The first step in buying a new home is to find out exactly what you can afford. You need to speak with a mortgage professional to determine your buying power to insure that you will be able to follow through with your purchase as well as make the payments in the years to come. You are free to use any lender that you like but we highly recommend using Kelly Phillips with Fairway. You can contact her here.
A common misconception is that all Realtors are equal. Finding a professional Realtor that fits your needs is very important. They should be knowledgeable of the local market, a skilled negotiator, have experience with contracts and be willing to assist you in every aspect of finding a new home.
Have a meeting with your Realtor and determine what your needs for a new home would be. Some examples of things to consider are:
An experienced Realtor will know which questions to ask to assist you.
Having access to the local Multiple Listing Service is very important. Your Realtor should be able to provide you with a web site where you can look at available properties at your leisure in the comfort of your home.
You should make a list of homes that you would like to see and have your Realtor show them to you. If you look at too many homes in one day it will actually inhibit your ability to find the perfect one. Take your time, don't rush. Look at no more than five in a single day.
After you find a home that fits all or most of your needs, have your Realtor research the home and local area. Look into the sales history of the home that you are looking at as well as other homes in the neighborhood. Make sure that the asking price is fair and decide what price you would like to offer.
An Offer To Purchase should be made in writing. Never attempt to make a verbal offer as the seller may not consider you to be a serious buyer and may not give the offer proper consideration. Make sure that the Offer To Purchase is completely filled out and that all of the terms fit within the parameters that you have specified.
Very few offers are accepted on the first presentation. It is very likely that the seller will counter your offer. This is where you must have an experienced agent that will communicate your needs and wants effectively. Strong negotiation skills are sometimes strong and sometimes soft, depending on the situation.
A contingency is a want or a need of the buyer that must be completed or satisfied before the Offer To Purchase can be completed. Almost all offers are contingent upon the property appraising for the agreed upon purchase price. Other contingencies could be for financing, a home inspection, the sale of the buyer's current home or pretty much anything that is important to the protect the buyer in making the purchase. For instance, you might not want to go through with the purchase of a home if you found out that it has serious problems the week before the closing is scheduled.
Getting a preapproval from the mortgage company does not automatically mean that you will be approved for the home that you choose. In today's mortgage market most companies will require additional information about the home that you intend to purchase before they will loan you the money to actually buy it. Often there are additional items or information that must be obtained prior to closing. Keep in close contact with your Realtor to insure that everything stays on track.
In most real estate transactions there are issues that arise at the last minute that must be resolved before the deed can be transferred. Make sure that your agent stays on top of and helps to resolve any issues that may arise.