Selling Your Home Real Estate Glossary For Buyers First Time Buyers Home Home Buyer Checklist

The 9 Steps to Home Ownership

Step - 1 Make the Decision to Buy

It seems obvious, but it's good to note that the first step to buying a house is making the decision to buy. Consider the reasons you want a new house and write them down. Determine how long you want to live in the new house - does buying still make good financial sense? Can you afford a house that will meet your list of requirements? A good rule of thumb is your mortgage payment should not exceed 1/3 of your net monthly income.

Step 2 - Seek Professional Guidance

We'd like to schedule a time to meet with you to hear the reasons you want to buy a house and your plans for the future. We'll talk about neighborhoods, schools, economic factors liable to affect the market today and tomorrow, as well as how you would like your house and neighborhood to grow with you.

At this time, we will also help you get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. Pre-qualification is a written statement from a loan officer indicating his or her opinion that you will be approved for a mortgage loan up to a certain amount. The fact that you are pre-qualified will help us when we are negotiating the deal.

Step 3 - Begin the Hunt

After our initial meeting, we'll search all our resources for houses on the market that fit your criteria. Then, we'll schedule appointments to tour the houses at times convenient to you.

As we tour houses, we'll point out positive features and negative features. We'll ask you to tell us what you like and what you don't like. You'll probably amend your "wish list" as we tour houses, some things will become more important and others less important. With this new information, we'll refine our search criteria to narrow in on the house that best fits your needs.

Step 4 - Know the Market

Our knowledge of the market is an essential factor in the house search. Our specialized knowledge of real estate values is very essential, and can save you $$$$ when you do buy. 

In a "seller's market". It is not unusual to see multiple offers on a property, full-price offers and even above-price offers. On the flip side, during a "buyer's market" there are more houses for sale than buyers. We'll tell you when you are dealing with heavy competition and when you aren't.

Step 5 - Find Your Dream House

We are confident we'll find the best house for you. When we do, I'll put together the purchase offer tailored for your needs including all of the appropriate contingencies (such as obtaining financing, favorable home inspection, clear title, etc.).

The offer is normally presented with "earnest money". This is a cash deposit made to a home seller to secure an offer to buy the property. The amount is applied to closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, generally closing is held 30 to 60 days from the offer date (generally dependent on the turn around time of your mortgage financing).

Step 6 - Negotiate the Deal

It is not uncommon to receive a counter offer when the initial purchase offer is submitted. Don't let this discourage you. We will discuss the counter offer and decide whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or reject the counter offer and move on.

Market conditions will play a role in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. We will also work within your limits. Emotions can lead to buyer's remorse. It is better to set limits prior to negotiating an offer and stick to these limits.

Step 7 - Get a Loan

During the closing period, you will be working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. Since you pre-qualified for the loan before starting your home search, you will be that much closer to the end. We'll supply the necessary property information your lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 - Close the Deal

You will receive a "Good Faith Estimate" of closing costs at the time the loan application is submitted to the lender. Remember, loans are much tougher to get in today's credit environment. Do not buy, lease, or use your credit cards while your loan is being approved. Any change in your financial status can cause the underwriter to deny your loan. Until you have signed all the documents at close and have those keys in your hand, it is best to wait to buy anything for your new home, or anything else for that matter!

Step 9 - Move In

Congratulations! It's time to move into your new house and make it your home. Enjoy this exciting time.