Howard County Home Buying | Seven Steps for Success
What The Professionals at Masters Realty Do To Support The Best Interests of Our Buyers
The Purchase Process
The fun begins where it should begin, with a discussion of the buying process. Our agents have guided many buyers through the home buying process, from initial consultation with our clients to the excitement of the day of actual purchase. Many of these clients have been first time homebuyers, while for many others this move represents another purchase as their families have grown or they have relocated to new areas. But regardless of how much experience each buyer brings to the purchase process, the fact is that the purchase process itself is remarkably similar for everyone. It is only when we look into the details of each step in the process that we see where the individual criteria for their home purchase come into play.
The following is an outline of the home buying process for our area, including what each buyer can expect to accomplish in each step along the route to the next home purchase. But you can relax as we move forward, confident in the knowledge that many, many other buyers have been down this road before, that we are here to guide you, and that this should be remarkably fun, exciting, and ultimately tremendously rewarding.
An Overview and Identifying Your Objectives
Just like any good project, the first step is to discuss the fundamentals of your home search. These include why you are relocating and when you need to move, as well as what factors determine where you want to live. Do you have a home to sell and if so, do you need to sell it before you can relocate? How about your rental lease, and when will it expire? Have you confirmed your budget with a lender, and what type of loan are you considering? We need to have a conversation about the specifics of the home you are considering. This discussion includes such thoughts as the type of home you see moving your family into, where that home would be, what type of features you will need and which features you simply want to have, where these fit into your budget, how long a commute to you envision, how important are the schools, and many other ideas that will arise and change in importance as the process proceeds. Once we discuss your needs and desires, we will then move to an in-depth overview of the buying process, identifying each step where opportunities exist for you to maximize your purchase opportunities while ensuring that you are comfortable with each step before we proceed. Using the information we gain from this initial conversation we can move along the process as follows.
Financing, Budgets and Lenders
Your financial situation is a very personal matter, and we recognize that this is a subject that many of us do not wish to discuss with anyone other than our bankers or our family. And that is perfectly acceptable in the home purchase process. However, it is necessary that all buyers know their budget and the type of loan they will be using to make their purchase. This generally means that the buyer must speak with a qualified mortgage lender. Many of our buyers show up at the start with this information, ready to tell us what they are comfortable and qualified to spend. In the event that you have not taken this first step and that you do not know a prospective lender, we can help you identify potential lenders with whom you can have preliminary conversations with the goal of determining your purchase budget.
Determine Your Search Criteria and Look At Homes
Based on the results of our initial conversations and the information from the lender regarding your budget, we will assist you in defining the specific features of your home purchase, including among other criteria the types of home styles that interest you, the location of the neighborhoods that meet the needs of you and your family, and the features of the home itself such as a garage, finished basement or yard. With these considerations in mind and with our knowledge of the areas of interest to you, we will create a list of appropriate homes currently on the market, and begin to show you those homes that appeal to you.
Making an Offer and Negotiating a Contract
Using our extensive experience and knowledge of the purchase process we can assist you in making a solid offer for a property, taking into consideration the recent sales of other comparable properties in the area, as well as the effect that each term of the offer may have on the ultimate value of your offer to the needs of the sellers. We will carry this skill and experience further into the negotiation of the terms of the actual purchase and the complex contract process with the goal of ensuring the best overall transaction for you based on your unique requirements.
Home Inspection and Repair Negotiations
The sale of the home is not done when the seller agrees to your terms in the Contract. Not by far. Following contract your will need to evaluate the property to be certain that it is in a condition that meets your expectations. While you have had the opportunity to see the property a few times, you are unable to look into all of its systems to determine whether they have been maintained and if they are in good working order. You will need to have a professional home inspector evaluate the entire property. Based upon the results of the home inspection, you will provide the seller with a list of items that the you would like to have repaired. This list can be short or quite exhaustive, but the terms of the Contract afford you the right to terminate the contract under certain circumstances relative to this repair request. This is a very important and often quite contentious part of the purchase process, given that the seller will possibly wish to limit the expenditure of time or money on a property the seller is leaving. We are very sensitive to this inspection process, and we are quite skilled at assisting the parties in reaching an agreement regarding repairs. We understand the effect of the terms of the Contract in this area, and we will monitor the repair process to ensure that your interests are protected.
Appraisal, Loan Approval and Closing
While everything else is going on regarding the home inspection and repairs, the lender will have the home appraised to assure the lender that the property is worth the loan. The loan process has become much more detailed in the past few years as a result of the tighter loan requirements during the recent economic slowdown, and the lender will not provide a loan for more money than the amount of the appraised value. We will provide the appraiser with documents showing the value of comparable homes in the area to support the purchase price as representing a fair market value, and should the appraisal come back below purchase price we will negotiate with the seller seeking to reach some agreement that can save the sale.
Lender Documentation, Title Search and Settlement
The last step in the purchase process involves the use of a title company. The title company does the title search to ensure that you are buying the property from the actual owner, and that the title and the deed are not encumbered in any way. We understand the many issues that can arise as the lender and the title company complete their work, and we will monitor and guide all of the parties toward this final transfer of title from the seller to you.