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The Step By Step Home Buying Process
Dated: November 28 2018
Buying a home is simple right? We just find the house we want, place an offer, and move in. Not so fast, while those are all steps in the process there are a few that are missing. I love watching HGTV shows just as much as the next person, and they can be helpful when looking into options to do for your own home. However they do leave out some of the not so glamorous parts of buying a home, and that results in some surprises sometimes. I am here to let you know the process and what to expect
Step 1: Getting Pre-Approved!
Step one is probably the biggest step, even though it is only the first. Without getting pre-approved you are flying blind. You have no idea of how much of a home that you can afford and that is a big concern. You want to get a new home, but you don't want to break your budget as part of the process. There are several options out there for getting pre-approved and your REALTOR can help you in that process. You can expect to get copies of your W2 for the last couple of years, as well as pay stubs to show your proof of income for starters.
Step 2: Setting up your expectations!
This may seem like a unnecessary step, however it can save you a lot of time. I always recommend to my clients that we meet up in person and decide on what they are looking for first. If you are looking with your significant other, I recommend that you both write down a list of things, say 10-15, that you need to have in your home. Then compare. This way you can see what you both want and that lets us find the home that meets the most of your criteria. You can expect to spend a bit of time writing down and thinking about what you want in your home.
Step 3: Finding a home!
Now comes the fun part. No really, this is my favorite part of the buying process, and I am sure that I am not alone. During this step expect to go out and see lots of homes. You can spend all day looking at photos of a property and it looks great, and then you show up and it backs up to a major intersection and you don't like the traffic sounds. In person is the best way to see homes. What to expect during this stage is several trips out, ideally, to see homes and find one that meets your criteria from the step before.
Step 4: Putting in an offer!
This can be the scary part! Putting in an offer is totally normal and part of the process of buying a home. It can seem intimidating but its really not if you know what you are getting into. An offer is simply what you are offering to pay for the home. This will also contain how much you would like to put down in earnest money and who you would like have as your Title Company. Your REALTOR will have some recommendations for title companies and for how much you should put down on the earnest money. You can expect to have some money on hand during this process for your earnest money, as you will need to have it ready to go if the offer is accepted.
Step 5: Getting an offer accepted/rejected!
Now you have submitted your offer and you are waiting...and waiting...and waiting. It doesn't take that long, though it does feel like that at times, most offers are responded to within 1-3 days. If your offer is accepted, then you are good to move on to the next step. If your offer is rejected though, you are not at the end of the road. The seller will usually return a counter offer with their requested terms, or you can submit another offer if you really want that house. The third option is that you can continue to look for homes. You can expect to hear from your agent as they will be the ones communicating the offer to you from the other side.
Step 6: Home inspection!
Once your offer is accepted we move on to the home inspection process. This is where someone will come to your potential home and they spend several hours going through the entire home. They will check crawlspaces, attics and various other sections of the home to see if there is any issues with the home. One common misunderstanding is that the report needs to be perfect. No home is perfect and there will always be something that comes back on the report. You should expect to get a list of things that the inspector things of a major, and then minor things to be addressed. You would then be given the option of requesting the seller to fix these items or taking the home as is.
Step 7: Closing time process!
Now you would think by this point that you would be completely done right? Wrong. There is still more work to be done. The next part involves your bank and a title company. They title company is going to be focusing on making sure that there are no issues with the legal part of the home. They check to see if there is any issues with law suits or if the home was sold and make sure everything is legit. Your bank is going to be making sure that you have all of your paperwork in order and that your income matches everything. They will also lock in all of your rates and information in that regard. You can expect to be meeting with your banker and I would also strongly encourage your to no go out and buy things or quit jobs while you are waiting for this process to clear.
Step 8: Closing Day!
This is the day that all of the shows have put in your head where you walk in and sign a paper and walk out with keys. That is essentially what happens but it is a little longer process. You can expect to sign several documents. You will be meeting to get everything set up and clearly shifted to your name. The seller also has to go through this same process and that can sometimes take a day or so. You will have to wait for the title company to fully get things sorted through until you are given keys.
Step 9: Getting the Keys
You have done it! You officially own a home. Congratulations. I would no recommend that you re-key the house. If you decide to keep the original keys, you are unsure if the previous owner ever gave out copies of the keys to friends or neighbors. Or if there was construction work done, they will occasionally give out spare keys. I always just change the lock to a new one on all of the enter/exit doors to the home. It is a fairly easy process and you only need a screwdriver and the new door handles from your local hardware store.
Enjoy your new home! You deserve it!
I have been involved in the real estate world since I bought my first home in 2014. I am an Idaho native and was born and raised in Middleton, Idaho. I graduated and moved to Boise in 2010 and have be....
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