7 stages to buying a home
- You have gone through an extensive financial background check.
- A lender is willing to do business with you.
- The likelihood of unexpected obstacles regarding financing is minimal.
Now you are ready to embark on your home search — an endeavor that can prove overwhelming if not approached with some forethought. The most efficient route is to allow your real estate agent to do the initial scouting for you. Using your wish list as a guide, he or she will alert you of new and existing listings that have strong potential. If these listings pique your interest, your agent will arrange home tours at your convenience. Many agents send alerts via email — sometimes as often as daily, depending on the available inventory in your market. Let your agent know how you’d like to receive these alerts, whether by phone, email or fax.
You also can do some research on your own. Read local real estate publications, contact your local neighborhood associations, visit the local chamber of commerce, surf the Internet, or drive around your favorite neighborhoods. While these methods certainly can lead to your dream home, it’s important to note that 82 percent of home sales are the result of agent connections.* That means it’s more likely your agent will find your dream home through being in the real estate business than you driving around on the weekends.
* National Association of REALTORS®
Some items you may negotiate:
- Closing costs
- Move-in date
- Appliances and fixtures
Remain in close contact with your real estate agent so you can quickly review any changes from the seller. Remember: Bargaining is not a winner-take-all deal. It is a business process that involves compromise and mutual respect.
- Conduct a home inspection.
- Get an appraisal and finalize your financing.
- Secure title insurance.
- Shop for a home warranty.
Having these procedures done in a timely and professional manner is a must, as any delays could threaten a successful closing. A first-rate real estate agent should be able to serve as your “one-stop shopping” referral source for service providers. Your agent also should serve as your advocate, helping to coordinate activities and making sure the vendors have access to the property to perform their jobs.
In advance of your closing date (24 hours at minimum), your lender will send a final closing statement that outlines your closing costs, if applicable. Your real estate agent will review this document with you to ensure its accuracy, as well as help you gather any necessary documentation that you’ll need to bring to closing.