If you are preparing to buy your first home you may be feeling overwhelmed. Should I start calling the numbers on all of these For Sale signs and start looking at houses? What do we do if we find “the one?” Using a Realtor® will help make the process of buying your new home easier. That’s where I come in! I can help you manage all of the steps to buying your first home or your fifth home (and everything in between).
So now I bet you’re wondering what the steps are to buying a home, right? I’m glad you asked! Here are the basic steps involved. There could be additional steps depending on the situation, but in a perfect world here’s what you can expect:
- Choose a Real Estate Agent. Call several and find one that you really connect with. If you don’t get along with your Agent it’s going to make working together much more difficult. You want to find an Agent that will be open and honest with you and one that you can be open and honest with as well.
- Find a Lend and get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan. This is a very important step. Please don’t skip it. You will have more negotiating power if you get pre-approved for a loan. Home sellers want to know that they are negotiating with someone who will be able to follow through to the closing table.
- Begin the Home Search. This is where it gets exciting! The agent that you have chosen to work with will begin sending you homes to consider. They will schedule appointments to look at homes with you and you may even find “the one” in the first few that you see. Also, as you are driving around town, if you see any For Sale By Owner (FSBO) homes that look appealing, let your agent know. In most cases, your Agent can show you FSBO’s too!
- Find “The One” – Let’s Make a Deal! So you’ve looked at dozens (or more!) homes and you think you’ve found the perfect home. Congratulations!
- Your Agent will now write up a contract
- Go over the contract with you and explain all the legal lingo
- Negotiate with the Seller or Seller’s Agent to get you the best price.
- Inspect the Property. This is the time to inspect the house for any hidden problems. You can use the inspection period to evaluate that heating & cooling systems, the septic system, termite problems, mold, radon, etc. You can inspect anything you want to inspect during this period of time. The cost of the inspections are paid by the Buyer.
- Negotiate any Inspection Items of Concern. Once you have the home inspected, you may have had some issues pointed out to you that you were not aware of. If there are inspection items that you would like the Seller to repair before you purchase the home, your agent will negotiate these for you.
- The Property is Appraised. The Bank/Lender that you chose at the beginning of the process will contract with an appraiser to view your property and estimate its value. If the property appraises below your accepted offer, there may be more negotiating to do.
- Title Search is Run. The Bank/Lender that you chose at the beginning of the process will also run a title search on your property. This will help to ensure that the property you are about to buy has no liens against it or any other hidden issues related to the property.
- Set a Closing Date. Your chosen Lender will be in touch with you to set a closing date and time. There is some wiggle room on the date/time of your closing, so if there is a conflict let your Lender know; they may be able to work with you.
- Do a Final Walkthrough. It is always a good idea to walk through the home a day or two before you go to the closing table to make sure that the house is clean and that no unwanted “items” have been left in the house. I have seen people try to leave beds, fish tanks (complete with fish), and other unwanted items behind for the new owners to try and get rid of. The Seller should remove all items from the house; your agent can work to get unwanted things removed.
- It’s Closing Time. In the Commonwealth of Kentucky the Buyer and Seller will usually be present to sign all the necessary documents and pass over the keys (unless otherwise negotiated).
- Go Home! Congratulations! You just bought a new home. You can move in whenever you’re ready.
Kelly McDonald, Realtor®