Buying a home is likely to be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your life. The guide below offers insight on the process and advice to help you avoid costly mistakes.
1. Educate yourself and have an idea of what you are looking for
Make a wishlist of what you think your dream home is. This may change as you start getting deeper into the homebuying process, but start to list out neighborhoods, amenities and features that interest you.
One of the most important steps in the home buying process is figuring out what your budget is and how much you are comfortable spending. You should purchase a home not based on what a bank says you can afford, but rather what you are comfortable spending each month. Check out our mortgage calculator to figure out monthly payments of a home mortgage loan, based on the home's sale price, the term of the loan desired, buyer's down payment percentage and the loan's interest rate.
2. Meet with Your Buyer’s Agent
Unlike working directly with a listing agent who is obligated to look out for the seller’s interests, a buyer’s agent will look out for your best interests, do all the legwork for you, and negotiate the best price for you. Finding the right buyer’s agent is an important step in the process. A good buyer’s agent will want to find you the right home and won’t try to push you into buying a home you aren’t sure about. You can learn more about Santa Fe Properties broker’s on our Find a Broker page, or contact our Relocation Department.
When you find a buyer’s agent that you are comfortable with, schedule a meeting and be ready with any questions you might have. This is also your opportunity to discuss in detail what type of home you’re looking for, your price range, and which town or towns you’re interested in moving to. Your agent will probably have some suggestions based on your criteria and you may have already begun searching for homes online which you can go over with the agent as well. After you discuss some of your preferences, your agent can begin some more thorough research on what’s on the market.
3. Pre-Approval Process
Unless you are purchasing your home with cash, you will need to get pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved helps you find out how much a lender will give you, at what rate, and what the terms would be. This way you know your budget and won’t waste time looking at homes that are out of your price range. The mortgage broker will pull your credit report, review your tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs to get everything in order. So be prepared to provide all of these.
4. Property Search and Viewings
This is where the fun begins! You and your buyer’s agent will begin searching for properties based on your criteria and scheduling showings. Using santafeproperties.com allows you to create and save searches based on your criteria, alerting you and your buyer’s agent when new properties within your search parameters come on the market. Homes are coming on the market each day, so the right home is definitely out there for you. And once you find the right home, don’t wait to view it! Have your agent show you the home as soon as possible and be ready to make an offer. When you see a home you love, act fast. You don’t want to be outbid and have to start your search all over again.
5. Make an Offer
Once you find the right home your buyer’s agent will submit an offer on your behalf. Since our buyer’s agents know how to negotiate, they will work to get you the best deal. Keep in mind that contract negotiations are not limited to price, they also include timing, contingencies, and much more.
6. Earnest Money
In order to secure the home and show that you are earnestly trying to complete the purchase, you will most likely need to submit earnest money. Earnest money can be a percentage of the offered sale price and goes directly toward your down payment. If earnest money is required and the amount is determined by the buyer and the seller.
7. Get a Home Inspection
Once your offer is accepted it is time to schedule the appropriate inspections on the property. We highly recommend buyers spend the money on a home inspection. The report alone is very much worth the cost. Some inspectors do uncover some major issues that the seller may need to address. This is also a good time to have your home tested for Radon. Remember, most issues can be worked out in some form or fashion and your agent can advise you on what to do.
8. Objections, Waivers and Resolutions
Now that your inspections are complete an objections, waivers and resolutions agreement will be made, outlining what you want the seller to fix or repair in the home before closing. This agreement is solely to outline what errors were found in the inspection report. This is negotiable and may not always be required in the purchase of a property.
Before closing, you should have your agent arrange a walk-through of the home to make sure nothing has changed in the property since the purchase and sale agreement was signed. The “walk-through” is usually done the day before or day of closing. During the actual closing, deeds, loan papers, and other documents are prepared, signed and filed with the registry. You will need to bring your driver’s license or another form of ID. Once all the paperwork is signed and filed you are a homeowner!
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