In the current real estate market that favors sellers more so than buyers, there’s more to home buying than meets the eye.
Realtor Dave Abdallah said that buying a home is an extensive process.
“The first step to buying a home is to get pre-approved,” he said. “Speak with a local mortgage lender. This is where income, assets, debt, will all be confirmed and taken into consideration to see how much you’d be approved for. This is helpful so you don’t fall in love with a home outside of your price range.”
With there being so many ways of finding your dream home, Abdallah said it’s important for any home buyer to research and interview their realtor.
“Look for trusted realtors,” he said. “They should be familiar with the area you are looking to purchase in so that they can help answer your questions. When you interview your potential realtor, ask them how long they have been in real estate, if they are familiar with the area, how they are different from other realtors and even ask for some references they may be able to provide.”
The third step in the home-buying process is to decide what you’re looking for, before you start looking.
“Decide on size of the home and the lot,” Abdallah said. “Look at square footage, how many rooms, is there a basement or garage, are there nearby parks, what is the school district like; there’s a lot of research to do in deciding what you want. Also, look at social media sites for ideas like Zillow and Realtor.com. They have options that your realtor may not have filtered in your preferences.”
While many people may fall in love at first sight, Abdallah said it’s important to select a few different homes to look at.
“Select a number of different properties you like,” he said. “Drive through the neighborhoods and then contact your realtor to schedule a viewing based on that.”
The fifth step in the home buying process is placing an offer.
“Make sure you prepare a fair, competitive offer based on the market price,” Abdallah said. “Once you make the offer, the seller may accept it, revise the terms of your offer or counter offer. When you get the private inspection done, you may either move forward, get your deposit back or change terms of the offer adjusted to get some of the repairs completed prior to closing.”
When the terms of sale are agreed upon, Abdallah said you have to meet with the mortgage lender for mortgage approval, which will then trigger the appraisal process to ensure you’re not overpaying for the home.
“While that’s going on, the title company will then make sure that there are no existing liens or taxes owed on the property,” he said. “Sellers will also need to bring the property up to code so the city can approve the repairs.”
Abdallah said he also recommends researching homeowner’s insurance companies, moving companies and cleaning companies.
“Try to get the closing documents ahead of time to ensure there are no mistakes and nothing missing,” he said. “Also, do a final walk-through a day or two before closing to make sure that the home is in the same condition. Shop around for different insurance companies to make sure you get the best rate and look into moving and cleaning companies before you start moving in right away, especially if the seller is still living in the home after closing. You want to research these things to ensure you aren’t overpaying for anything in the long run.”