Getting Ready To Buy a New Home

1. Start by asking yourself why you want to buy a home: to stop paying rent; to build equity; to have a place of your own; to move up to a larger home. Think about your lifestyle. Are you a “homebody” who likes to work in the yard and can give hours of care to gardening. Are you willing to give time to “do-it-yourself” projects. The answers to these and similar questions will help you decide what type of home you would like to own.

2. Make lists and save them. Describe the kind of home you would like to live in. Pick the area in which you would like to live. List the must-haves and the would-like-to-haves. Ask yourself how much time you are willing to spend commuting to your job.

3. Contact a local REALTOR®. Real estate professionals who live in an area are more knowledgeable about local neighborhoods, schools, taxes and governments. From experience with listing and selling homes in a specific area, a local REALTOR® can provide expert guidance in assisting you through the maze of evaluating homes and neighborhoods that suit your needs.

5. It is wise to look for mortgage information before you find your new home. Your REALTOR® will recommend that you contact a lending company. The loan officer is qualified to assess how much money you can afford to spend to purchase your new home. The loan officer will also provide you with information regarding the many different mortgage plans that are available.

6. You’ve mapped your strategy. You’ve chosen an area. You’ve selected your REALTOR®. You’ve been to a mortgage lender. You’re ready to begin your house hunting!

7. As a potential purchaser, you start the process of negotiating the purchase of a home by submitting an offer to purchase to a seller. A purchase offer must be complete because when the seller signs it, the document becomes a binding contract. Ordinarily, the offer will include the sale price, the amount of the new mortgage you will be seeking, what items will stay with the home (lighting fixtures, personal property, etc.), the date and time of closing, and any contingencies that must be met before the closing date. At this point, your REALTOR®’s assistance is invaluable. Your REALTOR® will keep the negotiation process running smoothly. With the knowledge of your situation and a complete understanding of financing options, he or she will be able to suggest strategies that can bring about a satisfactory transaction.

8. It’s “closing day” and you and your REALTOR® will meet with the sellers, their REALTOR® and a settlement officer to complete the transaction and transfer the property. You will be asked to bring several items to the closing: a paid receipt for one year’s coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy; a certified or cashier’s check payable to yourself which will be endorsed to the seller for the balance of your down payment and your closing costs. You will sign the mortgage and a mortgage note. All signed documents are recorded. You pay the seller and the seller gives you the title or deed. You pick up the keys – and go HOME!