Step by Step Buyer's Guide
Here are some of the main highlights from the consultation and guide - 7 steps to achieving your home ownership goals.
Step 1 | Time to get pre-approved and lock in a rate!
Mortgage approvals can take time to complete and if not done correctly can cause tons of future heart break if you find your home and can't complete your financing requirements. Interview and choose a mortgage specialist that you trust and get throughly pre-approved. There are many benefits of a pre-approval; knowing your real budget, don't waste time, speed up mortgage approval, advantage in negotiation and revealing speed bumps prior to falling in love.
Make sure your mortgage specilaist is being thorough, did they:
- Review employment documentation?
- Review your credit score?
- Explain various types of mortgages? Fixed? Variable? Terms? Rates?
- Review banks statements, discuss required down payment and closing costs?
Step 2 | Time to choose your guide (aka. your real estate agent)
Make sure to to interview real estate agents. It is important to find one that you align with. One of the most common mistakes buyers make is not throughly choosing an agent or deciding to work with the agent who is representing the seller. You deserve to be represented fully. Do not forfeit that right. When you are being full represented by a real estate agent they owe you the following fiduciary duties: undivided loyalty, confdentiality, full disclosure, reasonable care and skill, full accouting and obedience.
Step 3 | Time to go shopping!
List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first time home buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for. Make sure to communicate these lists with your agent and they can set up a saved search for you to help keep you up to date and informed on the current listings that fit your criteria. Searches are not linear. This can be a fluid concept and changes can be made as your search progresses.
Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Here are some pro tips:
- One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
- Do not view more than 4-6 properties in a day. You want to make sure you can stay focused.
- A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
- Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search. Or for those of your that are tech savy, set up an online profile to save and favorite proeprties that catch your eye.
Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
Be Objective while also keeping an open mind: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
Step 4 | We found the one!
The day that you walk into your new home for the first time is a very special moment. Once you have made the decision that this is the ONE! Your real estate agent will do a few things for you:
- Pull title (and any other relavant registrations)
- Ask the listing agent for any information such as disclosures, restrictions or anything the is a requirement from the seller
- Review the market data and provide you with a comprehensive value report and advice
- Draft the paperwork (making sure everything you want is include) and then go through all of it together
Step 5 | Your offer is accepted, things just got real.
Once you have an accepted offer, both you and the seller have signed off on all the terms and conditions you then enter into the pending period (also known as the conditional or subject to period). The week or so will be crucial. You will finalize your finacing, have the home inspected and complete any and all other due dillegance.
Here is a basic outline of your tasks during the pending period:
- Deliever your deposit
- Schedule your inspection (and coordinate professionals such as condo doc reviewers)
- Finalize your financing
Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run.
Step 6 | You are satisfied and waive your conditions
Okay, so you are satisfied with all of your conditions and you have notified the seller. You are now contractually bound to purchase your home. We are not done yet but we are so much closer! Depending on how long your time frame is between this date and the completion date there may be some time where nothing really happens.
Some tasks you will need to accomplish during this time frame are:
- You must get home insurance
- Set up utilities
- Transfer your mail and any of your subscriptions
- Pack and prepare
- Meet with your lawyer to pay the remainder of your down payment and sign off on land transfer.
Step 7 | Keys! Welcome to the 'Home Ownership Club'
On the completion day it is a waiting game. Your lender sends funds to your lawyer, who then send funds to the seller's lawyer, who then notifies the listing agent, who then then notifies me that keys are released! It is important to remain patient and do NOT schedule anything for the completion day.
Once keys are released, your agent will pick up the keys and meet you at your new home (usually with a gift). You will do a quick walk through and then your agent will leave. At this point the home is yours. Feel free to dance, sing, scream. What ever feels right.