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2012-03-16 15:30:31
The 13 Steps of the Home Buying Process

Let's take the mystery out of this process – Good idea? Family moving into new home

Here are 13 simple steps.

(Keep reading and I will go over each step in detail). 

Step 1 – Initial consultation to determine your goals and expectations, decide whether or not it is wise for you to buy now, and see if it is a “good fit” to work together.
Step 2 - Get pre-approved for your loan.
Step 3 - Identify what kind of homes you like (including areas).
Step 4 - Use the “Free HomeFinder Service” to search for homes.
Step 5 - Drive past homes that interest you.
Step 6 - Call, email or text me to see the inside of homes you like.
Step 7 - Decide which home you want to buy.
Step 8 - Together, we write the offer. I present it to the seller’s agent.
Step 9 - Once the offer is accepted, we set up the home inspection.
Step 10 – If there are problems with the home, I negotiate with seller.
Step 11 – Your home loan consultant and I take care of all the “behind-the-scenes” work to get you through the process and to the closing table.
Step 12 – We meet at the title company.  You bring in your down-payment, and sign all the lender documents.
Step 13 – Once the lender has funded your loan and the title company has recorded the necessary documents with the county, you are officially a “happy homeowner.” Yea!

The first step is to meet with the mortgage company to be pre-approved for your loan (unless you are paying all cash). This first step is very important for several reasons, and this is one of the things we accomplish at our first meeting.  In fact, at our first meeting, our loan officer will meet with us as well.  Our goal is that when you are done meeting with us, that you feel much better -- and much more knowledgeable -- about the process.

Once you are pre-approved, you can shop for your new home in confidence, knowing that you won’t have any problems getting the loan.

Many buyers who skip this step and just go out house hunting are unsure and nervous when they find a home that they like, because they don’t really know for sure if they will be approved for the loan.  It's also important so that you stay in your comfort level.  For example, if you don't want to pay more than x dollars per month, then we will work that backwards to determine what price range you should be shopping in.

Loan underwriters have specific rules and guidelines they must follow. Many would-be homebuyers have been dismayed and disappointed to find out 2-3 weeks after they enter a contract that the lender has turned them down.


Please realize that one of the biggest fears a home seller has is that they will enter a contract with a buyer, prepare to move, and then find out that the buyer didn’t qualify.

When you get pre-approved first, I will obtain a letter from the loan company stating the amount that you are approved for. When shown to a seller, the letter makes the seller feel more comfortable, and will add more power for us in negotiations. Many of the best homes can have several offers on them at the same time from different buyers. Often, the buyer that can show that they are already approved for their loan will get the house.

The bottom line is that getting pre-approved for your loan first means stress-free home shopping AND more leverage with the seller!

Please remember that I represent you, not the seller. I am looking out for your interests. The most common way for me to be paid is a commission from the seller’s proceeds at closing. That means that you do not pay me -- I am free to you. 

The next step is to determine the features and benefits that you are looking for in a home. I will review items such as:

PRICE RANGE
AREA
STYLE
SIZE
NUMBER OF BEDROOMS
NUMBER OF BATHROOMS
GARAGE
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS, ETC.

I will set you up on my “Free HomeFinder Service” that allows you to search the entire list of homes for sale in the area, no matter which real estate company has the home listed! This is a very fun program to use.  And it is absolutely the best way to keep up with new listings in your price range; this database is updated several times a day - every business day, unlike the newspaper, or even most real estate websites.

A common question from buyers is, “Do we have to buy a home that is listed with your real estate company?”

Many people are surprised to find out that the answer is NO! As your BUYER AGENT, I will represent you no matter which company has the home listed for sale. It’s not important to me if it’s a home listed with our company. In fact, it’s extremely common for two real estate companies to be involved. One company represents the seller, and the other company represents the buyer.

This is why my “Free HomeFinder Service” sends you listings from ALL real estate companies in our area. You can then drive by these homes at your convenience and at your own pace to determine neighborhoods you like best and which homes you want to see the inside of.

Simply make a list of the homes that interest you most, and I will then make the necessary arrangements and take you to see them.

Many agents will just throw you into their car and drag you through a bunch of houses – many of which you won't be interested in. I respect the value of your time, and only want you to view the homes that YOU want to see!

Once we find the home that best meets your needs, I will write up the purchase agreement and other necessary paperwork. My goal is to get you the home that you want for the best possible price and terms, and we will discuss strategy for accomplishing this goal.

I strongly feel that all buyers should write their offer subject to a “home inspection.” This means that you have “tied up” the home, so that no one else can buy it, but that if there are any major problems, we will negotiate those with the seller. If the seller refuses to negotiate those problems to your satisfaction, we can terminate the transaction and find a better home.

Also, when I write an offer for my buyer clients, I also always have the SELLER pay for a home warranty for you, which is different from a home inspection.  It's free to you.  I want to look out for my clients; I want to make sure that if something goes wrong later on with your home, you'll be covered.  In general, a home warranty lasts 1 year, and most things that can go wrong with your home would be covered under it.  This is just one more way I look out for my clients.

A day or so prior to closing I will conduct a “walk-through” inspection with you to make certain that all items specified to stay with the home are still there, and to verify that the home is still in the same condition as it was when you wrote the offer.

There are many different forms and papers involved in the home buying process, and I know that can be a little scary to some people. If you take nothing else away from our first meeting, please know that I am here to help you, and that I will guide you every step of the way.

The average time from getting the contract accepted to closing is about 30 days, although shorter or longer closings can be negotiated. Every transaction is unique, so I will monitor all of the details very closely; keeping you informed every step of the way.

Remember that I am here to help you. If you are concerned or confused at any time, let me know immediately. There is no such thing as a stupid question when you are dealing with a large investment like this!

To review, the steps in the home buying process are:

Step 1 – Initial consultation to determine your goals and expectations, decide whether or not it is wise for you to buy now, and see if it is a “good fit” to work together.
Step 2 - Get pre-approved for your loan.
Step 3 - Identify what kind of homes you like (including areas).
Step 4 - Use the “Free HomeFinder Service” to search for homes.
Step 5 - Drive past homes that interest you.
Step 6 - Call or email me to see the inside of homes you like.
Step 7 - Decide which home you want to buy.
Step 8 - Together, we write the offer. I present it to the seller’s agent.
Step 9 - Once the offer is accepted, set up the home inspection.
Step 10 – If there are problems with the home, I negotiate with seller.
Step 11 – Your home loan consultant and I take care of all the “behind-the-scenes” work to get you through the process and to the closing table.
Step 12We meet at the title company.  You bring in your down-payment, and sign all the lender documents.
Step 13 – Once the lender has funded your loan and the title company has recorded the necessary documents with the county, you are officially a “happy homeowner.” Yea!

Again, please remember that I will guide you every step of the way. I am here to help you. Don’t hesitate to call me any time you have a question or concern. And remember: whether you are buying next week, or next year, you will get no “sales pressure” from me. I’ll be here when you’re ready!

I look forward to working with you, and seeing you settled into your new home!

--Randy Smith
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