How to Buy a House
Steps to buying a house
So you’re thinking about buying a home? Whether you’re a first-time buyer, looking to invest or just want a new place, purchasing a home is an important decision. It can be your dream come true or it could become a frightening endeavor. As long as you prepare and educate yourself properly and seek out appropriate assistance, you’ ll have a pleasant and rewarding experience.
At Martino Realty, we are here to educate you on purchasing a home. With over twenty years in the real estate industry, we are familiar with all the intricacies and difficulties of purchasing a home. Don’t let buying your dream home become a negative experience. We’ve put together this guide for you to refer to. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have. Our real estate agents are here to help you.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
You want to pick someone who is knowledgeable, available, and most importantly, someone whom you’re comfortable with.
Whoever you pick, be sure to work with only one agent at a time. All of our agents have access to MLS, so one agent can usually show you any home advertised regardless of who may have the listing. This will save you time and avoids having different agents show you the same house.
Getting a Pre-Approved Home Loan
A pre-qualification is a letter from a lender that states how much of a home loan you can borrow. This is determined by your income, credit score and assets. It is usually done for free by most lenders. Your agent can refer you to a bank or broker.
Most sellers will insist on seeing this letter before accepting any offers you may present.
Home Buying Budget
You need to decide how much per month you feel comfortable spending. Sometimes the prequalification letter will be higher than what you want to spend. Your real estate agent can help you set up a budget.
Decide What You Need
Bedrooms, baths, basement, garage etc. Discuss these items with your real estate agent and he or she will help you figure out how much you can get while remaining within your budget. The more realistic you are, the less you’ll be disappointed.
Choose a Location
The three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. Decide what your needs are. Do you need to be near stores, transportation or schools?
Again, be realistic, stick to areas that are within your budget. Have your agent show you around and give you school, transportation and neighborhood information.
Present an offer
By now you have seen enough houses to know the estimated value of the real estate in an area. The most important thing in presenting an offer with you agent is to be realistic. Discuss your offer with your agent and put it in writing. You will get back an acceptance or a counter offer. Repeat this process until you get an acceptance.
Hire a Real Estate Attorney
Like your agent, this person should be someone local and someone you are comfortable with. He or she should also be a Real Estate attorney. Ask your agent for a referral.
Choose a Home Inspector
A home inspector or engineer will check the house for any possible defects and future problems. Try to attend the actual home inspection so that you can see potential issues for yourself and discuss them with the inspector.
Be realistic and realize that very few home are perfect. If there are any major issues or concerns, discuss them with your agent.
Sign Your Contract
Contact your attorney and schedule an appointment to review and sign the contract at his or her office. At this point you will give your attorney the escrow deposit. The deposit amount can vary, but can be as high as 10% of your purchase price. Your lawyer then sends the contracts to the seller’s lawyer for them to sign. This is usually done within 7-10 days of acceptance.
Applying for your Mortgage
Choose your lender and fill out your mortgage application. Ask your agent for a list of lenders. Although times vary, a commitment should be issues within 30 to 45 days.
Do a Walk Through
Before closing you’ll walk through the home to see if everything is how it was when you originally signed the contract.
Bring your checkbook, photo ID and several certified checks (your attorney will tell you how much money you need in your account and to whom you should make the checks payable to). You will sign a lot of documents that your attorney will explain to you. The entire process should take about an hour.
In most cases you will receive the keys the day of the closing. There are cases when the seller will need 3 to 5 days after closing to move out.