Home Buying Process – 17 Steps
1. Locate a local real estate agent.
Finding a good real estate agent is all-benefits, no drawbacks for buyers. It does not cost you a dime, but will save you so much time—and you’ll have a pro’s know-how throughout the process. Agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which gives them first glance at what’s for sale in the neighborhood you want at the price you can afford.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask a real estate agent, and interview them before committing.
- Our team and I can assist you with any home that is available on any website, like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and/or if there is a for sale sign in the front yard, even if the sign has another agent name and brokerage on it.
- It’s important to stick with one real estate agent throughout the process, the agent will know exactly what your needs and wants are. This will help keep you on track and save you a lot of valuable time.
- Our team will help you identify issues that are present in the property disclosures, verify flood zones, research if the property has flooded, and most importantly, guide you and your family through the home buying process.
2. Shop for a mortgage.
Compare mortgage rates online, and look at the types of mortgages available—conventional, Rural Development, FHA, fixed-rate, adjustable-rate—understanding the difference between these will help you figure out how to buy a house that’s right for you. You will need to contact a local mortgage expert. See the Loan Document Checklist below of items the lender will need. Shop for a local mortgage company.
3. Knowing your Monthly Payments.
You will also need to know how much you would like your Monthly payment to be. This would include the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and PMI. A useful tool to help you estimate your monthly payment would be a mortgage calculator. https://www.mortgagecalculator.org/
4. Get mortgage pre-approval from a Local Expert Lender.
You may have heard of pre-qualification, which gives you a general idea of how much you might be able to borrow. Pre-approval is the next step—a commitment from a lender for the amount that you can borrow. Pre-approval makes you a stronger home buying candidate—one who’s ready to close a deal quickly, which sellers love.
5. Make a list of needs and wants.
Make two lists: one of the must-haves and one of the nice-to-have items like the Olympic-sized swimming pool you dreamed about as a kid.
On the must-haves include location—near work, in your favorite Lafayette neighborhoods, by good schools, etc.—as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and whatever else you absolutely can’t (or won’t) live without. Your real estate agent can help you decide what items might best fit on which list based on homes in your market. Click here for a Needs vs Wants Checklist
6. Browse online house listings.
Take out that handy list of needs and wants and start looking around at what’s available. Use www.337homesearch.comfilters to quickly find the right listings to explore. For example, if you want your kids to go to a particular school, the school search feature allows you to search for it and find homes within the district for sale.
The goal with online browsing isn’t just to find a potential home, it’s also to make sure what you want, what’s available, and what you can afford all lineup. If not, you may need to adjust your wants and needs.
7. Go to house viewings.
Once you start seeing homes you like, call your agent and ask them to start scheduling viewings. And another, and another. Visit as many homes and open houses as you can. You can use the www.337homesearch.com app to find open houses scheduled near you. The more comparing and contrasting you can do, the more knowledge you have about the market and your options. Ask your Ted for advice about how to buy a house that really fits your needs.
8. Make an offer and negotiate.
Once you’re ready to start home buying, it’s offer time. Here’s where you’ll thank yourself for working with a real estate agent. They’ll help you determine the right offer to make for a particular house, including things that go beyond the dollar amount.
When you make an offer on a house, all documents are e-signed, which means the process less stressful and takes less time. Our transaction coordinator will write up the offer I will review and sign, the offer will automatically be emailed to you, the buyer, to sign, then sent to the seller to review. We will normally give the seller 24 hours depending on the situation to reply. The seller may then accept it, counter-offer or reject it, and then your agent will help you decide how and if to negotiate.
9. Under Contract.
Once you arrive at a deal everyone likes, you’re considered under contract to buy the house.
10. Due Diligence Period or Inspection Period.
This is the time the buyer has to make all necessary inspections and investigations about the home and area. The home Due Diligence Period is normally 10 days which gives you the buyer plenty of time to make sure this home is in good condition, the area is where you want to be and you can research the crime rate in that area.
11. Hire a home inspector.
Being under contract means you can still back out if you learn anything unexpected about the house, but only if you are still in the Inspection period. A home inspector is the one who finds any potential surprises. It’ll cost around $300 to $500 for your home inspection, but it’s well worth saving you from buying a house with a major problem. Our Team can often help you find an inspector, or you can go through the American Society of Home Inspectors. The inspector will write up an inspection report and email it to you. We will go over the inspection to get a list of items that need major repair, the agent will write up the buyers response to inspection. We will give the seller Our preferred inspector also includes a termite inspection.
12. Buyers Response to Inspection.
The agent will write up the items you would like the seller to fix. Keep in mind this does not mean the seller will fix these items, it’s a request. SELLER shall respond in writing within seventy-two (72) hours after receipt of this Buyer Response to Property Inspection, or within seventy-two (72) hours after SELLER DESIGNATED AGENT has received this Buyer Response to Property Inspection, whichever is earlier.
13. Sellers Response to Inspection
- After the seller has received the buyer’s response, the seller will decide what they will fix or not fix. There are several variables the seller considers what they choose to fix or not.
- Seller response shall be made on the Seller Response to Property Inspection form.
- If SELLER refuses to remedy any or all of the deficiencies listed herein, BUYER shall have seventy-two (72) hours from the date of the
- Seller Response to Property Inspection, or from the date that such response was due, whichever is earlier, to (a) accept the Seller
- Response to Property Inspection or (b) accept the Property in its current condition, or (c) terminate the Residential Agreement to Buy and Sell. BUYER response shall be made on the Buyer Final Response form.
14. After Inspection
After the buyer and seller have agreed on the inspection response, our team will send your contract over to the Title attorney to run abstract and the Lender to order the appraisal. If you do not have a title attorney, we have several preferred title companies to choose from.
15. Get your loan approved.
Remember back when you were pre-approved? Pat yourself on the back. Now you just have to finish things up by making it official. Let your lender know you’ve found a house. The lender will order an appraisal and give you a bunch of paperwork to fill out. Your loan now goes through the underwriting process before it’s finally approved.
16. Wait for the appraisal.
One of the ways your lender makes sure you and your house are a good bet is with a home appraisal. This is when someone does a professional evaluation of how much your home is worth. If the appraisal ends up higher than your offer, go celebrate. If it’s not, you may either have to make a larger down payment, get a second opinion, or renegotiate the price. Or you may decide to walk away from the deal.
17. Closing Day.
This is the day you get your house keys—but first, you have some serious paperwork to do. You’ll set an appointment for closing on your house, and you’ll need to bring your driver’s license, a cashier’s check for your down payment and closing costs (which range from 2 to 5 percent of the home’s purchase price) — and a lot of patience. You will sign and initial dozens of papers.
But at the end of this meeting, you will be a homeowner. You can take your keys and go home.