10 Steps of the Buying Process
Step 1 Work With A Real Estate Professional
Step 2 Obtain Financial Pre-Approval
Step 3 Select And View Properties
Step 4 Offer To Purchase And Contract Of Sale
Step 5 Inspect the Property
Step 6 Title Insurance And Appraisal
Step 7 Secure The Mortgage
Step 8 Final Walk Through
Step 9 Closing
Step 10 Taking Possession And Moving In
1) Work With A Real Estate Professional
Purchasing real estate is a complex and major transaction that involves many details. An experienced real estate agent can guide you through the process and help you avoid costly mistakes. Typically, the seller will have a Seller's Agent representing them.
Your Realty World Pacific Northwest agent will be dedicated to providing you with the highest level of personal and professional service in the industry. With our many years of experience, we can help ensure that your home buying experience is enjoyable and stress-free.
2) Obtain Financial Pre-Approval
One of the biggest mistakes a home buyer can make is not getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan. A pre-qualified loan means a lender takes information from you and has run a credit report. Based on your information and the credit report, they can issue you a pre-qualification letter. A pre-approved loan is one in which you and the lender have gone through all of the documentation, and a full credit report is ordered. You benefit by having your loan pre-approved in several ways:
You eliminate any surprises about your ability to borrow by providing the lender with the information up front. If there are questions about income, credit, or down payment, you can address them and resolve them without the last minute panic that can occur if you have not been pre-approved. Many times, credit reports are showing wrong information.
You are negotiating with the seller from a much stronger position. It shows the seller that you not only can afford the home, but also there will be no surprises in your loan process later. This can also be helpful if you find yourself in a situation where there are multiple buyers bidding on the same property. The seller will be most apt to pick the buyer who has confirmation that the loan will go through. One of the seller's biggest concerns is that a buyer will not qualify for the loan to buy their home and it will create the necessity to re-market the home and disrupt the plans the seller has made. Since this is one of the main reasons real estate transactions fall through, the sellers concerns are warranted. Pre-Qualification can be done by phone, e-mail, or fax, and there is no obligation or cost to you. Visit our Mortgage Center page and get Pre-Qualified today.
3) Select And View Properties
Once you have obtained pre-approval and have determined your affordable price range, you can begin to select and view available homes and new construction models. Having a set of guidelines based on requirement is essential to making decisions based on facts and not just emotions.
It is recommended that you keep notes and photos of houses you have seen. If you write down the unique features, as well as the pros and cons of each home you are considering, you will not have to rely strictly on memory.
Some important questions to ask when viewing a home include: how long the property has been for sale:
- whether or not the price of the property has been reduced during the listing period
- whether there have been other offers to purchase
Together, we will determine which neighborhoods are most likely to meet your needs. We will discuss which home features you absolutely require and which ones are optional for you. Our experience with all parts of Cowlitz County will ensure that we will be able to guide you to the ones that match your lifestyle.
4) Offer To Purchase And Contact Of Sale
When you have identified a home that meets your needs, it is time to make an offer and negotiate. Your offer will be detailed in a Purchase and Sale Agreement which specifies the purchase price, down payment, mortgage information etc'.
In addition to the offer, you will need to put up an earnest money deposit as a sign of Good Faith that you are seriously interested in buying the home. That deposit becomes a part of the purchase price and will be held in an escrow account and credited back to you at closing toward your closing costs or down payment. The amount of earnest money varies. However, it is normally 1 - 2% of the sales price of the home.
Your offer will then be presented to the seller with your pre-approval letter attached to ensure the seller you are a qualified buyer. The seller will either accept, reject, or counter your offer. Once the contract of sale is signed by both you and the seller, the contract is legally binding. You will proceed with the property inspection and secure your mortgage as well. If your offer was rejected, or you were unable to come to a final agreement, your earnest money check will be returned to you.
To help determine an offering price, we will prepare a comparative market analysis showing what similar homes have recently sold for, and the difference between their asking and selling prices. We will present your offer to the Selling Agent on your behalf and you can be assured that we have a great deal of experience in negotiating home purchases. You can rely on us to utilize the best strategy for your situation.
We will discuss your options at each point along the way.
5) Inspect The property
We recommend that the purchase of the home be contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection. We will include an Inspection Contingency Addendum to the Purchase and Sale Agreement allowing you the opportunity to perform a home inspection. The seller is required to provide you with a Property Disclosure, which states what is included, what is not included, what is working, and what is not working in the home.
The Inspection Addendum will include an objection date by which this must be done. Any items that you may request the seller to repair or replace must be submitted in writing. The seller has a resolution deadline to respond to your request. At that time, if you and the seller do not agree on the inspection objections, you have the right to terminate the Contract.
6) Title Insurance and Appraisal
In the State of Georgia, it is customary that the buyer purchase a Title Insurance Policy at Closing. The Buyer is required to purchase a Title Insurance Policy for the lender. It is recommended that the purchase be contingent upon the buyer’s review of a preliminary commitment for title insurance. We will include a Title Contingency to the Purchase and Sale Agreement allowing you ample time for review. The title search is done by a Title Company, and a title report will be provided to you before the title deadline in the Title Contingency form. If there are any judgments, liens, or recorded easements, they will show up on the title report. It is the seller's responsibility to take care of any problems with the title company and assure you clear and marketable title.
Your lender will assign an appraiser to go out and appraise the property. The cost of the appraisal will be paid by you up front when you apply for your pre-approval, or at closing. The property must appraise for the purchase price or above. If it does not, you have a few of choices.
- terminate the Purchase and Sale Agreement
- ask the seller to adjust the selling price
- pay the difference in cash and continue with the contract.
7) Secure The Mortgage
If you are pre-approved, the only tasks left for the lender to do are:
- get the appraisa
- get a survey of the property, if required
- ask you to provide them with your current pay stubs and bank statement
For more information please visit our Mortgage Center page.
8) Final Walk Through
Shortly before the date of closing, you will make a final inspection of the house you are buying. Verify that all items that were supposed to be included in the house are indeed present, and similarly those that were not, have been removed.
Your Elegance Realty agent will accompany you through the final inspection and if there are any problems that need to be addressed, we can deal with them before the closing.
The Closing is the process by which the title to your new home will be transferred to you, homeowners' insurance will be verified, the terms of the mortgage will be finalized, and the keys to the new house will be given to you. In the state of Washington, the property belongs to the buyer as of the day of closing and Delivery of the Deed. Unless otherwise stated in the Purchase and Sale Agreement, the seller must be completely out of the property by the time and date of the closing.
Your Elegance Realty agent will attend the closing with you. This will typically take place at an approved Closing Attorney's office. Beforehand, we will clarify any aspects of the closing that are not familiar to you. Your Mortgage Broker or Escrow Officer from the title company will inform you of the amount to bring to closing in the form of a bank or certified check.
Although there may be additional documents involved, the primary items that are handled at the Closing include:
- The Closing Statement
- The Purchase and Sale Agreement
- The Loan Package from your lender
- Title Insurance
- Homeowners' Insurance
- The Title and the Deed
- Down Payment
- Closing Costs
This is the day everyone has been waiting for! It will be a busy day so be rested up! The weeks leading up to your moving day will be busy with many diverse tasks. It is a good idea to refer to a timetable to help keep you organized and to ensure that important activities are not inadvertently neglected. Congratulations on the purchase of your new home!
Contact us today and let me help you to find your next Dream Home or Investment Property.