Buying a home can be a stressful process but it does not have to be, and in most cases the stress is directly proportional to the quality of the resources available to a prospective buyer.
If you choose to engage a Buyer Broker to represent you, this is a good starting point. Retaining an expert in the field, and specifically in the market that you are searching in, will provide you with direct access to the transaction history in that area, the condition of the market, and specifically counsel on the value of the properties you are looking at. Once you have made a decision about representation, the search can begin.
If financing will be a requirement to purchasing a home or property, it is best to get pre-qualified for a loan early in the process, especially if this is your first home purchase. This will provide two potential benefits down the road. The first and most important is that it will help you identify the price range you should be shopping in. It doesn’t prohibit you from searching above or below, it just provides you with a solid understanding of what you are actually capable of borrowing in order to purchase. The second benefit is that you can move quickly if the right property comes your way. If it takes several days to get pre-qualified after you have found your dream home, that might be just enough time to let the property slip away. Being prepared early will make the process smoother and help to eliminate disappointment down the road
Identifying Properties –
Search early, search often. Buyers who prepare themselves by seeing everything they can gain a greater knowledge of the marketplace. The more familiar you are, the better prepared you will be to make a good decision. Eliminating the options is an important part of the process, and this is easier done when you actually visit them. Setting up a weekly or monthly “date” with your Realtor is not a bad way to familiarize yourself with an ever changing market. The more information you gather, the more you will know you have found it when the right property comes your way.
Seek Competent Legal Counsel
Engage an attorney early in the process. This will rarely cost you more than engaging later, and attorneys in the real estate business can provide you with essential info that is inappropriate for your realtor to provide you. They are an invaluable resource and anyone who discourages you from engaging them early in the process has mislead you. They are one of your most critical resources.
Making the Offer –
There is a right and a wrong way to make an offer. That’s why I have a job – to help arm you with the right information, which will help you make the right decisions and to help steer you towards making the right offer.
You’re under contract, now what?
Once you get the property under contract there is work to be done, and it is important that you secure the right people to get that work done. Hiring a Building Inspector is a good place to start, because this is likely the first significant deadline you will have to navigate. After that you will need to secure your financing, speak often with your attorney, and negotiate any modifications that may need to be made based on investigations that have occurred during the initial phase of the contract. You’ll need to insure your property, hire a property manager, and buy a lawn-mower. All these resources and more are just a click away.
The end product of all that hard work is the closing. you will need to stay in regular communication with your Realtor, your attorney and your mortgage Broker to bring all of the pieces together. But out of preparedness you will suddenly find yourself at the finish line, and sitting at a table full of gifts from all the people who have helped you through the process, and most importantly, a set of keys which you will spend the next 15-30 years paying off!