Example: Darlene has been THINKING of buying a home. She often thinks “I’ll just look at what’s available.” So she goes on WhateverRealEstateWebsite.com (often incorrect info) and sees a whole bunch of homes she MIGHT be able to afford (says who Darlene?). She creates a saved search and regularly gets emails about available homes that match her criteria, but she still hasn’t contacted a Realtor® or a lender.
This is not deciding to buy a home, this might be wanting to buy a home, but this is not yet a decision. This is the step right before! So if you are like Darlene, let’s skip this article and go straight to the search page, because you know you just want to browse anyway.
THE HONEYMOON PHASE
Home buying is exciting, and sometimes scary, especially if it’s your first time. Just like a new relationship, it’s hard to know what to expect, and everyone’s experience is different. This is where we come in… Team Kolker to the rescue!
Buying a home doesn’t actually start with looking at homes (like Darlene likes to do). It should all start with looking at your finances and creating a budget for how much you can afford. This also has two sides… you may be able to qualify for a larger amount than you expect, but being realistic about what you actually want to pay monthly is important. A good lender will ask these questions, but a better lender will help you break things down and financially coach you (that’s why we recommend Sheri Arnold, she is the best home buying financial tour guide we know!).
Begin saving for a down payment (or be really sweet to friends and family, because a gift might be the best way to get your downpayment). You will want to shop around for a good mortgage rate, or work with a lender who has many products available and will be honest about your opportunities outside their services if there’s something better for you. (Ahem… we just mentioned her above.) You most likely will have an agent in mind (or have made an appointment with us!)
Finding an agent. Most buyers have already found an agent before they speak with a lender, so this will either be #2 or #3, but however you get here, it’s important to keep your options open. MANY people have real estate licenses, but not many are experienced and doing regular business. Helping a friend of a friend get a deal is less likely to be in your best interest than finding someone who you can communicate with, genuinely like and has the experience and network to find the best home for you (and get your offer accepted!).
This is the one you’ve already been doing… it’s the SEARCH part! You should go over your criteria with your agent and let them know ALL you’re thinking. Want a 3 bedroom house, but will settle for a 2 bedroom with a loft space, let them know. Absolutely HATE carpeted bathrooms and need financial room to renovate if that’s the case, lay it out. Willing to pay an extra $8,000 for the most perfect place on the planet, say the word! Your agent will have access to the most reliable sources for home information and can alert you when new homes are available with your criteria. (Don’t be fooled… most search sites you are using are fun, but vastly inaccurate.)
Make them an offer they can’t refuse. A good agent will set you up for success, establish rapport with the selling agent, get all the information they can and make an educated offer on your behalf. Be ready for the negotiations! (Read more about getting your offer accepted)
Going under contract. This is the nitty gritty. It is extremely helpful to have support during this phase. You are about to finalize the mortgage, have the home appraised, surveyed and inspected, and purchase title and home insurance. This is the exact reason some states require an Attorney to be present during the real estate transaction and we at Kolker Real Estate Group wanted to be able to provide that extra layer of service by bringing an Attorney onto our team.
Closing time. You will now pay the down payment and provided services that got the home ready. (Title insurance, appraisals and home inspections.) Once you receive those keys, you are officially a home owner!
Ready to have the best buying experience possible?