The process of buying a house is a fluid formula. Each transaction is different, and has different hurdles to overcome. This is why I make it my business to understand, anticipate, and prepare for every possible outcome. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing. Sometimes I have to fight for you. One way or another, my job is to work towards a done deal with favorable terms for you, my client. Below is the basic process that we will follow to turn the concept of your property purchase into a reality. Depending on the property and the offer we write for it, it may have more or less steps to completion, but this is a general outline.
1) Get Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified
It is important that you know what you can afford. I know lenders that I trust and recommend to my potential buyers to help them finance their purchase. If you are already talking to a lender, that’s fine, just be sure to let me know who they are and how to contact them so that I can communicate and coordinate with them directly.
2) Determine Your Desired Outcome and Needs
Are you a first-time home buyer with a growing family? Are you an investor looking for a flip? Are you relocating to an unfamiliar neighborhood for a job? Do you need a place to park an RV? I will meet with you to determine the criteria for your home search. The more specific you can get, the better the results I can return.
3) Home Search with Regular Reevaluations of Number 2
Many people want to skip ahead to this one because it’s fun! However, it’s important that the previous steps happen first. This is the step where everything becomes real. We will go out and evaluate properties in person, then re-compare them to the search criteria we’ve been using to try to find more of what you are looking for.
4) Narrow/Specialize the Search
Now that we’ve found some properties that we like, it’s time to narrow them down. I access records and databases to see if any of the properties show any immediate red flags. I also compare them to each other to reconcile the best value and perks for the price and terms. Finally, I will present these to you for your final say. If nothing strikes your fancy, then we can go back to number 2 and further narrow our search.
5) Find “The One” and Determine an Offer Strategy
“We’ll take it!” Not so fast. It is important, in any market, to act quickly, but every offer requires some level of strategy. We will think critically about the property, and come in with the strongest offer we can muster.
6) Write the Offer
I will write up the offer and let you know what it contains. You will get a chance to read it and ask questions about the language before it gets sent off. I will not send it off until you are satisfied.
7) Negotiate With the Seller to Get the Offer Accepted and Signed
Sometimes just sending off a pile of papers to get signed is not enough to grab the attention of the seller. I will communicate with the seller on your behalf and relay any information that comes to light while I try to get them to consider our offer. As enticing as a big number on a sheet of paper can be, sometimes the seller just wants to know that the offer is real, and the buyers are truly prepared. I will assure them that this is the case. Sellers may go for more favorable terms with trustworthy people, over a high purchase price.
8) Due Diligence with Regard to Evaluating the Property for Flaws
Once an offer is accepted, there will most likely be an inspection. I or one of my associates will be there for the inspection, and you should be present as well. Inspection reports tend to paint a more horrifying picture than reality, because an inspector that can’t find flaws is not a very good inspector. I would be suspicious of an inspection report that gave a 100% clean bill of health for any property. This is why it is important to be there when he finds flaws, and hear directly from his mouth why they are a problem. This way you can see just how serious every issue truly is. I will also have escrow do a title report and any other investigations that we have agreed upon in the offer. If at this point the property condition is not up to your satisfaction, then this is your last chance to back out.
The lender will order an appraisal on the home. This happens for a few reasons. In the contract, if the appraisal comes in lower than the offer, then that might affect the purchase price. There are ways to avoid this, or make it work to our advantage if we plan well in steps 5, 6 and 7. The appraisal can also change how much your lender will lend you. This is why it is important that we make an offer that is fair and correct from the get go.
10) Closing & Possession
Escrow will collect the money for the deal, and have you sign the paperwork that transfers the property from the seller’s name to your own. You will also receive Title Insurance. Once both the buyer and seller have signed everything, escrow will disburse the money for the transaction to the proper parties and you may take possession of your new property as per the terms of the deed. I’ll make sure you get your keys.