Buying a home is a big step in your life. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve owned several homes, it can be intimidating to get started. The market is constantly changing, as are the numerous contracts and legalities involved in the real estate field. Working with a REALTOR® you trust will alleviate most of the hassles in the process.
But how do you get that process started? Just follow these steps:
1. Educate yourself. First-time home buyers should attend an approved HomeStretch class that will qualify them to take advantage of many programs available to them. HomeStretch classes cover everything from cleaning up your credit to maintaining your new home and will pay you back in dividends for a very small fee. Or, attend one of Edina’s Free Home Seminars to get valuable home buying tips, information on the current housing market and financial advice.
2. Figure out how much home you can afford. Before you go out looking for a home, you can get an idea of what you can afford by using our Finance Center Tools.
Another thing to consider is your down payment amount. Think you can’t buy a house without a 10% or 20% down payment? Thanks to more lenient government guidelines and new mortgage products, many people can now get into a house for as little as 3% down-or less. There are even some special programs for first-time buyers that help with closing costs.
3. Conduct a preliminary search with the Property Finder. You may even want to save some of your searches and schedule home showings online.
4. Get pre-approved. You will nearly always need a letter of mortgage pre-approval for your offers to be accepted. Waiting until you want to write an offer could cause you to lose out on a deal. Apply Online or contact a trusted mortgage consultant of your choice. I am happy to offer recommendations based on your needs.
5. Find your home. Once you are under a buyer’s contract with me, you no longer have to wait for open houses or make appointments with the listing agents. We can see the houses privately and on your own schedule. Remember that under a buyer’s contract, your obligation is to work with one agent. Buyer agent’s commissions are generally paid by the listing agent. Private showings and a professional negotiator working on my behalf – with no cost to me? Yes, please!
6. Make an offer. Once you find the home that you want to make an offer on, you’ll sign a purchase agreement and give the seller earnest money to seal the deal. If your offer is accepted (sometimes with contingencies), determine a date you wish to close.
8. Notify your mortgage consultant that you’ve found a property so they can begin the appraisal and title process. And, lock in your interest rate. Your mortgage consultant will send you a new good faith estimate which shows your monthly mortgage payment as well as your estimated cash needed for closing. Edina Realty Title will notify you of the time and date you close on your home and the items you’ll need to bring to closing.
9. Notify your phone company, utilities (don’t forget water and sewer), moving company, post office, newspaper and magazines, friends and family (see our moving checklist) and change your mailing address.
10. Move into your new home!