Here at Three Rivers Realty, we deal with a lot of first-time homebuyers who have only a vague idea of what happens during the home buying process. We know that an informed client is a happy client, which is why we’re here to break down The 10 Steps of the Home Buying Process.
Step One: Research Realtors & Reach Out
Buyers need to research their potential realtor first and then reach out for more information on what they can offer them. This is a time where you’ll want to take a look at their character, their market plan, their social media reach, and their reviews, among other things. Get a feel for who they are and what they can do for you. Does it seem like they go above and beyond for both buyer and seller clients?
If the realtor seems honest, competent, hard-working, and effective, you may have found the right one. Once you’ve decided who will be your agent, you’ll need to contact them and meet with them. Make sure that both parties are clear about expectations. Your realtor should initiate meetings or phone calls so everyone knows what to expect during this process. Make sure your goals are aligned.
Step Two: Get Pre-Approved
Now that you’ve chosen your realtor, it’s time to get pre-approved. Really this should be step number one, but a lot of first-time homebuyers reach out to us before getting pre-approved. Getting pre-approved is really important. The loan will be a huge component in how much home you can afford and what type of home you’ll be able to buy.
Have a chat with a reputable financial lender. If you don’t have one you currently work with, we can provide you with a list of mortgage specialists and brokers that will tell you exactly where you stand. You’ll provide them with T4’s, tax returns, and pay stubs, and they will perform a credit check. They input all this info and more into a formula and determine how much they are willing to lend you.
Step Three: Make a Wishlist
At this point, buyers should start making their wishlist: priorities like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms; amenities they want such as pools or open space; location preferences, like near work or near school; must-haves, like a certain size kitchen, and nice-to-haves, like having a fireplace.
Step Four: Alerts & Notifications
Your realtor will set up alerts and notifications based on the loan you were pre-approved for as well as your wish list. You will be notified of new listings that meet your criteria.
Step Five: Showings & Open Houses
You will want to get inside some homes that interest you, which means scheduling viewings and attending open houses. Getting inside the home is the only way to truly know if the home suits you. Of course, if you’re an out-of-town buyer, video chat walk-throughs with your realtor are totally fine.
Steps Six: Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a home that meets your wants and needs, it’s time to make an offer, which your agent will present as a written offer to the seller. Your offer can be accepted, rejected, or countered by the sellers. This is where your realtor will negotiate the best possible deal on your behalf. When a deal is struck, the terms will be written on the agreement of purchase and sale.
Step Seven: Meet the Condition Requirements
Accepted offers often come with conditions, the two most common being financing and a home inspection, which will be included in the agreement of purchase and sale. The financing condition means that the seller will only accept your offer if you have been approved for a mortgage.
This protects buyers from both losing their deposit and being sued. The home inspection condition means that the purchase contract has an additional clause saying you may be able to back out of the sale if there are any significant problems found during a home inspection.
Step Eight: Meet with Your Lawyer
Purchasing a home is not complete until the sale has been legally recorded, which is why you need to meet with a lawyer. Your lawyer will prepare and review your mortgage, title & transfer documents, as well as your purchase agreements, and finalize the sale. If you don’t have a lawyer, don’t worry, we can provide you with a list of recommendations. At this point, start looking into moving companies, or chatting with family and friends to see if they’re able to help on a specified date.
Step Nine: Closing Day
You’re nearing the end, which is the closing day! You might do one last walk-through of the property. Your lender will provide mortgage money to your lawyer. The lawyer will pay the people selling the house, and register it in your name. The lawyer will put your name on the deed. You’ll grab the keys, and the home is now yours.
Step Ten: Celebrate & Plan Your Move
You’re now a homeowner, so, you’ll need to celebrate your win, and plan your move. Make sure to enjoy this time, and set a bright tone for your life in this home. If you have kids, get them excited for the move and spread positivity. You’ll also want to finalize your plans to move, which could involve organizing with friends and family to lend you a hand, renting a cube truck, or hiring a moving company.