START HERE: Buyer's Roadmap
STEP 1: Find a REALTOR®
Most Buyers begin their home search online. However, the best way to start your home search is by first selecting a REALTOR® ! A REALTOR® can save you time, money and minimize many of the hassles of purchasing property. If you are looking for a REALTOR® who will listen and have your best interest, reach out to me and let's schedule a time to chat!
STEP 2: Assess Finances
Purchasing property may be one of the largest investments that you make. Before you start looking at properties, you will want to assess your finances and determine if you are prepared to take the next step. There are a variety of ways to purchase property besides a straight cash transaction. If you plan to finance a portion of your purchase, a Mortgage Professional or Loan Officer can discuss various loan programs to find out which one is best suited for you based on your short- and long-term financial goals. If you are planning to utilize a non-traditional approach such as a SDIRA or 1031 exchange, you should consult your CPA prior to searching for a property so that you understand the guidelines and timelines.
STEP 3: Get Pre-Approved
If you have decided to finance any portion of your property purchase, you will want to be Pre-Approved. A Pre-Approval letter carries more weight than a Pre-qualification letter, especially in a competitive real estate market. A Mortgage Professional or Loan Officer from your financial institution can discuss the various loan programs with you so you can determine which one is best based on your short- and long-term financial goals. In addition to helping you identify the best loan product, a mortgage professional can also advise you on ways to obtain the best interest rate and help you identify the best price range to begin your property search when you want to keep your monthly payments within a certain range.
STEP 4: Search for a Property
There are a variety of platforms that will enable you to search for a home, but none of these platforms compare to having a customized property search set up for you. If you are wanting to obtain the broadest search capabilities and have the most up-to-date information, then you should enlist the services of a licensed REALTOR® who has access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). By doing so, you will gain access to properties that are in "Coming Soon" status before the average consumer finds out. In addition, listings often contain additional documents and other pertinent information that is sometimes only visible to the MLS subscriber. When you partner with a REALTOR®, they will make sure you are informed about all relevant information contained in the listing which could impact your decision regarding a property.
STEP 5: Submit an Offer
Finding a property that meets your criteria can seem like an insurmountable task, but not if you're working with an exceptional REALTOR®! The type of market in which you are in (i.e. Seller's Market, Buyer's market or balanced market) will definitely have an impact on the offer that you submit. For example, if you are in a Seller's market, (one in which there are more buyers than available homes), you will most likely encounter multiple offer situations because there will be a lot of demand for the home. However, if you are in a Buyer's market (a lot of homes from which to choose, but not many buyers), then fewer offers are being submitted for their property. Once we've located the property that checks all your boxes, we will review all the relevant data so you can determine the best price to offer. Once your offer gets accepted, there's still more work to be done. This is why it is imperative to have a REALTOR® who is also a strong negotiator on your team!
STEP 7: The Closing Process
While it may seem like nothing is happening, rest assured, there are multiple things happening in the background simultaneously! If you financed your purchase, your lender is working diligently to ensure that your loan application is processed and ready before closing day. Meanwhile, the title company is researching the property to make sure there are no outstanding liens and no surprise owners who might come knocking in an attempt to stake claim in your property after closing has happened.
Both your lender and the title company may request additional documentation from you all the way up to the day of closing. It is important that you check your emails regularly and reply promptly to keep things moving along as scheduled.