Buying or Selling in Today’s Market

By K. Diane Bowers, Realtor, GRI, J&B Real Estate, Inc.

Can YOU BUY a home? One of the biggest myths is that you need 20 percent as a down payment. This is not true; actually, most are 0-5 percent.

Steps to Buying a Home

Find a Good Realtor. Others may say this is Step #2. I think it should be your first step. Find someone you trust and has experience. There are many ways to search for a realtor but the BEST way is to get a recommendation from someone close to you. The realtor you select is YOUR personal representative so choose wisely.

Find a Lender to Get Pre-Approved. This is your most important step! Do NOT look at any potential homes until this is completed! It is the buyer’s choice which lender to use, but your agent will help guide you through this process. It is crucial to chat with lenders that were referred to you, not some random lender you found using Google. Many things can go wrong with this step. The lender will verify your income, credit, funds, and work history to qualify for a loan program. There are several good loan programs. Mortgage payments are more than calculating just principal and interest; property taxes, homeowners insurance, lender mortgage insurance (due if you put less than 20 percent down), and HOA fees are all considered when getting approved.

Decide on Type of Loan. As I mentioned, there are so many types of programs. The most utilized is FHA (Federal Housing Admin), VA (Veteran), USDA (US Dept of Ag-Rural Development), Conventional (not insured by the Federal Government), Rehab, and the list goes on and on. I will elaborate in a future issue.

Start Looking for Homes. This is the FUN part! Discuss with your realtor your personal wants and needs for your future home. Keep in mind, you will NEVER check off every box, but you still set the standard. Send your realtor a list of homes you want to see in your price-range. There is NO point in looking above your range unless you want to be constantly disappointed. It is not fair to the $200,000 homes if you start looking at $300,000 homes when that isn’t affordable. Just like I don’t want to be compared to a 20-year-old. No thanks!

 Once You Find the “One,” Make an Offer. This is where the REALTOR OF CHOICE matters!  This person is your representative during the entire process, which starts with an offer. Hiring someone you know or referred to you, your best interests are being protected.  I am not a fan of the quote “IT’S BUSINESS,  NOT PERSONAL”… I strongly believe that BUSINESS IS PERSONAL and should be! There is so much that goes into an offer, beyond offer price alone. They will guide you on pros/cons of those specifics in your offer.  

Conduct Inspections. Inspect the home using a third-party company to prepare you for current and potential issues. Home, well, septic, radon, termite/pest, mold, chimney, are the most utilized inspections.  

Order Appraisal. Lender will order an appraisal. We have no control over this selection.  The appraiser inspects home to determine value. The lender gets this report then shares with the buyer.

Address Repairs, Safety Issues, Value. Once the inspections and appraisal are finished, major issues will be addressed with the seller, depending on terms of the contract.  Each house is different.  

Wait for Final Loan Approval. Once we get the above steps done and all documents to the lender (this is the dreadful part), we will get a CLEAR TO CLOSE, meaning we are ready for settlement. Woohoo!  You will get final numbers from the settlement company to wire your funds for your deposit, closing costs, etc. 

Setup Utilities, Movers, etc. Start calling the utility companies, cable, internet to be scheduled to start the day of settlement.  

Do Final Walk-Through. This is your final “showing” to confirm the house is in the same condition at time of ratified contract. It is conducted right before settlement.  If anything is broken, etc. this will need to be addressed with the seller.

Attend Settlement at a Title Company. IT’S THE BIG DAY!  Plan on being at settlement 45-60 minutes. Some are longer, some are shorter, but this is  a good average to plan on. You will sign your name as a buyer, maybe 25 times that feels like 500 times. Once all parties sign the paperwork, you are now the NEW OWNER! 

 Grab the keys and start moving in! Congrats!

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