Have you ever considered buying a home? At first thought it sounds like a small process - 1) House Hunt > 2) Contact Bank > 3) Close & Move Into Home. Well I'm here to tell you it is a longer and sometimes more stressful process than 1, 2, 3. Let me explain the entire home buying process from my perspective as a current home buyer.
The Home-Buying Process:
- Contact Your Lender for Pre-Qualification. Most real estate professionals require all their buyers to be pre-qualified prior to opening any doors. Sellers expect buyers to be pre-qualified when their home is shown and the most serious folks enter their home. Most purchase agreements have a requirement date of when a pre-qualified letter will be obtained. Better to have it before you get to that point than losing your buying power in the moment, this can happen during multiple offer situations.
- Let the House Hunting Begin. Once you have been pre-qualified and your lender has helped determine the price you can afford, contact a real estate professional to help narrow your search for you and resource for the entire buying process.
- Finding Your Home. You have found "the one" home. Now you write a purchase agreement, determine the amount of earnest money to "hold" the sale until close date, and negotiate with the sellers on the final acceptance of the offer. A pre-qualified bank letter needs to be presented with the purchase agreement. Without the letter, your offer may get looked over by the sellers because they may think you are not qualified or a serious buyer.
- Send Your Lender Final Contract. The lender needs several documents from you, the buyer, to prepare for the home closing. This can be a quick process or a lengthy process, dependent on several factors of the home buyers.
- Close & Move In. Make sure your hand is shape for the number of signatures and initials you will be making this day. When you write your purchase agreement, you and the seller will negotiate the date of the closing. At the closing, the title company and/or attorney will go over the final settlement statements with you. The title company and/or attorney will then file the proper paperwork with the county, city, or others after the closing.
This is the process for lender financed homes. If you are planning to purchase a home with all cash, you will need to provide a "Proof of Funds" letter before the home search begins and that will be added to the purchase agreement.
One of the best charts I have found to explain this process can be found on the Doorsteps Blog. http://blog.doorsteps.com/image/60381084950
If you have any questions on the home-buying process, please contact me and I'd be happy to answer any questions.