Here’s the home buying process described. Whether this is your first time or you’ve bought several times, these are steps to help you achieve the excitement of getting the keys to your new home in the home buying process. It can be frustrating, stressful and just darn right wonderful.
You’ve been looking online and saw a financial calculator that estimates your monthly payment on a home listed. You think, hmmm, this one I can buy. That is just what you want to spend per month. Well, normally these calculators do not include taxes and insurance. And no matter what - even if you paid cash for the home, you’ll pay taxes even though insurance is optional for cash.
Speak to a local mortgage professional and preferably one that comes with a referral. I say local, because some out-of-Texas mortgage companies don’t know how we do things here - the process. It can cost you some unnecessary fees. Real estate agents have experience as to what mortgage companies can deliver.
The mortgage officer can look at your expenses, income, debt, credit score, etc., and come up with what you monthly payment will be based on different scenarios. Note that every time your credit is pulled, it affects your score. So, make sure it’s pulled at the right time - close to when you are ready to buy. The company will help you to understand all this. Once you are ready to make an offer, the pre-qualification information will be sent to the seller and seller’s agent to make your offer stronger. Most transactions require a pre-qualification letter with the offer.
Most mortgages require a down payment (not all). If you need down payment assistance, the lender (Mortgage Company) knows what programs are available to help you with this. Or they’ll let you know your other options, such as gifted money (and I’m not the one to ask about this). There will be closing costs associated with the loan. Some of these costs can be negotiated when you make an offer.
Meet with an agent and go over what your wishes, wants, deal-breakers, budget, etc. are. In my case, I have a buyer packet that has a questionnaire and an online questionnaire that can help you clarify requirements.
Your agent can set MLS searches for you to view via email. The first time you receive notifications, you’ll probably have a lot. They’ll have pictures, sales price, square footage, area, subdivision, etc. You can sift through them, look at map areas, pictures, etc. You can send an email to your agent right from the listing. Take notes and check off if you are interested, lukewarm or not interested.
Did you know that some websites you search on have fake listings? I can’t tell you how many buyers and renters I’ve worked with that found a home online that they love. They want to go look at it and find more information on it. Guess what? It sold a year before for double the price and I can’t even find it active on MLS. But I found the property at the appraisal district valued at double the price. Now this doesn’t happen a lot. But what if it is the one that you find and do the transaction yourself and it’s the fake listing? Not good.
Be diligent and cautious when you search and look online. Contact me and I’ll provide link to my app where you can look at everything that is on San Antonio multiple listing service. It’s the same information that I have access to. And I can give you a few other websites to look at.
You and your agent have a plan to tour homes. I mean you want to see nine in one day. Please don’t. Limit the visits to three to five per day. Purchasing a home is emotional - at least for some people including me. If you’re in from out of town, at minimum take a break away from your agent and discuss what you’ve seen. Resume later.
Take notes on each home. How does it feel to you? Is it home? Do you like the area? How far is it from work? Is it in good shape? Are you handy? How about the amenities?
At JB Goodwin REALTORS® San Antonio, we have the ability to create tours and send to our buyers. The tour has directions and information on each home. And I have a house hunting checklist that you can fill out as you tour to remember details.
We all do this. We think we are impartial. We won’t get emotional when we find the one that feels like home. Wrong. It does get emotional - at least normally. You’re ready to write the offer. The house is perfect. You’re in love and have to have it. Just know that things happen during the home buying process.
Getting a home to the closing table takes a lot of people and tasks. Be prepared and be okay with the perfect outcome (cheesy, right?). But it’s true. I’ve personally and my customers have made offers on homes that they/I really want. And it doesn’t happen. Ultimately, they/I found a much better home. Not that it won’t go through, but just be cautious.
When it’s a competitive market, writing a “clean” offer is very important. This means one with the least conditions possible - like a fast close or not asking for as many closing costs to be paid by the seller. There are other things you can do to help win the offer should you need, depending on the market conditions.
You also need to see the selling disclosure, a document filled out by the seller stating the conditions of the home. And make sure that you have your agent run a comparative marketing analysis on the subdivision or area. This will have information and details on what has sold. Also, have your agent find out if there are any conditions that may be favorable for the seller.
At JB Goodwin, we use Docusign and zipForms where everything is written up and signed online. I always let the seller’s agent know that I am writing an offer in case there are other offers. Now you have to wait until you hear from the seller’s agent that they have/have not accepted your offer. And yeah, that step in the home buying process takes a lot of patience. It will be okay either way.
Once your offer is accepted, the “Contract to Close” process begins. The offers go to the title company after the contract is “executed” and all the parties have agreed to the terms and signed. The earnest money is brought to the title company and the “option” money is delivered to the seller.
Look below to download the “Contract to Close” and “Closing Cost” documents provided by Independence Title. And know that there are deadlines to get things done (inspections, mortgage info, etc.) from all parties to get your home to the closing table during the home buying process.
Oh and while you’re waiting, do not and I mean DO NOT make any major purchases. This could affect you ultimately purchasing the home.
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