From pre-approval to closing, navigate the home buying process like a pro.
Whether it’s your first time buying a home or you’re a seasoned buyer, purchasing real estate is still considered to be a major life milestone. Why? Because the process is an emotional one with a lot of moving parts. Here we break down the home-buying process step-by-step to help you easily navigate through it all like a pro.
Buying a home is a major financial commitment. So, when you’re dreaming about “location, location, location,” don’t forget to think about PRICE. You'll want to be able to comfortably afford your dream home.
How do you find out what you can comfortably afford? We recommend that you obtain for a pre-approval with a mortgage lender. They will review your finances and run a credit check for income verification. A pre-approval is an offer from a mortgage lender to provide financing based on their determination of your finances and their underwriting guidelines.
It will outline the following details:
It is very common in today’s competitive market for home sellers to require their potential buyers present a pre-approval when submitting an offer. The only time where a pre-approval might not be required is with an all–cash offer.
Documents that may be needed for a Pre-Approval or Mortgage Application
You want to work with a local realtor in the community or town you are interested in. They have market knowledge of what is selling in the neighborhood, can share hidden gems, and find you the home that best suits your needs. You will also want to know what kind of reputation they and their company have. Choose a trusted adviser with a great reputation for providing quality service who is attentive to your needs.
Here are a few ways to find a Realtor:
Ask for referrals from family and friends.
Contact the realtor posted on a for sale sign in a neighborhood of interest.
Search for online reviews or testimonials of highly-rated realtors in the area.
Use Social Media to see what the Realtors personality is like.
Look through the realtor directory of a local brokerage, like ours.
Once you have determined your price range and identified the location where you would like to buy, and have partnered with a local real estate adviser, you can finally start actively searching for your dream home. The previous three steps have helped you focus and narrow your search, saving you from some unexpected surprises with potential financial consequences.
Here are a few things to consider when walking through a potential home:
What sort of upgrades will the home need to suit my needs? And added cost?
Which stores and services are conveniently located near the home?
Does it have public transportation nearby?
How long is the commute to work?
Your Realtor can identify sources of this information.
Congratulations! You’ve found a home that you love and want to submit an offer. Make sure you’ve got these things covered first:
A seller will not want to risk declining other offers and keeping their home on the market longer if there’s a possibility that you can’t follow through with your deal. So, don’t skip these steps!
Schedule a home inspection immediately after you have an acceptable offer. Is the house a Ranch, Cape, or Colonial? You would ideally like to find an inspector that is familiar with the type of home you are buying. It’s an added bonus if they are familiar with the neighborhood as well. Their familiarity with the home or neighborhood will help them identify and pinpoint key things that you may want to negotiate. Each home has its own nuances, so this is also a good time for you to get acquainted with the house. Having the inspector next to you to answer any questions could save you time and money in the long run.
Usually, from contract to closing, it’s a pretty straight forward process where the Realtor, mortgage lender and your lawyer take over most of the next steps.
This is what you can do in the meantime:
When you finally get to the closing table, you’ll be ready to move into your dream home with no surprises!
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Cottie Maxwell is a premier broker on the North Shore of Long Island. After having been a real estate agent for 8 years in the Washington, DC, and Virginia area where she was a consistent multi-million dollar producer, Cottie joined Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty team in Locust Valley, New York in 2003.