defined by the same process, a successful experience really depends on the credentials, knowledge, and skill of your agent.
The step-by-step guide below emphasizes the importance of some often overlooked details that your Blake Team agent will be sure to cover with you. We’re confident you’ve thought about things like your price range, but what about a good loan officer? Choosing the right community is consistently on the top of buyers’ lists, but how many homes in the community might become a potential listing if the current resident was made a fair offer? Closing the deal is absolutely about the right offer, skillful negotiation, and accurate paperwork, but you should definitely have a trusted agent on your side to ensure the best possible price and terms.
While home buying transactions are generally defined by the same process, a successful experience really depends on the credentials, knowledge, and skill of your agent.
Financing can be a stressful part of buying a new home, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Your Blake Team agent will walk you through each stage of financing to make sure you’re prepared to quickly close on your new home. Unless you’re able to make a full cash offer, pre-qualifying for financing is a critical step. The first thing we’ll want to have a good handle on is your credit history. Good or not-so-good, the information in your credit history goes a long way to determining loan eligibility and terms. Beyond credit history, your debt-to-income ratio is another important consideration for any mortgage lender. Generally, lenders use flexible guidelines to determine an appropriate debt-to-income ratio, but keeping your ratio below 43% is advisable. To calculate this ratio, simply add all your monthly debt payments together and divide the total by your gross monthly income.
With a sense of your financial standing, we’re ready to find a mortgage lender and complete your loan pre-approval. The Blake Team works with the leaders in the mortgage loan industry and can recommend a lender to work with you. Contacting a few options to compare current rates is always a good idea. A commonly overlooked part of the financing process is finding a loan officer that works well with you as a buyer. You do have a choice, and this individual plays a significant role in the home buying process, so be sure to give this selection the thought it deserves. With a good mortgage lender and loan officer lined up, make sure you have gathered your tax returns, employment verification documents, and bank statements available to secure a pre-approval. Make sure your lender is digging into your finances as uncovering any issues upfront will avoid setbacks when it’s time to close the deal.
Find a Home
Finding the right home is they easy part, right? Yes and no. You likely have a good idea what you want out of a new home, and you may have targeted a few communities too. The tricky part is finding the right home features in the right neighborhood, and getting your foot in the door before the flood of competitive offers. The Blake Team is an essential part of finding your new home because we work as a partner to define exactly what you’re looking for, and then take the burden of continuous research off your plate. Defining your dream home is more than just bedrooms and zip codes. Our agents know this is a major life decision, and we treat it with the importance and respect it deserves. We have the tools and resources to stay on top of the market, and the experience to know how to respond to unexpected situations. When we find the perfect home or it pops up as a new listing, you can trust that our professional Realtors® are working to make it happen for you.
Spend some time researching communities, including schools, crime rates, recreation and other amenities. Keep in mind that community areas may include neighborhoods that vary quite significantly. We’ll tour them with you to make sure the feel of the area matches your affinity for the statistics and online information. It is imperative, whenever possible, to see a home in person too. Your agent will of course set up times to visit, and we’ll suggest taking pictures and keeping notes to help you keep track of your favorites. Tell us what you love, and what you don’t, and we’ll adjust so your not wasting your time viewing homes that just won’t work for you. Once we’ve found the right home, you’re Blake Team agent will make sure our offer is fair and appealing to the seller based on all relevant sales and market data. It is this point in the process where the skill of your agent becomes particularly important. (are we linking out to the schools, crime rates etc here) Xcite?
Close the Deal
Once an offer is made, the seller may counteroffer and open various paths forward. Sometimes the counter seeks to negotiate specific terms, or the seller may be trying to find a middle ground between the original asking price and our offer. Your agent will help you negotiate items like the closing date, concessions, contract deadlines, additional property inclusions, property repairs, and more. Once these terms are agreed to, an appraisal and inspection will be ordered. The appraisal determines the value of the home, while the inspection is typically paid for by the buyer and identifies needed repairs. In combination with establishing financing, your Blake Team agent works to resolve any encumbrances and contingencies at this stage to ensure a smooth closing.
Your partnership with The Blake Team is critical at this juncture in two primary ways. The first is to make what is otherwise a complicated process very easy. The second is to make sure the negotiations and contingencies are agreed to in a way that works to your benefit. An inexperienced agent can be a serious liability to a buyer at this point in the process. You want to review and approve a settlement statement that details the funds required to purchase, including down payment, taxes, and insurance, with the confidence that you’ve covered your bases. Once the settlement statement is approved, you’re ready for a final walk through and closing of the deal. The closing meeting brings the buyer and seller together to sign all necessary documents and verify the mortgage company has funded the loan. Once complete, ownership is transferred and you’ll take the keys to your new home!