Finding an Agent
It’s important to find a local agent you have a good rapport with to work as your buyers agent. Having an exclusive buyers agent will help you in many ways. An experienced agent will have local knowledge of the market and its values. As a buyers agent invests in you, they learn your wants, needs and tastes and can save you time looking at homes that don’t fit you; most agents have been in the majority of homes that are for sale. A buyers agent is also a wealth of knowledge in referring experienced bankers, lawyers, and other service pros that they have had good working relationships with.
Getting Pre-qualified is the most important part of the home buying process. You may find there is a collection on your credit report (you had no idea about) or you will need more money than expected to close. It’s best to know this early on so these small hurdles can be corrected and don’t keep you from buying the home of your dreams. Usually it’s best to use local lenders familiar with area homes and practices. These local lenders are easy to reach and have a broad range of products including Conventional, FHA, USDA, VA, and Portfolio loans and will take the time to match you with the best fitting loan. Online lenders are generally not a good idea they often pre-approve people without all the required information and are more difficult to correspond with. A good local lender will have the same rates as other lenders with much better service.
When you start looking for a house your agent will e-mail you what is available for sale. Have broad search criteria in the beginning such as school district, price range, and number of bedrooms. You then will want to weed through these listing and pick the ones you are interested in. It’s sometimes best to do a drive-by before you make a showing appointment. A drive by can give you a better idea of the home and neighborhood. Once you begin to view homes concentrate on the feel and function of the home; cosmetic items such as paint and carpet can easily be changed. Don’t let the perfect house get away because you don’t like the current owners taste.
Making an offer
Your agent is there to facilitate making a purchase offer and is familiar with all the paperwork required. Ultimately it is your decision what you are willing to pay for the home and it’s the sellers decision what they are willing to sell the home for. Your agent can educate you regarding similar sales within the market, overall interest in the property, and different strategies in making an offer.
The targeted closing date on the purchase offer is just that, a date we are working towards. The closing is determined by a number of different people all working on your purchase including Attorneys, Bankers, Surveyors, Title Companies etc. Any problems along the way can change the closing date. As the closing date changes so does the amount required to close. Initially your banker gave you a good faith estimate of what will be required to close (we tell our clients to plan for at least $1000 more; it’s nice when they come in less though). You’re attorney will call you with the official closing date and time along with the exact amount required in a certified check to close. Be sure to bring proof of insurance on the home and have the utilities switched the day of closing. Finally before you close you want to meet your agent at the property to do a final walk through to make sure the sellers are out of the home and it’s in broom clean condition as it should be.