First time home buyer basic tips:
• Team up with a Professional Realtor, one who specializes in the market you are focused on. This can make all the difference and will help result in a transaction.
• Secure a reputable LOCAL lender. Take recommendations from your trusted Real Estate Agent, as they typically work with lenders who provide a smooth process and good experience for you, the buyer. The lender will “set the tone” for the purchase and this step should be done early in the process. .
• The lender will perform a credit check early in the game so you avoid any problems before they arise.
• Save down payment.
• Get a written pre-approval from your lender. In such a competitive Real Estate Market, being pre-approved will give you an advantage over other buyers.
• Learn ahead about all fees and closing costs so not to be surprised (ie, taxes, insurance, attorney fees, HOA fees, etc…) the lender will be able to provide you with a Good Faith Estimate, outlining these.
• Research the schools and communities. It is often a good idea to pick your school and location first.
• Figure out what you want out of a neighborhood (ie, walking to school, pools, parks, location, and proximity to downtown).
• Make a list of your home wish list, including “must haves” and “would be nice to have.”
• Only look at homes in your target price range.
• If possible try to limit to 3 to 5 showings per appointment. Otherwise, you get lost in a sea of homes and forget what you viewed.
• “It only takes one day to find the perfect home, and that is the day you walk in that homeJ”
• Finding the home is the fun part.
• Writing the offer and negotiating a price is a little fun too, but can be stressful. Be aware of multiple offer situations in this market and rely on your Realtor to help guide you along.
• Have the earnest money readily accessible in an account for when you submit the first offer.
• Seeing an inspection report can be scary, but no home has a perfect inspection. The inspector is required by law to note every little detail. A burnt light bulb can take up a few inches of the inspection paperwork. With that said, do not let the size of it scare you. Inspections are typically completed within 10 days of the agreed upon contract.
• Having the seller repair the major items on the list are considered a “re-negotiation”. Your agent will guide you when addressing these items.
• Once renegotiations are complete, you are on your way to closing.
• Keep open and timely communication with your lender- always respond promptly with signatures and emails.
• Closing attorney (Again, rely on your Realtor’s recommendations) does most of his/her work during the final week before closing. You will be put in touch with a paralegal at this point. He/she will walk you through the process as will your Realtor.
• Make sure to switch the utilities in your name the day before closing.
Terms to know:
Contract- and agreement between the buyer and seller about price and terms such as closing date, closing costs, financing terms, etc…
Ratified/Executed contract- Once terms are agreed upon and all signatures required from both parties are provided.
Earnest Money- The deposit that you make at the initial offer promising funds if you breach the contract. This money goes towards your purchase price at closing. Usually 1% of purchase price suffices.
Pre-approval letter- Your lender provides this paperwork after your initial consultation once your credit score passes.
CL100- a termite and moisture inspection completed during contract timeline in addition to the standard inspection. A lender will usually require this to be clear.
HUD- The Settlement Statement which outlines all fees related to the sales transaction.