If you search the web you'll find tons of tips on the home buying process. As a Licensed Realtor and recent home buyer on Bend, Oregon I thought it was time to put my own set of tips together. I recently closed on a bank-owned home and made 7 other offers on foreclosures and short sales before closing on my dream home. Hopefully these will help you with your process as well.
Top 9 Home Buying Steps for 2009
- Have your Finances in Order – it's time to double check those credit scores, start or continue paying all bills on time, and cut down on major purchases. Use a qualified Financial Advisor or Loan Officer to assist you if you're not sure about your financial status.
- Get Prequalified & Find a Lender – this will help determine your borrowing power, give you an idea of what your monthly payments will be and give you an understanding of the costs involved when purchasing a home. Now is the time to decide and determine how much house you can afford. As you proceed through the home buying process make sure you have a lender that you trust and who answers your questions. Keep your lender updated as to your process and likewise they will keep you updated on interest rate, loan programs and provide you with pre-qualification letters.
- Find a Realtor – finding the perfect home is a lot of work, why not share the responsibility with a qualified Realtor who is familiar with the market, neighborhoods, lenders and home buying process. You can have listings emailed to you daily that match your specific criteria. Not to mentions the services of a Buyer's Agent are free!
- Search and Decide on the House for You – there is no right home only a home that is right for you. Discuss with other decision makers in your household what you collectively "must have", would "like-to-have", and what is a deal-breaker for both the house and the neighborhood. Share this information with your Realtor in the beginning and as it changes throughout your search process.
- Make an offer – there is more to this step than offering a dollar amount. Your Realtor can provide you with the information on the market, cost of homes in your desired neighborhood and advise of a fair price but ultimately the final number is up to you. Your offer will also include your prequalification letter, earnest money, financing information, desired closing date and any contingencies.
- Try and Wait Patiently – first for the offer to be accepted and/or negotiated. If you are making an offer on a short sale it must be accepted by the seller and the bank (more detailed info on shorts sales coming soon!). Between acceptance and closing you will be waiting for your official loan qualification, inspection to be ordered and completed, appraisal to be ordered and completed, a clear title report to be issued, and finally for the loan to fund. Also, now is not the time to order that perfect new dining set – wait to make any additional major purchases until after you've closed on the house as they can affect your credit and ultimately your loan qualification.
- Get a Home Inspection & Insurance – always know what you are getting yourself into. The home inspection will give you the facts surrounding the condition of your home and/or give you an opportunity to negotiate necessary repairs. It is also time to shop for and set up homeowners insurance.
- Closing – it's time to access your down payment money and get your hand ready for signing lots of documents. At this point, the waiting is nearing an end and all of the necessary steps have been completed.
- Moving – Hurray it's time to pack up all your belongings and move into your new home. However, if you have some overlap between your current and housing and your new home now is a great time to get carpets cleaned, walls painted or any other renovations that are easier done without furniture in the house.
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