Ten Steps to Buying a Home

1. Creating your game plan to buy Real Estate

Preparing to buy a home can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Luckily, The Real Estate Professionals are ready to lead you in the right direction toward the home of your dreams. You first may want to ask yourself:

  1. What are you looking for in a new home?
  2. How much cash do you want to invest in your purchase?
  3. Have you talked with a lender regarding qualifying and obtaining a mortgage?

You may want to make a list or brainstorm about the features and amenities that you find most appealing in a new home.

2. Finding Your Realtor

When choosing a Realtor, do not be afraid to meet with many different agents. They are, after all, competing for your business. This competition is what makes the real estate industry successful. Feel free to ask them the following questions:

  1. How many years of experience do you have in this industry?
  2. What is your selling experience in my community?
  3. What services will you provide for me as my agent?
  4.  How will you represent me as a buyer?
  5. Can you provide as much information as I need about homes in the area that fit into my price range?
  6. What is the fee for your services?
  7. Explain the paperwork that I need to sign
  8. What is my contracted timeframe for using you as my agent?

Once you have chosen an agent, it is important to establish specific goals that you would like to meet. Communication with your agent is key!

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3. Starting the Loan Process

It is important as a buyer that you establish some kind of financing before you make any offer to purchase a property. This is a good time to check your credit and make any corrections prior to the “pre-approval” process. This allows lenders to take a look at your finances and credit history in order to make a general assumption for the loan amount.

The pre-approval process is when a lender looks at all of your finances and determines the amount of money you could afford for a mortgage.

In order to get pre-approved for a loan, you need to contact a lender. Your agent can help you help you find a lender that you feel comfortable with, and that offers programs best-suited to your needs.

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4. Starting Your Search

Now it is time to start the exciting search for homes!

Narrow your search by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Where do I want to live?
  2. What is the neighborhood like?
  3. What is the crime rate?
  4. Would I be moving into a good school district?
  5. Are there any zoning restrictions?
  6. How far is this home from my job?
  7. What is my price range?
  8. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I want?
  9. What style of house am I attracted to?
  10. What amenities do I desire (ex. pool, fenced-in yard, etc.)?
  11. Does this home have potential to increase in value?
  12. Is there room to expand if we need to in the future?

Searching for a home is becoming easier than years ago. We now have the Internet as a powerful “home finding tool,” as well as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

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5. Finding Your New Home

Beginning the search for your new home can be a great feeling. It is important that you directly communicate with your real estate agent about the desires you have for your new home.

You may want to first begin by making a list of the features and benefits that are most important in your pursuit of finding a home.

These could be:

  1. Location
  2. Affordability
  3. Size
  4. Style
  5. Design
  6. Amenities

Looking for a home in an area where you feel comfortable is key. If appropriate, instruct your real estate agent to look for homes in the specific areas you have designated.

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6.  Making an Offer on a Home

Selecting a home should be relatively easy once a home falls somewhere in your criteria and the property is desirable for purchase.

You will want to inform your real estate agent what you like about the home, likes and dislikes with the property. Though you will most likely have done this already in a general sense, it is important to do it again for specific homes you have an interest in.

In the negotiation process, your agent will write up your offer based on comparable homes recently sold in the area. Present your offer to the sellers, there may be a counter from the sellers to the buyers. At this point is all part of the negotiations before acceptance of your offer. Once all parties have signed & acknowledged the purchase agreement and all counters, this is when we open escrow.

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7. Financing

Doing your homework about loans will save you time and money. There are thousands of loans out there to choose from, but it is important to keep in mind several key factors that will help you along the way:

  1. How much money should you put down?
  2. How is your credit?
  3. Is this your first home?

Receiving a loan requires completion of a loan application and specific financial documents including pay stubs, rental checks and/or tax returns. You can receive a loan from a number of different financial institutions, namely: commercial banks, credit unions, mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers and private funding.

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8. Insurance

Insuring your home is like making an investment in your future. You work hard to have a home; homeowners insurance protects you and your family from someone or something taking it all away.

There are many different forms of insurance:

Title Insurance – Protects you in the event that the title on your property has a lien, unpaid taxes, or other legalities that would make it invalid.

Homeowners’ Insurance – Protects your home from fire, theft and other liable coverage.

Flood Insurance – Protects your home from flood damage.

Home Warranty – Offers buyers and sellers the peace of mind that should anything unexpected happen (due to normal, every day wear and tear) of the home’s appliances, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems, it will be repaired (or replaced in some cases) for you without costly fees.

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9.  Closing Procedures

The closing process is always changing. It is even referred to as “settlement” or “escrow” in different parts of the country. With increased technology, most closings are completely automated and both parties do not have to be present at the same time to sign.

Closing usually occurs about 30 days after a contract is signed by both parties. This mainly depends on the buyer’s financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, termite inspections, surveys and appraisals).

The closing process is the transfer of the title of the property from the seller to the buyer. The buyer will receive the keys to the home or the deed to the land, while the seller receives payment for the property. The amount the seller receives is based upon the amount that is still owed on the mortgage, any outstanding fees or taxes, and any additional closing costs.

All legal papers are filed with the county’s recorder’s office.

Prior to closing, it is important as the seller to take a final walk through the property to make sure the property’s condition as not changed. It is equally important for both the buyer and seller to make sure the form, verification of property they are signing reflects the agreement of the original sale.

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10.  Settling In

You have unpacked your boxes, arranged your furniture, and feel complete with your moving task.

What’s next?

There is always an adjustment period when you move. It is important to understand that what you, your spouse and/or children may be feeling is completely normal.

Here is a list of a few things that may help:

  1. Urge everyone to talk about how they are feeling.
  2. Get outside and tour the neighborhood or take a drive and visit some new places around the community.
  3. E-mail old friends and neighbors to let them know about your new home and community.

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Whether you are a first time home-buyer, are moving up, or even an empty nester, contact Francine to help you buy your perfect home.

OC Condo Homes
19800 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 300, Irvine, 92612
Tel: (714) 469-7849