There are seemingly a million things to keep track of when buying a home. Ideally, the buyer’s competent Realtor will handle most of the issues, but there are matters which must be taken care of by and/or monitored by the buyers themselves.
- The first step is choosing a competent Realtor to represent and advise you on your real estate needs. Choose someone who is knowledgeable and easy to work with. One who has recommendations from people you know is usually a good choice.
- A very close second is initiating your home loan. The buyer must choose a lender and get the loan process started – preferably prior to the search for a home. Your Realtor can recommend reputable and reliable lenders to you, but you will need to work closely with the lender to get them the information that they need. Before making an offer on a house, it is necessary to know the price range at which a lender will pre-approve a buyer.
- Then you must determine your “wants” and “needs” in a home. Be flexible about your requirements in the house you buy. Decide what your two or three most important needs are (Lexington Kentucky school districts, quiet street, number of bedrooms, proximity to work) and go from there. Cosmetic issues like paint, carpet, and wallpaper can be easily and cheaply changed, so keep a clear mind when you view homes. Do not be distracted by ugly border, paint colors you hate, or decorating styles that you think are horrendous – these things can be fixed. A master on the 2nd floor, a kitchen that is too small or a tiny back yard are permanent.
Decide on your offer price and make your offer. Expect to negotiate on price and/or terms and do not take it personally. This may involve several back-and-forth counteroffers. When both buyer and seller have agreed on all contractual matters, the house is sold. Your agent will make sure that your lender has a copy of the executed contract.
- If the seller has not had home inspections done prior to listing the home or you choose to have them anyway, your Realtor should advise you to have them done during the inspection period (often 14 days). These could include a property inspection, roof inspection, termite inspection, pool inspection, geologic inspection, chimney inspection, etc. It is important to have these done even if buying the property “as-is,” because as a buyer you need to be sure of the condition of the property you are buying. Your Realtor can provide trust worthy and reliable inspectors from which to choose and will likely schedule and attend the inspections. You will receive written reports within a week.
- Your Realtor will also coordinate matters between the title company, your lender, the appraiser, and the seller’s agent. He or she will ensure that all parties are meeting all contractual timelines.
- Before closing, your loan documents will arrive at the title company and you will sign off on all the closing documents. Depending on the part of the country in which you live, the seller will do the same at a different time.