A: First off, congrats on considering to make the most important financial decision of your lifetime.
The first step in the home buying process is to meet a REALTOR and schedule a buyer consultation. Many folks want to skip this step and jump right into seeing houses (yes, we think that’s the fun part too) but spending a half hour up front reviewing the buying process and current market conditions will save you time, frustration, and money down the line. We’ll prove it.
Second, you’ll want to speak with a lender. Not sure who to pick? We can make some referrals, but remember that shopping for a loan is similar to shopping for a car. Many “dealers” sell the same “product” but rates and terms will vary. You will also want to feel comfortable with the lender, as they will play an important role in the transaction. Ask them about fees they charge. Once you have started the lending process and have a specific property selected, your lender(s) will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE), explaining rates and terms, and you can use these GFEs to do a side-by-side comparison of loan terms. Ethical Homes Does a great flow chart of the loan process
Next, we’ll use your criteria to start searching for properties! Depending on your preferences, we can search for properties on your behalf, or you can search for them on your own using many online tools available – HOWEVER I recommend a hybrid approach where we all keep our eyes out for homes that fit your fancy. We have some pretty innovative strategies for finding you a real deal, contact us and we’ll be happy to share them with you
Once we’ve identified a property (or likely, properties) that are in line with your needs and wants, it’s time to see some real estate. Since we’ve done our due diligence in the preparation of your search, we won’t waste time looking at anything that isn’t right for you.
So you found “the one”… now what?
No, it’s not time to take measurements yet. The offer process has just begun.
We will go over the specific scenario for this particular property and decide our offer strategy. Your REALTOR will prepare and submit the offer, and the seller will respond in one of three ways: 1) ACCEPT your offer 2) REJECT your offer 3) COUNTER offer. If #1 or 2 occurs – we move on. If the seller counters, we can then 1) accept 2) reject or 3) counter, and this continues until #1 or 2 occurs!
Once an offer has been accepted, this is called a ratified contract. From here, we proceed to closing – but several steps occur in the meantime.
*We work together with your lender to secure financing. They will order an appraisal to be done on the property – and for most loans the appraisal must come in at or above the offer price (in other words, a lender doesn’t want to loan you money on something that’s “worth” less than what you’re paying for it).
*We schedule a home inspection to get a professional’s opinion of the property based on what’s behind the walls.
*We coordinate with a title company to schedule the closing
*If you’re buying in a condominium or HOA, we will go over the condo/HOA docs in DETAIL and advise you on what you should be looking for
*The day before closing, you will transfer all the utilities into your name
Day before settlement you will receive a HUD-1 (the document summarizing the financials of the transaction) which will detail the costs you’re expected to bring to closing.
Day of Settlement – we meet with the sellers and the settlement attorney and go over any last minute details of the transaction, you sign your life away, and leave holding the keys to your new pad!
***This is a simplified version of the buyer process to give a general overview. To go into more detail (and customize it based on your criteria) Contact Michael@greenDCrealty.com for further details.