Century 21 Action! believes that an informed buyer is a more satisfied buyer. Buying a home is an important step toward financial security. As with all major financial purchases, there are missteps to avoid and there is a process to follow. With the right help, home buying can be a smooth process. Without the right help, purchasing a home can be difficult, frustrating, and unsatisfying. The helpful agents at Century 21 Action! are here to make a positive, lasting impression on all the purchases we facilitate.
Here are the six major milestones all buyers must face in the process of purchasing a home:
Step 1: Define What You Want
Start by creating a prioritized list of features you want in your next home and the reasons why. Use it as your search guide, but remember that you may need to be open to compromise depending on funding. In addition, talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live. Location is a huge part of any move. Century 21 Action!’s agents are trained to help their clients narrow down their choices by sharing market trends and local information like neighborhood statistics and community links.
Step 2: Define What You Can Afford
Now that you know what you want, it’s time to see what you can afford. You can start by crunching the numbers yourself using our selection of calculators. Click here for Mortgage Calculator. When you’re ready to move to the next step, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process can often be performed in under an hour, and it accomplishes two important goals. First, it will tell you how much house you can afford and what your monthly payments will be. Second, it tells the seller that you can afford to buy their home. By definition, a pre-approved buyer has an approved mortgage subject to an appraisal of the property. Many times a buyer can use this pre-approved status as leverage during the negotiation process.
Step 3: Shop For Homes
Once you know what community you’d like to live in and have an idea of how much house you can afford, it’s time to start viewing properties. Beginning this search online can help save time, and focus your search. Our home notifier can email you when properties come on the market that meet your search criteria. Click here for Property Search
Next, begin visiting homes in person. Ask your local helpful Century 21 Action! agent to arrange visits of homes that are in your target area and price range. When comparing homes, make sure to look at all aspects of the property. Are both the houses in substantially the same condition? Do they both have the same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms? Are both houses located on the same or similar streets? Does either house have any special easements?
Step 4: Make An Offer
Once you find the home you want, it’s time to write an offer. This can be a very difficult and trying time since both parties have totally different goals. Your Century 21 Action! agent can help you negotiate the offer. If you have any personal interaction with the homeowner, don’t give out any information about your move, your current housing status, financial status or your feelings about their property – positive or negative. This could hurt you in future negotiations.
This might also be a good time to consider purchasing a home protection plan. These insurance policies can be purchased by the buyer or seller and help protect against unexpected costs or home repairs during the listing period or in the initial years after a home has been purchased.
One of the most frequently asked questions about buying a home is related to negotiating a fair price. Buyers — especially first-time home buyers — want home buying tips, particularly about negotiating.
While some people feel uncomfortable bargaining even at a garage sale or farmer’s market, in real estate, negotiating is part of the home buying process.
Here are proven tips for becoming a successful negotiator when it comes to buying a home:
Home Buying Tip #1: Know your seller’s motivation. A seller who needs to move quickly because of a job transfer, divorce, or contract on another home is more likely to accept a lower price. In this case, the seller is motivated by closing the sale quickly.
Home Buying Tip #2: The “listing” or “asking” price is what the seller ideally would like to receive. However, it’s not necessarily what he or she will settle for.
Home Buying Tip #3: Before you make an offer, know the market value of the home. Your CENTURY 21 agent can help you determine this by checking recent sales and listing prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood where you’re looking.
Home Buying Tip #4: Be flexible. Never say, “Take it or leave it.” An attitude like this can ruin the potential for making a deal.
Home Buying Tip #5: Each time you increase your offer price, ask for something in return such as repairs, appliances, even lawn furniture or the riding lawn mower.
Home Buying Tip #6: Take a tip from poker players and never show your hand — or reveal your next step.
Home Buying Tip #7: If you plan to pay cash or have a tentative commitment for a mortgage loan, use your strong financial position as a bargaining tool.
Home Buying Tip #8: Don’t let your emotions (or those of your spouse) get in the way of negotiating the best deal. Leave your pride, fear, anger, and emotional attachments at home.
Step 5: Inspection & Insurance
After your offer is accepted you will need to set up, coordinate and interpret various inspections, including insect, radon, building quality, title, etc. You will also need to arrange for homeowners insurance and finalize the mortgage details.
This is a major step in the buying process and there are many potential problems that can be discovered during this period. These include a leaky roof, radon gas, termite damage, a foundation problem, and wall cracks, to name a few. The difference between closing on your dream home and starting the process all over again is what occurs during the negotiations between you and the seller.
You will also have the responsibility to do a “final walk through” before the closing of escrow to ensure that any repairs negotiated have been made, or that the property is in substantially the same condition as it was when your offer was accepted. This is your last chance to make sure that all of the items that you have agreed upon were completed to your satisfaction.
Step 6: Closing
Before you arrive at the closing, make sure all the necessary paper work and deposits have been completed. If the mortgage, title work, homeowners insurance and other items necessary under local and state laws are not completed and brought to the closing table, the closing may not happen on time. And, depending on what the contract says, this could result in further action including financial penalties and even the loss of your rights to the home.