You’ve decided it’s time to move. You have researched the Web, read the paper and talked with friends who have bought recently but still have a few questions about how the process works these days.
The first step: The first thing to do is to sit down with a Realtor to fully discuss the buying process. At this meeting, we discuss agency (forms of representation), down payment, interest rates, time frame, transportation, neighborhoods, condos vs. single family homes, what you need, want and would love to have. We discuss the current market and the art of compromising. We discuss what you expect of us and what we expect of you. We also do our very best to address your concerns. For example, if you already own your home, you could have concurrent settlements where you sell and buy at the same time. It's an open forum and we welcome any and all questions. Come with a list of them if you want!
Contact a lender: At our meeting, we recommend a couple of lenders with whom to speak. If you have already been pre-approved, you are ahead of the game! If not, you have a brief conversation with them and they pre-approve you for an amount you understand and agree to. This amount is based on your credit score, your salary, your savings and - most importantly - what you feel most comfortable paying each month.
Go out looking: With that pre-approval amount in mind, we set up a home-search plan. We zero in on neighborhoods and what exactly you want in a home. It's a process. Some buyers fall in love and buy the first home they walk in to (no joke) while others need to go out a few times until they find the place. We go at your pace and help move you in the direction best for you. Buyers purchase comparatively so most people need to see various homes in various places to understand what their dollar will buy them and how that matches up with their wish list.
The offer: Once you have found the place, we go over the micro-market around this particular home (because they are all different), the comparables and discuss what would be the best offer. We then draft that offer together. All in all, it's about 40 pages long. The first time you do this usually takes about 2 hours. We present your offer to the seller and listing agent and negotiate the best terms possible. We love to negotiate. You won't sleep that night. No buyer ever does. You are a mix of nauseated and excited. After you and the seller have agreed to the terms, we officially ratify the contract. Everyone is now excited. The clock starts ticking on all your contingencies.
Pre-settlement: We manage the contingencies for you. We help set up and conduct the home inspection, appraisal, termite inspection, etc. All terms and repairs (if any) are negotiated. At this time you also work closely with your lender to get full loan approval. The title company at this time is doing the title search and processing paper work. Everyone is working together to get you and the seller successfully to settlement. This period is normally 1-2 months long.
Settlement: This is your day! You bring a certified check (or wire funds) and photo ID to settlement (also called "closing"). You sign a bunch of loan documents and after about an hour - you are a homeowner. You get the keys and can officially move in and celebrate.
Post-settlement: We are here for you forever after. You have a question - call us. You need a repairman - call us. You want to show off your decorating to someone - call us.