If you’re looking to buy a home for the first time, the home buying process can be, in a word, overwhelming. Did you know there are over 200 steps until you close on your new property? It’s a lot of a new information to take in and you’ll likely come across terms you’ve never heard or perhaps fully understood before.
I’d like to give a brief overview of the home buying process for those who are just starting out or who need a refresher.
1- Meeting with a Realtor or meeting with a lender (together or one at a time). Don’t look for houses before doing this because without knowing how much you actually qualify for, you won’t know which homes you can buy and without an approval letter from a lender, you can’t even write an offer.
2-Select viewing properties. Fun! Buyers love this process! You get to tour homes and figure out your wants and needs.
3-Write your offer. Your agent writes it, negotiates for you, and once the offer is accepted, you are considered ‘under contract’.
4-Give the seller your earnest money, which is due once you’ve gone under contract. Earnest money is typically 1% of purchase price or $1,000, if buying a home in a lower price point. Earnest money is money that you give to a seller to show that you’re serious about buying the house. Once you close on the property, that amount is subtracted from the total due. If you break your contract, however, the seller gets to keep your earnest money.
Steps 5-8: The DEADLINES
5-Deadline 1- Seller Disclosures- This is the time period that the seller has where they tell you everything about the home, like any damage or issues that it might have.
6-Deadline 2- Buyer Due Diligence- This is the period of time that YOU as a buyer has to look into all the details of the house, such as getting an inspector in the house or any professional to make sure that the house is exactly as it seems.
7-Deadline 3-Financing and Appraisal. Financing deadline is where you finish submitting all your paperwork and documents to the lending company so that they can tell the buyer’s bank that you do, indeed, qualify for your loan. The appraisal deadline is the date by which the seller has to have an appraiser come into the home to say, ‘yes, the house is worth the price you have agreed upon’. Once both deadlines in this period has passed, your earnest money ‘goes hard’, which means if you don’t buy the house and close on it, the seller will be able to keep your earnest money.
8-Deadline 4- Settlement and Closing. Your Realtor will write a closing date into your contract. On this date, you will have to have finished all steps to purchasing the home and be ready to sign the documents at the title company to make everything final.
9-You get the keys! And you’re now a home owner!
If you have any questions about the home buying process, feel free to reach out to me!