what does the buying process look like?
While there may be some bumps in the road - multiple offers on properties, surprising inspections, homes that don't appraise, communication gaps from 3rd parties, title or lending issues - most challenges can be overcome. And at the end of your journey, you will have the keys to your dream of home ownership!
Here is a high-level timeline of how the buying process might go:
1) Determine what you can truly afford; meet with a lender and go over your financials to see how much house you can afford. Also take a look at projected closing costs and down payment to find out how much cash you will need to buy a house.
2) Figure out which kind of mortgage is right for you (conventional / FHA / VA, 15 year/30 year, Fixed/ARM, etc) – and get pre-approved for a loan. Look into rehab loan products if you are willing to buy a fixer-upper (rehab loans carry different costs than a traditional mortgage, and some lenders do not offer them). We also suggest meeting with 2 lenders to see who you are comfortable with and to get a second opinion.
3) Decide which house features are must-have’s versus nice-to-have’s and narrow in on areas that you want to live in.
5) Hire a realtor (us!) and start your house hunting (the most exciting part!).
6) Find a house and make an offer. Be prepared for multiple offer situations. Once your offer gets accepted, an earnest money deposit will be required (within 1 to 3 days of contract signing). Next you will need to hire and schedule a home inspector to inspect the property (will need to be completed within 10 to 15 days of contract signing). During the inspection period, you will want to do some due diligence such as checking with the utilities company to see what the electric and water bills are like, take a close look at the taxes to make sure they are affordable, and review any HOA documents (when applicable) to make sure you are ok with the covenants/bylaws.
7) Submit the mortgage application paperwork (this needs to be done within 5 days of contract signing).
8) Research homeowners insurance; get multiple quotes. You will need to have insurance lined up prior to closing since the bank will require it.
9) Continue to stay in touch with your lender and answer all emails or phone calls in a timely manner; you don't want a missed phone call to mean a delayed closing or no closing! The lender will provide formal loan commitment prior to closing as per the terms of the contract. The Sellers and Sellers' agent will be paying close attention to the timeline to make sure this gets done!
You will also want to be contacting the utilities companies - electric/water, gas, cable, etc - to make sure the utilities will be switched over to you the day of closing. Some companies require deposits for new customers, or have a longer leadtime for scheduling a switchover in service, so make sure to plan accordingly.
3 days prior to closing, you will receive the loan documents and closing statement to review to make sure there are no surprises; this is a requirement by law. The statement will show you the final amount you need to close. Either the day before or the day of closing, we will schedule a final walk-through to make sure the house is in the same condition as it was when you made the offer.
10) Closing day! The title, law, or escrow company handling the transaction will relay wiring instructions to you so that all funds required to close will be received in time for closing. Due to wiring fraud, they will have very specific instructions for you to follow so that you do not place yourself in jeopardy. Please make sure to follow their directions to a "T"! On closing day, bring your photo I.D., as well as any paperwork you received throughout the home-buying process, including homeowners insurance information. Please allow for a few hours to sign the paperwork and for the loan to officially "fund."
Unless it's a bank-owned property, once you’ve signed the paperwork, you’ll be handed the keys… and you’ll officially become a homeowner! CONGRATULATIONS!