Step One: Get Your Finances in Order
Having a pre-approval or proof of funds (if you’re buying in cash) is the first step of purchasing a home for anybody and everybody. Otherwise, you could miss out on the perfect home. For proof of funds, you’ll just need to give your bank a call. For a pre-approval letter, you’ll need to talk to a mortgage lender. Most lenders recommend not buying a house that costs over 3 to 5 times your annual household income. This way, if you pay a 20% down payment, you will have a moderate debt at hand to manage. Your mortgage lender will help you determine how much you can afford.
Next Up: Start the Search
Once you’ve got your finances in order, the fun of looking for the perfect home begins! I will set you up on an automatic search through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the database that Realtors use to list and search for homes.The moment a home that fits your search criteria is listed for sale, it will be sent to your email inbox. (This is much faster than you will receive through Zillow or other websites). One of the first questions I ask my buyers when we begin the search: What are your must-haves, and what is negotiable?Figuring this out ahead of time will help everyone be on the same page with what we’re looking for and what the deal-breakers are, act quickly and confidently when the perfect home hits the market, and save a ton of time and emotional energy. If white kitchens, marble countertops, and spa bathrooms are the first words tumbling out, it’s time to take a step back. See, there are the must-haves and the like-to-haves. Must-haves are the features of your new home that no decorator or designer in the world could change given all the money in the world.
Here are some must-haves to keep in mind that you will not be able to change:
1. Location. That 5-digit zip code ain’t gonna budge.
2. Lot. That steep drop off will always be, well, steep.
3. Price. That mortgage payment is your new bestie.
While the like-to-haves shine and sparkle, it’s the must-haves that help me find you the home of your dreams. Once you receive emails through the MLS, you’ll have access to a portal where you can mark homes as a favorite, a possibility, or discard. This will help you to stay organized online, and to notify me of which listings are your favorites and least favorites. Once you see a home you like online, you will let me know so I can set up a showing for us. Often times we will set up a few showings back to back so we can knock them out at once.
It’s important for both of us to be taking notes during these showings because once you see a ton of houses, you tend to forget a lot of the details of each.
Last, but not least – Make an Offer!
So, you’ve found the ONE and it’s time to call up the sellers and tell them we want it!
Here’s some information I’ll need to write up the offer:
• Pre-qualification letter or proof of funds: You’ve already got this ready to go of course!
• Offer price: I will help you determine the property’s fair market value
• Escrow deposit: Usually 1-2% of the purchase price.
• Financing amount: What percentage of the loan are you financing, and how much you are putting down
• Closing date: If getting a mortgage, this is typically 30-45 days from acceptance of the offer. This will be the day the keys are handed from seller to buyer
• Inspection period: Typically the buyer shall have 15 days, unless otherwise stated on the contract, to perform inspections on the home and terminate or renegotiate the contract if the inspection comes back unacceptable.
Ready to take the first steps to purchasing a new home? Send me a message and let’s get started!