Understanding the Home Buying Process Step by Step
Congratulations! It's an exciting decision that you've made to begin the home buying process & I'm so happy to have the opportunity to work with you! I'll lead you through each step along the way but here's an overview of what you can expect from submitting an offer to signing a Purchase & Sales Agreement to getting to the closing table! Rest assured that I will be with you each step of the way.
I am here to help!
Please remember that I am always available to chat, so feel free to ask any questions that may arise--reach me by email, phone, or text.
Step One: Submit an Offer to Purchase Real Estate
We may have to look at dozens of homes or maybe just a few--but when the right one comes along we'll submit an offer.
Here is an example of what the offer form looks like: Sample Offer
Along with the signed offer, we will also need to submit the following:
Preapproval from your lender:
I will request an updated preapproval from your lender
I will need a copy of a personal check in the amount of $500 paid to the order of the listing brokerage. Generally a photo copy (you can text me a photo) is all that is initially needed until the offer is accepted by the seller.
==>A Note About The Tools That I Utilize For My Clients: DotLoop & Folio
- In real estate there are a lot of forms that have to be signed. In order to simplify our process I utilize a platform called DotLoop for electronic signatures. I'll set up a DotLoop portal for you, you'll receive an email with a link to sign needed documents.
- I also utilize a gmail app called 'Folio' that I use to create a useful timeline with important dates, contact resources, & reminders. This is another useful tool that I use to keep us on the same page & to stay on top of our deadlines.
Step Two: Our offer has been accepted, Sign the Purchase & Sales Agreement
Congratulations! We made it through the negotiations & we're on our way to making this house your home! Along with the Purchase & Sales Agreement (P&S) there are additional forms that we will sign. You will also submit the deposit--generally 3-5% of the purchase price. These funds are held in an escrow account by the listing brokerage & will be credited towards your down payment or closing costs at the closing.
Step Three: Schedule Home Inspections
As per the P&S: buyers have 10 business days to have any inspections at all (a general Home Inspection includes a visual inspection of all major structural & mechanical elements of the house, a separate provider would have to be scheduled for a lead test, a separate provider for a water test, etc). Here is an example of the report.
This is Important==> the buyer can back out of the contract for any reason based upon any findings resulting from an inspection without explanation to the seller. Again, you have 10 business days to contact the seller regarding any inspection findings. Day 1 begins on the date of the last signature on the P&S--weekends & holidays are not counted.
- Expect the price of a Structural/Mechanical Inspection to be in the range of $450-$700 depending upon the square footage of the property.
- If the home has a septic system &/or well water you may need a separate inspector
- This may very well be the best money you could possibly spend so please do not skimp on this or downplay its importance!
- Expect that the inspection will take 2-3 hours depending upon the size & condition of the home. I will be with you at the home inspection.
- I have vetted resources for these inspections that I can refer you to, I will also attend the inspections & help you to understand the reports & make the decisions about how to best move forward based upon the findings.
Step Four: The Final Countdown
We don’t move into the next phase until the home inspections are complete & we decide to continue to move forward with this property. Once any repair requests or price changes have been negotiated & signed I'll notify your lender that we’ve finalized any changes to the contract & she/he will order the appraisal of the property. Your loan will move into the final stages & the underwriter will review all of the final documents. The appraisal takes about a week to get turned into the lender once the appraiser has been to the property.
I. The Mortgage Commitment Letter
We will be waiting on the lender to submit the Mortgage Commitment letter by the stated deadline on the P&S. This is a very important deadline & I will stay in contact with the lender to make sure if more time is needed we file the appropriate extension. This deadline will be listed on your folio timeline.
2. Clear To Close
Once the commitment letter is issued there are a few additional steps the loan processor takes before she/he sends us the coveted “Clear to close” email. Once we receive this email we remain cautiously optimistic. The closing will be scheduled & the closing documents will be emailed to you--finally you will discover the exact sum that you will need to secure from your bank. We will also schedule the final walk through of the property.
3. Final walk through
We will schedule this to occur the day before the closing or about an hour before the closing--whatever works best for you. The walk through is quick & should only take about 15-20 minutes, it serves to make sure that there are no unexpected surprises before the property is officially yours (leaks, leftover items, missing appliances, etc).
4. The Closing
You will sign a large stack of papers & you will leave with the keys to your new home!
What to bring:
- Valid driver's license or passport
- A certified bank check in the final amount as determined by your closing attorney (you may not get this final number until the day before--that is not uncommon). Do not bring a personal check for this amount, it will not be accepted.
I understand that buying a house is a monumental occasion in your life! It's a BIG DEAL!!! And it's a major purchase. I don't take this for granted. You can count on me. I'll be here each step of the way!