Do You Know the Way?

Fear of the unknown is common among all ages. Kids, at night imagine monsters in their closets or under their beds and adults are unsure of what the future might bring.

It may be natural for first-time buyers to be unsure of the process because they haven’t been through it before, but even repeat buyers need to know changes that have taken place since the financial housing crisis.

The steps in the home buying process are very predictable and generally follow the same pattern every time. It certainly makes the move stay on schedule when you know all the different things that must be done to get to the closing.

  • In the initial interview with your real estate professional you share the things you want and need in a home, the time-frame within which you want to move and your essential motivation for making it, and you discuss available financing and learn how your agent can represent you in the transaction.
  • The pre-approval step is essential for anyone using a mortgage to purchase a home to assure that they’re looking at the right price of homes and so they’ll know the price range they can qualify for and what the interest rate will be. And because the Seller will expect a written financing pre-approval to be submitted along with the purchase offer.
  • Even with lower than normal inventory, it is difficult to stay up-to-date with the homes currently for sale and those brand new on the market. Technology has simplified this process, but the buyer needs to implement them and recognize that all online consumer portals have varying degrees of inaccurate information.
  • Showings can be accommodated online through virtual tours, drive-bys and finally, a personal tour through the home. Your real estate professional can work with you to see all the homes in the market available through other REALTORS®, builders or for sale by owners.
  • When a home has been identified, an offer is written and submitted on a contract form and negotiation over price, terms and contingencies stakes place.
  • A contract is a fully negotiated, completely signed and initialed final agreement.
  • Escrow is opened to deposit the earnest money from the buyer as a sign they’re acting in good faith. The title search is also started so that clear title can be conveyed from the seller to the buyer and so that the lender will have a valid lien on the property.
  • 88% of home sales involve a mortgage. The lender will require an appraisal to be sure that the home can serve as partial collateral for the loan. If the buyer has been pre-approved, the verifications will be updated to be certain that they’re still valid. The entire loan package when completed, is sent to underwriting for final approval.
  • As soon as the contract is agreed upon, at the same time the title search and mortgage approval are being worked on, the buyer and buyer’s agent will arrange for any inspections that were called for in the contract.
  • After all contingencies have been satisfied and the buyer’s lender’s verification processes and underwriter requirements have been met , the parties to the contract (and typically their respective agents) go to closing where all required documents are signed (the bulk of which are provided to the settlement agent by the buyer’s lender), and the balance of the buyer’s money is paid. This is the time and place when title actually transfers from the seller to the buyer.
  • Possession occurs according to the sales contract. Most commonly the house keys are delivered by sellers to buyers upon completion of the closing.

One of the responsibilities of your real estate professional is to make sure that things are done in the appropriate sequence and on schedule so that the transaction will close according to the agreement as planned and without avoidable or unnecessary problems.

Even if you’re not ready to buy or start looking yet, assembling your team of professionals comfortably in advance of the need for them is wise. Let me know and I’ll send you my recommendations, so you can read about them on their websites and/or contact them (or me) with any questions it prompts.

You may want to download this Buyers Guide and call me at (316) 337-5154; I’m happy to help, it’s what I’m here for. Well-informed buyers lead to satisfied homeowners, more involved citizens and sounder communities. And that is better for everyone concerned.

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