Buying a home is an exciting and significant step in life. It’s a process that involves careful planning, thorough inspections, and a few essential steps along the way. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what to expect when buying your dream home so you can navigate this journey with confidence.
1. Start with Your Budget
The first step in buying a home is understanding your budget. Begin by speaking with a lender to determine a comfortable monthly payment. Based on this information, your lender will help you decide on a price range to focus your search. Once you have a clear budget in mind, you’re ready to begin the exciting journey of finding your new home.
2. The Home Search
With your budget set, it’s time to start searching for your ideal home. We’ll work closely with you to narrow down your preferences, such as location, size, and features. Once we have a clear understanding of your needs, we’ll help you explore available listings and schedule viewings.
3. Making an Offer
Once you’ve found the perfect home, it’s time to make an offer. When writing an offer to purchase, you’ll include an Earnest Money Deposit, which demonstrates your “good faith” and financial readiness to the seller. You should also have a pre-approval letter from your chosen lender, showing that you’re qualified to make the purchase. Negotiations and counteroffers are common during this phase, but we’ll guide you through the process until both parties agree and sign, resulting in a ratified contract.
4. Escrow Period
After the contract is signed, the first 12 days are filled with critical deadlines and tasks. Here’s what to expect during this time:
First 7 Days: Submit all required loan application documents to your chosen lender.
First 10 Days: Order and schedule a Home Inspection (at your expense) from a company of your choice. The inspection report will help you negotiate with the seller regarding repairs or replacements. Be present at the inspection, as it’s a great opportunity to learn about the home’s systems.
Radon Inspection: If you choose to have a Radon Inspection (optional and at your expense), it typically extends for two additional days due to the 48-hour test duration.
Other Tests: Depending on the property and your needs, other inspections like mold, well, or septic may be recommended, and we’ll provide guidance on what’s necessary.
Finalize Paperwork: Work closely with your lender and the settlement agency/title company or attorney to complete all necessary paperwork. Your lender will order an appraisal, which assesses the property’s value. Additionally, a Termite Inspection is often required to ensure there are no wood-destroying insects present. These inspections are essential for mortgage approval.
Homeowner’s Association Resale Documents(if applicable): Paid for by the seller, you’ll receive these documents with three days to review them. During this time, you can nullify the contract if the rules are not agreeable.
5. Final Walkthrough
Within seven days of settlement, a final walkthrough is conducted to ensure all agreed-upon repairs have been completed. The property should be in the same condition as when the offer was initially made. It’s a key step before moving in.
6. Utility Setup and Settlement
Within a week of settlement, contact utility companies to open accounts in your name starting on the day of settlement. You’ll receive a list of utilities for reference. This is also an ideal time to inform the post office of your address change.
Set up a wire transfer for necessary funds to close, and receive wiring instructions from the settlement agent/title company/attorney. On the day of settlement, bring your photo ID to sign the deed and loan documents. We also recommend having your checkbook handy in case of additional expenses or differences in settlement funds.
7. Celebration and Move-In
With the keys in hand and the paperwork complete, it’s time to celebrate your new home. Pop the champagne and make your move-in a memorable occasion!
Buying a home is a journey filled with excitement and responsibilities. By understanding the process and working closely with your real estate team, you can confidently navigate each step and make your dream home a reality. Cheers to your new beginning! 🏡🥂