EIGHT STEPS TO BUYING YOUR HOME1. Decide to buy.
Although there are many good reasons for you to buy a home, wealth building ranks among the top of the list. We call home ownership the best “accidental investment” most people ever make. But, we believe when it is done right, home ownership becomes an “intentional investment” that lays the foundation for a life of financial security and personal choice. There are solid financial reasons to support your decision to buy a home, and, among these, equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits stand out.
Base your decision to buy on facts, not fears.
- If you are paying rent, you very likely can afford to buy
- There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. All you need to do in the short run is find a good buy and make sure you have the financial ability to hold it for the long run
- The lack of a substantial down payment doesn’t prevent you from making your first home purchase
- A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily stop you from buying a home
- The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now
- Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated – there are many professionals who will help you along the way
When you're looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, good agents put their clients first. This is your dream, and your agent is your advocate to help you make your dream come true.
A great real estate agent will:
Seven main roles of your real estate agent
A Buyer’s Real Estate Agent:
- Educate you about the current conditions of the market.
- Analyze what you want and what you need in your next home.
- Co-ordinate the work of other needed professionals 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 and deadlines.
- Inform and discuss with you, and suggest solutions to solve any problems that may arise.
To make the financing process as painless as possible, ask your agent to introduce you to the preferred financing consultant. This professional will work with you and your agent 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.
- Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal - price, interest rates, loan approval.
- Keep you informed and updated of the entire financial process throughout your purchase.
From start to finish, you will follow a six-step, easy-to-understand process to securing the financing for your first home.
Six steps to Financing a Home
- Choose a loan officer (or mortgage specialist).
- Make a loan application and get pre-approved.
- Determine what you want to pay and select a loan option.
- Submit to the lender an accepted purchase offer contract.
- Get an appraisal and title commitment.
- Obtain funding at closing.
So you've met with your trusted advisors, 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. Your Keller Williams agent 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?
5. Make an offer.
When searching for your dream home, you were just that-a dreamer. Now that you’re writing an offer, you need to be a businessperson. You need to approach this process with a cool head and a realistic perspective of your market. The three basic components of an offer are price, terms, and contingencies (or “conditions” in Canada).
Price-the right price to offer must fairly reflect the true market value of the home you want to buy. Your agent’s market research will guide this decision.
Terms-the other financial and timing factors that will be included in the offer.
Terms fall under six basic categories in a real estate offer:
- Schedule-a schedule of events that has to happen before closing.
- Conveyances-the items that stay with the house when the sellers leave.
- Commission-the real estate commission or fee, for both the agent who works with the seller and the agents who works with the buyer.
- Closing costs-it’s standard for buyers to pay their closing costs, but if you want to roll the costs into the loan, you need to write that into the contract.
- Home warranty-this covers repairs or replacement of appliances and major systems. You may ask the seller to pay for this.
- Earnest money-this protects the sellers from the possibility of your unexpectedly pulling of the deal and makes a statement about the seriousness of your offer.
Unlike most major purchases, once you buy a home, you can’t return it if something breaks or doesn’t quite work like it’s supposed to. That’s why home owner’s insurance and property inspections are so important.
A home owner’s insurance policy protects you in two ways:
- Against loss or damage to the property itself
- liability in case someone sustains an injury while on your property
- Your major concern is structural damage.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things that are easily fixed can be overlooked.
- If you have a big problem show up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist. If the worst-case scenario turns out to be true, you might want to walk away from the purchase.
The final stage of the home buying process is the lender’s confirmation of the home’s worth and legal statue, and your continued credit-worthiness. This entails a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final check of your credit and finance. Your agent will keep you posted on how each if progressing, but your work is pretty much done.
You just have a few pre-closing responsibilities:
- Stay in control of your finances.
- Return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.
- Communicate with your agent at least once a week.
- Several days before closing, confirm with your agent that all your documentation is in place and in order.
- Obtain certified funds for closing.
- Conduct a final walk-through.
- Finalize your mortgage.
- Pay the seller.
- Pay your closing costs.
- Transfer the title from the seller to you.
- Make arrangements to legally record the transaction as a public record.
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.
And remember, just because the sale is complete, your relationship with your Keller Williams agent doesn't need to end! After you buy, your agent can still help you - providing information on the real estate market, finding contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home's current value.
Even after you close on your house, you agent can still help you:
- Handle your first tax return as a home owner.
- Find contractors to help with home maintenance or remodeling.
- Help your friends find homes.
- Keep track of your home’s current market value.
Home maintenance falls into two categories:
- Keeping it clean: Perform routine maintenance on your home’s systems, depending on their age and style.
- Keeping an eye on it: Watch for signs of leaks, damage, and wear. Fixing small problems early can save you big money later.