When you see people in their home and then get into the process yourself, you may ask yourself "how did they do it so easily?". The truth of the matter is that getting a new home is no simple task, but it doesn't have to be as difficult as it may seem. You'll just want to make sure you are prepared and know what resources are available to you during the process.
Thankfully, there are a lot of people who have done this before and are dedicated to helping you throughout the process and will make sure you get the most for your time and money. Mapping out your route to writing an offer on a home can help give clarity and keep you from wasting any time! Here's a helpful guide to use along the way.
Know your boundaries - geographic, budget, and house traits
One of the biggest suggestions we have is to cut out everything that doesn't apply to you. The best way to do that is to work in reverse. Rather than searching for a home that you think matches what you want, find out what you want and see what homes match. Decide how much you are willing to spend, the geographic area you are willing to live in given considerations of where you work, school districts, and personal preferences, and finally what you need from a home regarding square footage, rooms, a yard, etc. Once you figure this first step out, you'll remove a lot of the moving pieces and a lot of unnecessary work, disappointment, and decision making in the future.
Get professional help - Real estate agent/legal team
It can be easy to think you'll save money by dealing with a lot of the paperwork and legalities yourself or by having someone with "experience" help you out. The truth is, you'll probably save yourself money and most definitely precious time by hiring an excellent real estate agent who can do things right the first time and protect you throughout the process. You'll get the confidence of knowing all your offers and paperwork are thoroughly reviewed and meet state and local requirements. This will limit the number of surprises, unnecessary fees, and repeatedly filling out paperwork to fix errors.
Find a loan officer who has your back
The mortgage and loan process is often what your entire experience hinges on, so you'll want to make sure you are well taken care of. Sellers want to be assured that you are capable of getting a loan, and you'll want to know your pre-approval and then corresponding terms and conditions. This will allow you to see what you qualify among the pool of prospective homes and will make sure your realtor can work efficiently.
Build the offer
This is where your whole team will come together. Your real estate agent will take all your information to create purchase agreement which will include
details of the home (address and description)
date of the offer
loan, deposit, and down payment details
proposed closing and possession dates
several contingency dates to protect you in case you need to cancel the transaction
Sign, Sealed, Delivered - Making an offer on a home
This is when you've officially done all you can, and the ball is in the seller's court. They can decide to take the offer as is, come back with a counter offer, or say no. If they say yes, you've got your home! If they say no, you go elsewhere. But more often than non they will counter your offer and you may go back and forth a few times until you are in agreement. This negotiation process is where it's absolutely beneficial to have a professional team behind you that is willing to go to bat for you and make sure you don't get caught in a bad situation or overpay for the home. Ultimately, this last step can be one of the more stressful (or exciting!) steps in the process, but it's also the last push before you're under contract on your new home!
This is an inclusive and essential guide to getting you into a home, but you'll want to ask any questions you have along the way, understand how home loans work, and make sure to check the references for anyone you bring in to help you!