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The Home Buying Process

Nov 5, 2007
The process of buying a home may feel like an intimidating task, but taken step by step, it is actually not that bad at all. It can and should be an exciting time, to search for, to find, and to purchase the home where special memories, possibly a lifetime's worth, will be made. To begin with, most homebuyers will choose to work with a real estate professional. It is important to have an initial counseling interview with your agent. You should discuss the type of home you are looking for, desired location, price range, timeframe, needs, and wants. It is also advisable to have your realtor explain how he or she works with clients and to relay the expectations of each party. Pre-qualifying for a mortgage is a good next step. This will be helpful to solidify your price range, know what your monthly payment will be, and to select the best loan package without being under pressure. It can also make your offer more competitive in a multiple-offer situation, as the seller will know in advance of your ability to secure financing.

Now you need to find your home! Your agent should be able to provide you with a list of current homes for sale that match your search parameters. Also, many realtors can set you up with an automatic email notification that is tied into your area multiple listing service. When a new home hits the market and falls within your search criteria, an auto-email is delivered that contains the property listing information. Once you select homes that interest you, it's time to get out and view the properties. So now you've found a wonderful home and want to buy it. Your agent will prepare the offer to purchase agreement. This contract will identify the parties to the contract and property to be sold. Also, the purchase offer will typically include such things as your offer price, items to be included in the sale, mortgage contingency, deposit information, time period of offer, attorney approval contingency, and inspection contingencies, among others. The offer will be presented, and the seller may now accept it, reject it, counter the offer, or do nothing. If the seller does nothing, the offer is void after the time period of the offer has elapsed, as stated in the purchase offer.

Great! The buyer and the seller have both agreed upon the contract. Now it's time to submit the mortgage application and arrange for the inspections. The mortgage approval process will include an appraisal of the property, inspection of credit reports, verification of assets, and verification of employment. Your lender will also submit the file to their attorneys to conduct the title search unless your own personal attorney handles this. The inspections stipulated in the contract will also be conducted, and can include structural, radon, septic system, and well water inspections, among others.

This is getting good now. The mortgage has been approved, inspections conducted, all contingencies have been satisfied, and the closing date is set. It's now time for the final walk-through. Typically 48 hours prior to closing, you walk through the property to confirm it is in the same condition it was when you contracted for it. This is the time to be assured that any repairs negotiated are completed. If not, the closing can be delayed or your attorney can require the seller to complete the work before closing or escrow funds to cover the work if it is not finished.

Start to chill the champagne, but don't pop the cork just yet. The final walk-through has been conducted and everything is ship-shape. The closing date is here and you arrive with your required homeowners insurance policy or binder and certified funds to make up the difference in the purchase price. Be prepared to sign a lot of documents such as the mortgage, HUD forms, etc. The checks will be endorsed to the proper parties and the seller will sign a deed transferring the property to you. Congratulations! You are now a homeowner and ready to move in. Pop!
About the Author
The author is a contributing mortgage consultant with the popular Refinance Tool Box. Visit today for free information and tools provided to help you learn about mortgage refinance.
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