I realized when I was young that there are stages of freedom in our lives. You just don’t realize them until you experience them. The first one is when we get our first bicycle. No training wheels and the freedom to ride to your friends house or the park on your own. The second is when you move out and get your own place. Apartment or dorm room it doesn’t matter its your own. The third is when you get your own washer and dryer. I’m talking about under the same roof. The forth is when you own Real Estate. You are the king of your castle. My Goal is to lay out the steps involved in buying a house, and for you to have a better understanding of what takes place and why.
- The first step in the home buying process is to speak with a mortgage lender . You want to be pre-approved before you start to look. I always recommend talking with a few lenders. You will find a difference in closing cost and interest rates. You also may find that you feel more comfortable working with one lender over the other. The lender will give you a pre-approval letter. The pre-approval process will give you the price range that you need to stay within when searching for your next home. It will also be submitted with an offer on a house.
- Let the home search began. You have access to plenty of sites like msgulfcoasthomes.com, Zillow or Realtor.com where you can search for homes on your own. These sites all have the same information, there is no need to jump from site to site. The best advice I can give you is to talk with your Realtor. (list of great Realtors) Face to face is best. Tell them the specifics of what you are looking for, be detailed. It will make the home search go much smother for you. Remember your Realtor is on your side. They are not going to try and sell you something you don’t want or cant afford. Communication is key here
- So you have found your dream home. Get insurance quotes. Your insurance agent will give a quote and let you know if flood insurance is required. I will provide you with the property tax information. Now you meet back with the lender with the insurance quote and tax information on the home you have found. Your lender will go over what your down payment will be (if any, need a loan with 0 down?), what the expected closing costs and pre-pays (taxes and insurance) will be needed at the closing.
- Now we write the offer. The seller can accept the offer as is, counter your offer or reject the offer. If the offer is countered then we negotiate with the seller until we reach an agreement.
- When the offer is accepted, you are under contract. The earnest deposit (normally 1% of the sales price) has to be turned in with in 24 hours of the accepted offer. It is usually held with the closing attorney’s office. I send a copy of the contract to your lender and the closing attorney so they can began working on the loan and title work. Ones you are in a contract you cannot back out unless there is a contingency to protect you. Some contingencies are built into the contract. The ability to get the loan, a home inspection that meets your satisfaction and the home appraising. We can add special contingencies if needed to the contract. I want to protect the buyer as needed for any special circumstances.
- Home Inspection needs to be completed with in the first 10 days of an accepted contract. We can recommend Home inspectors, but it is up to you to choose, schedule and pay for the home inspector. They normally cost between 350 and 550 depending on the size of the house. I always recommend to clients to try and be there for at least the last hour of the home inspection. You should get a detailed report from the inspection, but it is always best to have first hand knowledge of any issues there may be with the home.
- Inspection contingency If you are satisfied with the inspection results then we release the home inspection contingency and move on. If there are repairs that we are requesting then we document those items with photos asking for the seller to repair or replace those items. If the seller does not agree to do the repairs then you have the option to walk away and get your earnest money back or agree to move forward with the house the way it is. If they agree to fix the items then you are still bound to the contract.
- The appraisal is the next step in the home buying process.
- What is an appraisal? It is an unbiased estimate of the true value of what the home is worth. Lenders order an appraisal during the mortgage process. It is an objective way to assess the home’s market value. The bank must make sure that the amount of money you are borrowing is not more than the house is worth. Your lender will order the appraisal, it normally cost around $450 your lender can give you an exact cost. This is normally and up front cost, but sometimes it is added to the loan. If the house appraises at the contract price or above then all is good and we keep moving on. If the appraisal is lower than the contract price then we ask the seller to lower the price to the appraised value. If the seller does not agree to lower the price you can pay the difference out of pocket, or walk away from the contract.
- The termite inspection (Wood Destroying Inspect Report) WDIR is done at this point. This can be a buyer or sellers expense. It is written in the offer who pays for it. If the report shows no active termites or other wood destroying insects and there is no wood damage you will receive a clear report. If there are issues the house will have to be treated and repaired at the sellers expense. You have the opportunity to back out of the contract if active insects are found.
- Your loan will move to Underwriting you are almost done. The Underwriters will make sure everything is correct. (income, debt, appraisal, required repairs, WDIR). They may ask for more documents from you at this point. You will want to get them to your lender quickly. It is also very important that when you go under contract to purchase a home you don’t make any changes to your income or debt during this time. Don’t change or quite your job, buy a new car or add debt to your credit cards. They will check for these things.
- Closing Disclosure 3 day rule. You will receive Closing Documents from your lender 72 hours before closing. They contain details of the mortgage fees and other costs to get your mortgage. You sign these and send them back.
- Final walk through (normally 24 hours before closing) I will schedule a time for us to walk through the house. We are checking to make sure the property is in the same condition it was when we entered the contract, any repairs requested have been completed and the property meets the terms of the contract.
- The closing day is normally scheduled at this point, all people on the loan will need to be there to sign. If you are bringing money to the closing it needs to be certified funds made out to the attorney or title company. You will also need your I.D.
- Congratulations you are done! You are a new home owner. There is a lot of steps to buying a house but it really is not difficult. There are a lot of moving parts going on that your Realtor, Mortgage lender and closing attorney are taking care of or guiding you through. I would say its time to relax, but you have furniture to move.
More information for First Time Home Buyers
Morgan Young and Kristy Young are both licensed Realtors with NextHome HomeFront on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. If you are still reading at this point you must be in the market for a new home. Give them a call, they will be glad to help. 228-239-0371