Purchasing a home can be a stressful experience. However, with an understanding of the process and the assistance of a professional buyer’s agent, you can relieve a good deal of that stress. This step-by-step guide to purchasing your new home is your first goal in understand the process, your role in it and what needs to be done before you purchase your home:
The first and most important step in purchasing a home is determining how much you can afford to borrow from a lender. The pre-approval involves speaking with a mortgage broker or lender. The broker or lender will compare your income and expenses to certain qualifying measures, called the debt-to-income ratio and will then review your credit score.
Determine Your Search Criteria
Begin your home search by defining the location where you would like to buy and what you require in a home. It helps to make a list of your must-haves and wishes, in addition to noting what you can live without. Knowing what you’re looking for helps you focus your search and also helps your real estate agent understand your needs.
Shopping for a Home
A realtor who works exclusively with buyers is called a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is committed to working only for you, and will be of great help in finding and securing a home. Your buyer’s agent can send you daily e-mail listings based on your needs. Attending open houses and driving around neighborhoods is a great way to understand the market, community and how properties fit within your price range. Your buyer’s agent can also schedule private showings to view properties.
Your buyer’s agent will write your offer, submit your pre-approval letter and collect a “good faith” deposit of $1,000 from you. Once an offer has been accepted by a seller, the buyer usually has 7 days to have a home inspection conducted by an inspector. The home inspector looks thoroughly at the home and gives an assessment of the condition.
Purchase and Sale Agreement
The Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S) is a binding legal agreement between the buyer and seller that lists all of the conditions of the sale. Your P&S should be reviewed by your attorney before you sign it. An additional deposit of five percent (5%) is also typically required at the signing of the P&S.
The mortgage lender will require an appraisal of the home to ensure that the property value is worth the money you are borrowing.
Once a Purchase and Sale Agreement has been signed, you have a set period of time to secure your mortgage. If you are unable to secure the funding during the time allocated in your Mortgage Contingency Clause, you can legally cancel the contract.
Lenders require you to have homeowner’s insurance to protect their interest in the property as well as yours.
Before closing, your real estate agent will schedule a final walkthrough inspection to make sure that the property is in the condition stated in your contract. Your real estate agent and attorney should be present at the closing. After the paperwork has been recorded with the Registry of Deeds, you are now the proud owner of your new home. Congratulations!
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