Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Important Steps to Purchasing a Home

It may surprise you to learn that Realtors, the professional ones at least, don't consider themselves the FIRST step or contact in the home buying process. Below you will see a step by step guide to the home buying process. The target audience for this blog is that select group of people out there who really want to purchase a home and want to do it the right way.

Step 1: Decide to Buy

The first step on this list may seem like a "no duh" type of statement, but the truth is that this is the most important step towards home ownership. Why? Because there are so many people who tell themselves they are "in the market" for a home but the truth is that they are not 100% committed to doing what it takes to become a home owner.

People who are just looking don't help the market. They hurt it because they take up valuable time and resources away from the serious buyers. There are many ways to "just look" constructively. Contacting a real estate professional (lender, Realtor or attorney) is not the right way to go about it. There are so many websites designed for the "just looking" crowd rather than the "I am ready to buy" crowd. Take Zillow and Trulia for instance. These are advertising sites, and while they are NOT the most accurate sites, they do give the "just looking" crowd enough to do.

The real buyers make a real commitment to buy, and make every step necessary to make it happen.

Keep the following points in mind:
  • ·         The decision to purchase your first home is one of the biggest and best choices you could ever make. 
  • ·         Buying a home is the largest - and most emotional - investment most people will face in their lifetime.
  • ·         There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. 
  • ·         A home purchase is an important step that can provide many advantages - equity build up, value appreciation, automatic savings plan - not to mention a new sense of pride!
  • ·         Start looking at your options today. You don't have to know everything. As your real estate professional, it is my job to walk you through every step of the process.

Step 2: Hire a Realtor

When you're looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, good Realtors put their clients first. This is your dream, and your Realtor is your advocate to help you make your dream come true.

  • ·         Educate you about the current conditions of the market.
  • ·         Take the time to analyze what you want and what you need in your next home.
  • ·         Co-ordinate the work of other needed professionals (lender, attorney, inspector, etc.) throughout the process.
  • ·         Guide you to homes that fit your criteria and budget.
  • ·         Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal possible.
  • ·         Check and double-check paperwork, legalities and deadlines.
  • ·         Remain in contact with you, and suggest solutions to solve any problems that may arise.

Step 3: Secure Financing

To make the financing process as painless as possible, ask your Realtor to introduce you to the preferred financing consultant. This professional will work with you and your Realtor to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress free.

What will the consultant do for you?
  • ·         Review your current financials.
  • ·         Discuss the options available to you during the home purchasing process.
  • ·         Guide you to an appropriate price point to meet your needs.
  • ·         Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal - price, interest rates, loan approval.
  • ·         Keep you updated of the entire financial process throughout your purchase.

Step 4: Find Your Home

So you've met with your trusted advisor, and now you're ready to begin your search. But how or where do you start? There are a lot of homes out there, and diving in without a guide can become overwhelming and confusing. As your Realtor, I will help you more accurately pinpoint homes that fit your criteria. The right home will meet all your important needs, and as many of your additional wants as possible.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:
  • ·         What amenities are crucial for you and your family?
  • ·         How much space do you need and why?
  • ·         Which is more critical: location or size?
  • ·         Would you be interested in a fixer-upper?
  • ·         How important is home value appreciation?
  • ·         Is neighborhood stability a priority?
  • ·         Is accessibility to main routes a priority?
  • ·         What features are not negotiable in your new property?

*You'll learn as you look at homes, your priorities will probably adjust along the way.

Step 5: Make an Offer

*This is neither the time to be cheap nor to be foolish.* Once you've found a home you love, the next step is deciding on a price. It's important to remember that a home is an investment in your current living situation, and your future financial situation. Your Realtor can give you information on the available properties in the neighborhood to help ensure you make an informed decision when it comes to price and options. Look to your Realtor to explain and guide you through the offer process.

Some things to consider when deciding on the best price point are:

  • ·         List price - Start with the price point that the home is listed at. This will give you a base when looking at the home's value.
  • ·         Market Analysis - Your Realtor will give you an idea of comparable home values in the neighborhood to help you decide if the price point is on par.
  • ·         Improvements - Your Realtor can give you a list of improvements made to the home and help you determine its market value.

Step 6: Perform Due Diligence

Ask your Realtor to recommend a home inspector that knows the area in which you are purchasing. The home inspector will provide you with improvements and challenges within your home. This way you'll know what you are getting into before you complete the purchase. Very often a problem appears to be big, but can be fixed with very little effort and not a huge budget. Don’t let anything discourage you. Information is a powerful ally to have.

Step 7: Close

So now you have an accepted offer, you’ve done the home inspection, you’ve signed your end of the contract and the seller has signed his/her side of the contract. In order to ensure that you don't put the property purchase at risk, you have a couple responsibilities that you'll need to keep in mind:
  • ·         Stay in control of your credit and finances - Do not make any large purchases during this time. Talk to your lender for guidance. 
  • ·         Keeping in touch with your Realtor, lender and attorney- It's important to stay in constant communication with your team during this process. Be sure to return all phone calls and complete paperwork promptly. Remember, your team is there to help you!

Step 8: Protect Your Investment

Congratulations, and welcome home! The home-buying process is complete, which means it's time for your maintenance plan! It's now your responsibility, and in your best financial interest, to protect your investment for years to come. Performing routine maintenance on your home's systems is always more affordable than having to fix big problems later. Be sure to watch for signs of leaks, damage and wear. Also, make sure you aren’t cheap with your home insurance. This is not a car where all you need is liability. This is a huge purchase. Protect it. Your Realtor may be able to refer you to an excellent insurance broker.

Remember, after you purchase your home, your Realtor can still help you - providing information on the local contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home's current value. Remember your Realtor when you are ready to sell and move onto your next ownership. 

Real Estate Salesperson
Coldwell Banker Kueber
917-945-4211 CELL

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