How do we go about buying a home?

How to Buy a Home

When buying a home, it is important to understand the process even if you are enlisting the assistance of a real estate professional. Of course the process starts by speaking with a lender or two and having them "pre-qualify" your purchase. This is done by calculating your monthly debt and income to determine the amount you are qualified to spend for a home.
The second step is to find a real estate agent who is a full-time agent working in the area and price range that you will be searching. The agent should arrange showings for the homes that meet your search criteria. If you find that the agent is only showing you homes that are listed with the agent's company - instruct them that you want to see all the homes that fit your criteria.
Of course, it is not realistic to expect a home to meet all of your criteria, but once you have found a home that you like, it is important to inform the agent of such. Many a buyer loses his first choice by waiting too long to make his offer. If the home is not listed and you are purchasing "by owner" you will want to hire an attorney to prepare your offer.
When making an offer on a property, the agent will advise you of property values for the subject property's neighborhood and any considerations needed for determining your offer. Unless it is a "hot" market, you will want to make an initial offer that is less than the asking price. The agent should advise you on what a reasonable offer would be. Trying to "low-ball" a seller can backfire. Use good judgement.
Once the offer is negotiated it is time to have a home inspection done on the property. The home inspection is designed to uncover latent defects in the property. Do not use the report as a "work list" for the seller. Asking for too many incidental repairs can kill the deal.
At the same time as the home inspection process, you will be also exploring and applying for your financing. If you used a real estate agent, request 2-3 references that you can evaluate or revert back to one of the lenders who performed your initial pre-qualification.
Loan processing requires 2-3 weeks. The lender will order an appraisal for the home, verify your income and credit and prepare the lending package. The lender works with the title company to assure a clear title and once everything is prepared, you will either close at the title company or at a "round table closing" depending upon the state where you reside. Once the transaction is closed, either by title company or round table - you are the owner of a new home!

Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find real estate listings?

How do I find information on properties outside my local area?

What is a buyer's market?

What is a seller's market?

What does FSBO mean?

How do I know if I'm ready to buy a home?

What should I look for in a neighborhood?

What are the financial benefits of owning a home?

What is the difference between market value and appraised value?

Should I sell my existing home before looking for a new one?

Should I take a first time home buyer program?

What do new home buyers need to know?

What online resources are available to first time home buyers?

What books are available for first time homebuyers?

What types of relocation services do real estate agents offer?

What special issues do I need to consider when relocating?

How do I learn about the area to which I'm relocating?

How do I find a relocation company?

How do I plan my move?

How do I find a moving company?

What should I look for in a reputable moving company?

What types of things should be included in a moving quote?

Who provides the moving supplies?

Should I rent my own moving truck?

What is included in real estate closing costs?

How will I know what my real estate closing costs will be?

What closing information goes into the public record?

Who uses public records, and are they free?

How long will it be before we close on our new home?

Where do I find an appraiser?

Why do I need an appraisal?

What is included in the appraisal?

Why do I need to pay an appraiser?

What information do I need to give the appraiser?

What's included in the appraisal report?

Can I get an appraisal online?

How do I know how much to offer?

Will my offer be accepted?

Is the deal final once the offer is accepted?

How do I know what fixtures or decorations the seller is taking?

How do I find a commercial real estate lender?

How do I find a commercial real estate broker?

Where can I find commercial real estate listings?

What is the difference between residential and commercial real estate?

How can I get at the equity in my home?

Can I borrow against all my equity?

What can I use a home equity loan for?

What is sweat equity?

What is equity?

How do I know how much equity I have in my home?

What is a first time home buyer program?

What do I look for in a home inspector?

What does an inspection consist of?

Why do I need a home inspection?

What do I get in the inspection report?

Who should get the home inspection?

What is a fixed-rate mortgage?

How long a mortgage should I get?

Can I pay off my mortgage faster?

What is an adjustable rate mortgage?

How do FHA and VA loans work?

How do I get the best loan terms?

Should I get an interest only loan?

Do I need mortgage insurance?

Who qualifies for no down payment or low down payment loans?

How much of a mortgage can I afford?

How much should I put down on my house?

What's a reverse mortgage?

What will a mover do?

Is real estate a good investment?

What about buying a vacation home?

Do I have to wait for a buyer's market?

What is an MLS listing?

How do I find a licensed real estate agent?

Should I work with a buyer's broker?

How do I pick a real estate agent?

How much will a broker charge?

Can I negotiate the realtor's fee?

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?

How do I get my real estate license?

What services do real estate agents provide?

Should I sell my home myself?

Should a get a loan with no closing costs?

What are closing costs?

How long does it take to complete a real estate course?

How do I find a real estate school?

Can I study for the real estate licensing exam online?

What if I'm relocating for my job?

I am the buyer. Closing on the 25th. Seller wants to stay in house for three days *after* closing. How can I *best* limit my liabilities if someone were to get hurt , brak something ? etc... Is there a legal form online I can download/print ?

i was wondering if i found realestate for sell and sold it to a buyer to make profit and both parties new is that legall why or why not

How do I find a first-time buyer's program and should I use it?

The home we are buying is in good condition. Do we still need an inspection?

Can the seller pay for the home inspection?

My new company is offering me a relocation package. What does that include?

We are selling our home. We don't want to use someone our friends refer. How can we select our own agent?

I know that we need an appraisal for the home we are buying by-owner. How do we go about finding one?

How can I use the equity in my home?

How do we go about buying a home?

Should I invest in real estate?

How can I simplify packing and moving?

How do I go about the process of buying a new home?

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