Buy a House, Make it a Home

Buy a House, Make it a Home

Whether you are buying your first home or your fifth, the process is the same. Buying a house and making it your home can be stressful and emotional. The guidance of your Realtor and your lender will be critical through the process. Thankfully, most reputable Realtors will give you good advice. Here is a step-by-step overview of the process for buying a house and making it your home!

Step 1 – Getting Pre-Approved

If you are getting a loan, it is best to get pre-approved prior to house hunting. Go to a mortgage lender, since this is their specialty. No cashiers, safe deposit boxes or other transaction – just doing home loans.  They know the loan types that are best for your situation from VA loan, Down payment assistance loans, FHA, and Conventional Financing. Interest rates will vary from each institution.

Doing this first allows you and your Realtor to know what you qualify for, so they do not show you homes that are above your price range. It also provides you with your credit score and identify any issues that will need to be corrected prior to full loan approval.

Step 2 – Meeting with Your Realtor

Sitting down with your Realtor and explaining your specifics will be important before you start to check out prospective homes. There are a lot of things you will need to go over with them prior to your search, such as:

  • Where do you want to live? Which city?
  • How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you need/want?
  • Do you need a garage? If so, how large? 2 – 3 Car?
  • 1 story or 2 story home?
  • Fenced yard?
  • Updated or fixer?
  • What is the maximum price range you are able/willing to pay?

All of the above will help your Realtor when they do their search for you. You may also want to do your own search since the internet has housing online. Your Realtor can make the calls to get more information on the house and see if there are any current offers.

Step 3 – Making an Offer

Your Realtor may narrow your search to 3 – 4 homes that meet your specific requirements and ask if you interested in making an offer on one. If there are multiple offers, you will need to have a strategy in order to win the bid. More often than not, you will need to be prepared to offer more than asking price, have your loan approval letter available, and shorten the inspection timeline to make your offer appealing to the sellers.

Thankfully, your Realtor can advise you on this. In our market here in Washington State, low ball offers are not hardly the norm. In certain situations, if the house has been on the market a long time, coming in lower than asking could be to your advantage as a buyer. However, you won’t know until you make an offer. Sometimes, the house has been on the market for months for a reason; seller in no hurry and just holding out, home is in need of repair, etc.

Do not get discouraged if you do not get the first home for which you write an offer! Another home that is just perfect will come along. Looking at 20 homes is not the answer either. If you know what you want and have expressed that with your Realtor, you should be able to find that perfect home after looking at 6 houses or less.

Step 4 – You Got the House – Now What?

Congratulations, you just go mutual acceptance on your purchase and sale. However, it’s not yours yet!  If you have an inspection contingency (which you would want), your offer is contingent on your satisfaction of the inspection and the seller agreeing to do any work orders. If there is a septic tank, the seller will have to have that pumped and pay the fees. If there is a sewer, you should have a sewer scope at your expense and if there are any problems, you would ask the seller to do any and all repairs.

The inspection repairs can be negotiable. What you do not want to do is ask for the little things to be done that you can do yourself. For example, if there is a crack in the light switch plate, you would not ask the seller to replace it. They may think you are being petty and say no to everything. You want to ask for them to take care of major items such as electrical issues, plumbing issues, moss off the roof, and having the gutters cleaned.

Step 5 – Inspection Approved

So, the buyer and seller have come to an agreement for repairs or no repairs required. Next, your Realtor will send the purchase and sale to your lender and the escrow company. The lender needs the full sale to process your loan and the Escrow/Title company will need it to be sure title is free and clear, process any pro-rated taxes, fees, HOA dues, pay off current mortgage from the seller, and so much more.

The lender will also order an appraisal on the property to make sure it is at value or more in order to loan you money to buy the house. Most of the time, the appraisal will come in at value or more. If it comes in low, you are back to negotiating (you do not want to pay more for something that is worth less). Your Realtor will advise you on the next step of low appraisal.

Step 6 – Closing

Escrow will call you for an appointment to come in to sign documents when they receive the loan documents from your lender. You can expect 30 – 45 days for the loan documents to be prepared by your lender. Signing as a buyer usually takes 45 minutes or longer depending on questions you may have.

After all parties (sellers and buyers) have signed, the lender reviews the documents and gives final approval to escrow to fund. Escrow sends the documents to the county to be recorded on the day you put in the purchase and sale for closing. The day of closing is when you get the keys and you are a proud home owner!

Step 7 – Making a House Your Home

Congratulations!  Now the fun of moving in and decorating. This is the best part.  Maybe you want to buy new furniture, decorate with new furnishings. So exciting. Enjoy your new Home!

Whether you are buying your first home or your fifth, the process is the same. Buying a house and making it your home can be stressful and emotional. The guidance of your Realtor and your lender will be critical through the process. Thankfully, most reputable Realtors will give you good advice. Here is a step-by-step overview of the process for buying a house and making it your home!

Step 1 – Getting Pre-Approved

If you are getting a loan, it is best to get pre-approved prior to house hunting. Go to a mortgage lender, since this is their specialty. No cashiers, safe deposit boxes or other transaction – just doing home loans.  They know the loan types that are best for your situation from VA loan, Down payment assistance loans, FHA, and Conventional Financing. Interest rates will vary from each institution.

Doing this first allows you and your Realtor to know what you qualify for, so they do not show you homes that are above your price range. It also provides you with your credit score and identify any issues that will need to be corrected prior to full loan approval.

Step 2 – Meeting with Your Realtor

Sitting down with your Realtor and explaining your specifics will be important before you start to check out prospective homes. There are a lot of things you will need to go over with them prior to your search, such as:

  • Where do you want to live? Which city?
  • How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you need/want?
  • Do you need a garage? If so, how large? 2 – 3 Car?
  • 1 story or 2 story home?
  • Fenced yard?
  • Updated or fixer?
  • What is the maximum price range you are able/willing to pay?

All of the above will help your Realtor when they do their search for you. You may also want to do your own search since the internet has housing online. Your Realtor can make the calls to get more information on the house and see if there are any current offers.

Step 3 – Making an Offer

Your Realtor may narrow your search to 3 – 4 homes that meet your specific requirements and ask if you interested in making an offer on one. If there are multiple offers, you will need to have a strategy in order to win the bid. More often than not, you will need to be prepared to offer more than asking price, have your loan approval letter available, and shorten the inspection timeline to make your offer appealing to the sellers.

Thankfully, your Realtor can advise you on this. In our market here in Washington State, low ball offers are not hardly the norm. In certain situations, if the house has been on the market a long time, coming in lower than asking could be to your advantage as a buyer. However, you won’t know until you make an offer. Sometimes, the house has been on the market for months for a reason; seller in no hurry and just holding out, home is in need of repair, etc.

Do not get discouraged if you do not get the first home for which you write an offer! Another home that is just perfect will come along. Looking at 20 homes is not the answer either. If you know what you want and have expressed that with your Realtor, you should be able to find that perfect home after looking at 6 houses or less.

Step 4 – You Got the House – Now What?

Congratulations, you just go mutual acceptance on your purchase and sale. However, it’s not yours yet!  If you have an inspection contingency (which you would want), your offer is contingent on your satisfaction of the inspection and the seller agreeing to do any work orders. If there is a septic tank, the seller will have to have that pumped and pay the fees. If there is a sewer, you should have a sewer scope at your expense and if there are any problems, you would ask the seller to do any and all repairs.

The inspection repairs can be negotiable. What you do not want to do is ask for the little things to be done that you can do yourself. For example, if there is a crack in the light switch plate, you would not ask the seller to replace it. They may think you are being petty and say no to everything. You want to ask for them to take care of major items such as electrical issues, plumbing issues, moss off the roof, and having the gutters cleaned.

Step 5 – Inspection Approved

So, the buyer and seller have come to an agreement for repairs or no repairs required. Next, your Realtor will send the purchase and sale to your lender and the escrow company. The lender needs the full sale to process your loan and the Escrow/Title company will need it to be sure title is free and clear, process any pro-rated taxes, fees, HOA dues, pay off current mortgage from the seller, and so much more.

The lender will also order an appraisal on the property to make sure it is at value or more in order to loan you money to buy the house. Most of the time, the appraisal will come in at value or more. If it comes in low, you are back to negotiating (you do not want to pay more for something that is worth less). Your Realtor will advise you on the next step of low appraisal.

Step 6 – Closing

Escrow will call you for an appointment to come in to sign documents when they receive the loan documents from your lender. You can expect 30 – 45 days for the loan documents to be prepared by your lender. Signing as a buyer usually takes 45 minutes or longer depending on questions you may have.

After all parties (sellers and buyers) have signed, the lender reviews the documents and gives final approval to escrow to fund. Escrow sends the documents to the county to be recorded on the day you put in the purchase and sale for closing. The day of closing is when you get the keys and you are a proud home owner!

Step 7 – Making a House Your Home

Congratulations!  Now the fun of moving in and decorating. This is the best part.  Maybe you want to buy new furniture, decorate with new furnishings. So exciting. Enjoy your new Home!

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