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The Home Buying Process

Buying a home is often the most expensive purchase we will ever make. And the process can be challenging. But Coldwell Banker Gosslee agents are well-trained to make the process run as hassle-free as possible.

To help prepare you for the home buying journey, we wanted to explain the steps so you can be well prepared:

  • The Buyer Consultation: Prepping for Success
  • Mortgages, Lender and Pre-Approvals
  • House Hunting
  • Finding “The One”
  • Closing Day

The Buyer Consultation

The buyer consultation is the KEY to having a smooth home buying process! This is where we’ll schedule a time to meet in person, grab a latte and dig into all the details! It’s your  first chance to ask any and all questions and get a complete overview of the entire process.

What does a buyer consultation look like?

  1. The Home Buying Journey – We will walk you through all the steps of the buying process so you know exactly what to expect before you even start house hunting!
  2. If you haven’t been pre-approved yet, we’ll talk about how to go about doing this and share recommendations for who you can contact to get started on the pre-approval process.
  3. Next, we will go over our Coldwell Banker Buyer Questionnaire – This is when we’ll talk about your must haves, deal breakers and all the details of what you are looking for in your first or next home. We will ask you questions like,: “What’s your favorite room in your current home”, “What is a space you don’t have but would love to have?” “How long do you see yourself living in the home you buy?” We want to learn as much as we can about the why behind the home you are looking for so that we can help guide you throughout the process and make sure you end up with a home you love.
  4. Home Buying Q & A – This is your chance to ask any questions you have about the home buying process! Want clarification on anything? Ask away!
  5. Home Buyer Resources – We’ll share helpful home buyer resources with you that you can take with you when you leave to reference later!

How does that sound? It’s a great first step!

Getting Preapproved

Without a mortgage pre-approval you are not ready to start house hunting or make any offers.

Don’t worry – we are going to make sure that you are all set up and ready to go.

What does it really mean to get pre-approved?

Pre-approval is free and non-binding. After providing a lender with required information and documentation, including as proof of income and assets, employment verification, and running your credit score, you will be approved for a specific loan amount. You’ll then know what price range you can start home shopping.

Why is getting pre-approval so important?

As scary as pre-approval might sound, it is a relatively simple process that brings confidence. You will learn which loan options are best, for example a 30 or 15-year loan, how much can you realistically afford, how much money do you need to put down and what will your monthly payments will look like in a different price ranges.

You will need a pre-approval letter in order to make an offer (a seller likely will not negotiate with a buyer who has not been pre-approved because of the risk that the buyer might not actually be able to afford the home).

It’s also important so that you know what your monthly expenses are going to be based on a specific loan amount.

Often times, buyers do not spend the maximum amount that they’ve been pre-approved for because they may not want to make what that equates to as a payment every month (in addition to all of their other living expenses and bills). Maxing out your loan amount might mean sacrificing that annual family vacation to Hawaii or your entertainment budget that is important to you. This is where the term “house poor” comes from.

What happens if you start house hunting prior to getting pre-approved?

Because licensed real estate agents know the importance of getting pre-approved, it’s unlikely that they will start the house hunting process without getting a pre-approval letter from a buyer. That is why we have trusted lender partners that we team up with to help our buyers get pre-approved. We are in this together, you don’t have to do it alone. That is how we make the process less scary and intimidating for our clients.

Having your credit run before you start is also essential. Not only does this help determine your house hunting price range,  but you also can make sure there are not any issues that need to be addressed Many lenders will actually work with home buyers and recommend how they can improve their credit scores prior to getting a mortgage. This could save you a lot of money in the long run as your credit score will impact loan options and interest rates.

Lastly, can you imagine skipping this step only to fall in love with a house only to realize it is out of your price range? Or you realize you won’t be comfortable with your monthly payments in a certain price range? Figuring this all out in advance will allow you to start your home search with confidence and set you up for success. You will also be able to take the time to find a lender you feel comfortable with and learn about all of your options ahead of time.

Remember, the pre-approval process is about getting serious and positioning yourself to make smart real estate decisions. Once you are officially pre-approved, the house hunting can begin!

Setting Up Your “Customized” Home Search

Things are getting exciting! It’s officially time to start house hunting, but how do you know what houses are even available? No more searching through countless real estate websites trying to figure out which homes are actually for sale and whether or not they have an accepted offer or not.

Remember the Buyer Consultation? This was the first step in setting up your “customized” home search. Your agent knowns the the features you would love to have in your home, your ideal location and your “must haves”! You’ve also talked about deal breakers and can prioritize what is most important to you in a new home. As your agent also now knows your budget, they can now narrow down your house hunting criteria and only show you appropriate homes.

We will create a custom home search based on all the criteria we discussed including specific details such as square footage requirements, the size of your desired yard and the location.

  • When we create the customized search, you will be set up to receive an email with a link to any new or existing listings that match that specific criteria.
  • Depending on the current real estate market and how broad or narrow your search criteria is, we can help recommend what is the best choice and help eliminate any homes that don’t meet your needs.
  • The customized search eliminates homes that don’t have what you want. Instead, we include only those with your critical “must haves.” For example, if your deal breaker is a 1-car garage, we will eliminate listings with 1-car garages so that you don’t have to be side tracked by a gorgeous farmhouse style kitchen only to realize with disappointment that it only has 1-car garage and therefore not a contender.
  • The customized home search will help keep you on track to find the right house for your lifestyle instead of feeling overwhelmed by sites like Zillow.

Once your search is set up, you’ll be able to see which homes are currently on the market that match your criteria. From here, you’ll look through and determine which are worth touring.

When you find a house you want to see, here is what you need to know:

-Typically, if  that home is currently occupied, we will need to give overnight notice to schedule a private showing. We will likely spend about an hour in the home unless we have multiple stops in a shortened time frame. We can also return to specific homes for you to see again.

-As we tour homes, we will take notes and keep our thoughts private until we have privacy outside of the home. Whether you are head-over-heels because of the gorgeous open floor plan or you can’t believe the condition of the house is in, we will not talk about this while we are in the house. Many sellers have cameras these days and it’s important to remain more neutral in case we end up writing an offer. We don’t want to give them a negotiating advantage if they know your thoughts in advance.

- We recommend keeping your house hunting max to 5 showings in one day. It can be overwhelming to view many homes in one day and the houses will start to blend together and you may find yourself overwhelmed.

Now you’re probably wondering what’s next? What happens when you do find THE ONE? The house that you’re already mentally arranging your furniture in and dreaming up Pinterest boards for every room. Let’s talk about it! 

You Found THE ONE, What’s Next?

You toured a home, it checked most of the boxes and you think you want to write an offer. But first, you might want to ask yourself a few questions to make sure you’re making the right decision. Here is what we recommend to our buyers so that can make smart real estate decisions and avoid “buyer’s remorse.”

  1. How long are you planning on living in the home? You’ll want to consider whether or not this home meets your needs not just today, but potentially 5-10 years down the road if that’s what you’re looking for. So do a double check on that.
  2. Are you looking beyond the décor? Remember, things like paint colors, flooring and even countertops can always be changed over time. Does the location, layout and size of the home fit your needs? Focus on the things you can’t change and decide if you’re happy with them.
  3. Does the cost of the home reflect how much you want to spend monthly? It’s important to think beyond the big number of the total mortgage amount and break down how the monthly payment will affect your budget.

After asking yourself these three questions, you can make a decision with confidence instead of with emotions. You will now enter the negotiating portion of the home buying process and it’s important to try as best as possible not to let your emotions get in the way.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED TO DO NEXT

  • It’s time to write an offer that you are going to submit to the sellers. We won’t get into all of the offer details, but this is something we walk our buyers through at our buyer consultation so when this time does come, you know what to be thinking about.
  • We’re going to decide on things like the offer price, the deposit money amount, the closing date, what you want to include vs exclude (for example ______________), We will also discuss your financing terms and any other contingencies to include such as how the results of the home inspection and appraisal may impact your offer..
  • Once we officially submit the offer, negotiating can begin. This is where buyers sometimes might feel nervous, but not to worry – We are the one in charge of communicating with the listing agent and handling the negotiating. We will prepare you for who is responsible for each step and communicate effectively with you throughout the process so you understand what’s happening and what your options are. You’ll always be kept in the loop, but nothing will ever fall on your shoulders when it comes to figuring out what to do next! While ultimately you will make decisions, we are here to make sure they are smart and informed decisions.
  • When we come to an agreement with the sellers, we will start moving through the various parts of the offer and making sure we meet our deadlines and satisfy any contingencies.
  • You’ll be in communication with us and your lender during the rest of the process and they will communicate with all parties to make sure everyone stays on track. You’ll get updates from us on next steps and things to prepare - such as scheduling your home inspection, delivering your deposit money and being aware of specific deadlines.
  • As exciting as it is to find the one, this stage of the home buying process can potentially get a little stressful (fair warning)! But we promise you’ll get through it and before you know it you’ll be at the closing table signing the papers to your new home!

CLOSING DAY = HOMEOWNERSHIP

Congratulations! You did it!

It’s finally time to talk homeownership!

Before you get the keys, there are a few final steps to take care of:

  1. Within the week prior to closing, we’ll schedule a final walk through of the home. Typically we try to wait until the sellers have moved out and aim to get in a few days before closing day. We want to make sure there aren’t any issues that need to be addressed prior to closing such as items that were left behind that shouldn’t have been, repairs that weren’t completed, etc., The final walk through lets us make sure everything is all set before you sign on the dotted line.
  2. You’ll receive a Closing Disclosure from your lender that details all final numbers for the home purchase. This will include prorations for things like property taxes, HOA fees, seller credits, your down payment amount, how much you need to bring to closing, etc.

FOR CLOSING DAY

The day is finally here! You get the keys to your new house and officially become a homeowner! Here’s what you’ll need to bring to closing:

You will need to bring a Certified check made payable to the title company or closing company (you’ll be advised by your lender) for your amount due at closing (down payment, closing costs, etc.)Photo ID of anyone whose name is going on the title.

The closing is usually less than an hour and once you’re done signing all of the official paperwork (applicable loan documents, settlement statement, the deed that secures the mortgage), you’ll get the keys to your new home and officially become a HOMEOWNER!

The home is all yours! It’s time to celebrate, take photos in front of the sold sign (because it’s YOUR TURN to have the closing day photo) and let the moving begin! Then it’s time to start making your Pinterest boards come to life, paint the walls any color you want while you eat pizza straight from the box and dance all night to your favorite Spotify playlist!

YOU DID IT!

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