Buying a home is not something you do every day, so most buyers will benefit from a basic overview. An introduction to the process is even more important for first-time home buyers who don't have the benefit of previous experience. While every situation is different and the process can vary from locality to locality and state to state.
Regardless of anything else though, there are still only five basic steps to buying a home:
Hire an Agent
While you are under no obligation to hire a buyer's agent, it is wise to do so. After all, you wouldn't try to fix your own car engine if you have no experience in doing that. Besides, doing so will save you time. Here's why:
Agents often know of new listings coming up that are not yet on the market.
Some agents will preview homes for you.
An agent can generally spot overpriced listings and advise you accordingly.
A good agent will also guide you through the entire process from start to finish relieving a great deal of stress.
Find a Home to Buy
Buying a home can be an overwhelming process and emotionally draining. Finding the right home is not always an easy task. Schedule a maximum of five homes a day to tour because any more than that will make any buyer's head spin.
Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home. Buyers spend an average of six to eight weeks, according to the National Association of REALTORS, trying to figure out where they want to live. Once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after two or three home tours. Again hiring a buyer's agent will help to make this process much smoother.
Also, beware of new builds. Builders will always try to have you work directly with them instead of being represented by your own agent. This is like representing yourself in a criminal trial. The builder does not have your best interest in mind. Their interest is in selling the homes they are building. Having your own real estate agent to represent you with the builder will save you many headaches.
Get a Loan
It's not always necessary to have a mortgage broker or bank in your back pocket before buying a home, but it's smarter to get loan pre-approval in advance. This way you know for certain how much home to buy. Many sellers won't look at an offer if the seller doesn't have an assurance that the buyer can get a loan.
Popular first-time buyer loans are FHA loans because the minimum down payment requirement is much less than a conventional loan. However, if you are thinking about buying foreclosures, for example, conventional buyers tend to get priority with REO banks.
Negotiate the Offer
Buyers sometimes make the mistake of comparing the sales price of a home to other homes they have seen. It's a mistake to compare sales prices among homes for sale. That's because sellers can ask any price they want. It doesn't mean the home will sell at that price.
An agent can provide comparable sales and examine the pending sales. Comparable sales are similar home types in the same condition and location that have sold within the past three months. Pending sales will become the comparable sales by the time your home closes.
You may need to pay over list price in a seller's market, especially if many buyers are vying for the same inventory. Your agent can give you a reasonable price range and help to manage your expectations. A good buyer's agent knows there is always more to an offer than its price, but the price is paramount.
Do a Home Inspection
In some states, a home inspection is conducted before buyers make a purchase offer. In other states, a home inspection is a contract contingency. A contract contingency means a buyer has the right to cancel the contract. You might not want to be locked into buying a home that has a faulty foundation, for example.
Sellers are generally not required to make repairs if problems are discovered during a home inspection. A home inspection is for the buyer's edification. However, sometimes when a buyer gives a Request for Repair to the seller, rather than blow the deal, the seller will often agree to repair.
Your agent can help you arrange the home inspection and guide you through this process as well.
When you are ready to start your search for a new home, please give us a call at Team Emanuele Real Estate. With years of experience and the most professional customer service in the industry, we will guide you through every step of the process. Call or text us today at 702-475-6473.