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Steps to Buying a Home

Step 1: See what you Qualify for

Before you start house hunting, it’s a good idea to call a mortgage professional to see what you qualify to purchase. The mortgage application is the true first step in the home buying process. With the aid of a mortgage professional, you will complete a no obligation application and discuss possible loan options, cash necessary to close and payment amounts. This will help you determine what you are comfortable spending, and what you can expect the costs to purchase to be.

Step 2: Join your Geri Westfall Real Estate Agent and begin looking for the right home

Make a mental list of the things you want to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need and get an idea of how much space you desire. Once you've made a list of your must-haves’, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Consider your safety concerns as well as the rate of home appreciation in the area. Be sure to share all your ideas, thoughts and wants with your agent. That is the best way for him or her to find you the perfect home!

Step 3: Make an Offer on the Home

Now that you've found the home you want to buy, you must make an offer! Often sellers price their homes a little bit high, expecting that there will be some negotiation involved. It is best to look at the recent sales in the area, as well as what else you can currently buy for the same money, then work with your agent to come up with a good offer. The seller may make a counteroffer to your initial offer, which you can also counter-offer. Hopefully, you will eventually meet in the middle. Once you've agreed on a price, you'll need to make an earnest money deposit, which is money that goes in escrow to give the seller a sign of good faith. This is applied to your balance due at closing.

Step 4: Get the Right Mortgage for Your Situation

There are many different types of mortgage programs out there and we don’t pretend, as Realtors, to be experts. Please consult your mortgage professional to make the right choice for your situation! A good mortgage professional will be able to tell you which program is best for you, and why. Once you have an accepted offer on the home of your dreams, you will need to make formal application with your lender and provide whatever documentation is necessary to complete your loan. Be sure you talk to your mortgage professional to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing. This way, there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, inspection fees, appraisal fees, survey fees, lender fees & title fees.

Step 5: Inspect your Home

Make sure you get a good home inspection during the inspection period! It will be well-worth the money spent since it ensures the property's structural soundness and good condition. If your home is 30 years or older, you will likely need a 4-point inspection to obtain insurance. Ask your real estate professional about whether you would benefit from a wind mitigation inspection, as well. Discuss the results of all your inspections with your agent to make sure that the condition is acceptable to you. 

Step 6: Shop for Homeowner’s Insurance

Depending on the age of your home, you may need a 4-point inspection to obtain good insurance. Many homes will also benefit from a wind mitigation report. Ask your real estate agent for a few referrals to local reputable homeowners insurance companies. Once you obtain an acceptable homeowner’s insurance quote, call the insurance agent to bind your coverage, and send that binder to your lender.

Step 7: Set up a final walk through and closing

Twenty-four hours or so prior to closing, get with your real estate agent to do a walk-through of your new home. This is to make sure that your new home was left in acceptable condition, and that all items that were supposed to be left with the home are present. Once you have successfully completed your walk through, coordinate a closing time with your agent and the title company. This is the time for celebration! You are almost there!

Step 8: Move In!

You've got your mortgage, closed the deal and now it's time to move in! Whether you use a mover or not is up to you, depending on your financial situation and how much stuff you must move; perhaps also, whether you have a lot of friends willing to help you move. Either way, you're done with the home buying process. It is time to start enjoying your new home! Buying a home doesn't have to be a hassle if you have the right people behind you. Choosing an experienced home loan lender and a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent is the key to helping you have a smooth home buying experience!