Whether you are buying your first home or last, it involves many decisions that go beyond simply choosing one you like. If it’s your first home, making the transition to homeowner can be as stressful as it is exciting and it's natural to feel a bit unsure or intimidated by the whole process of buying a home. As your Essex County Real Estate Agent, I will take the time to go through the steps on how to buy a home, from choosing the best town in Essex County for you to finding the right property and moving in..........
The Pre-Approval Process a/k/a How to Buy a Home with Money
One of the very first steps in how to buy a home and is sometimes overlooked is getting a pre-approval. How can you buy a home without money? You cannot! (If you’re a cash buyer, then this does not apply to you; however you will be required to provide proof of funds on cash offers). Not only will most real estate agents not work with you until you are pre-approved, its important for you, as the buyer and your agent to know how much money you are qualified to borrow and you should know and be comfortable with how much you want to spend on housing each month. Its makes no sense to look at homes that you realistically cannot afford or is out of your comfort price range.
The second step in how to buy a home is finding a real estate agent. Lets face it -- with just the stroke of a few keys, you can find myriad resources on the Internet to help you in your search for a new home. Besides property listings, you can find out about specific communities, schools and mortgage options. A real estate agent's role is more than someone to drive you around from property to property. We know the local areas including home values, taxes, utility costs, and school data, and may even be knowledgeable about resources pertaining to your special interests or needs. We are there to guide you from beginning to end; from finding the right house to negotiations and moving in, as well as providing tremendous moral support.
The third step in how to buy a home is determining what would make a home your best home. Searching for a home to buy can be a time consuming and overwhelming process, especially if you have not determined in advance the parameters of your search. With all the different style homes, streets and neighborhoods, "what would make a home your best home?" There is no right or wrong answer to this question but the answer to this question is sometimes hard to determine, especially for a first-time homebuyer.
I recommend that you start with an Essex County home buying shopping list. Your home buying shopping list will contain things that you MUST HAVE or NEED in a home and some things will be what you WANT or WHAT you WISH it has. Its common for home buyers to make the mistake of misinterpreting a WANT as a NEED and sometimes dismiss homes that perfectly fit their NEEDS in search for one that has their WANTS. This doesn't mean that you cannot have what you desire in your home but sometimes your WANTS will try to sneak their way into your NEEDS and you need to be able to tell the difference. Most of the time its your budget thats the determining factor. Keep in mind that the WANT items are things that you would like to have but are NOT essential, things you can live without or that you can change over time.
Download the Home Buying Shopping List (courtesy of HUD) and don't dismiss the home that perfectly fits your needs in search for a home that has your wants. How to buy your best home is easier than you think.
The next step in how to buy a home is great news - "
You've I found my dream home and am ready to make an offer! Before you sign on the dotted line you need to know how to buy a home at market value. What is market value? In short, market value is what a buyer is willing to pay for a home in today's market. How do you determine market value? Your real estate agent is your resource in determining market value by providing you with a Buyers Comparative Market Analysis ("CMA"). Your Buyers CMA is composed of local real estate market data indicating what homes of similar style, in the same community, recently sold for. These sold comps determine market value and now you can make an offer.
Sure, any real estate agent can tell you what to offer on a home for sale but why would you listen to them without seeing proof, and at the same time, educating yourself on what the house is really worth in today's market (market value) - the numbers don't lie. Before writing an offer, a Buyers CMA is a must. In addition your agent will use the results of the Buyers CMA to support your offer during negotiations. Knowing, seeing and understanding how to buy a home at market value is a strong indicator that you are not paying more than what a house is worth today.
Contract Signed a/k/a How to Buy a Home Beyond Attorney Review
Once all parties have agreed and the contract is signed by all parties, attorney review will begin. New Jersey’s 3 day attorney review is a full right of recision period. The 3 day period may be extended by and through the attorneys. Keep in mind that there's no requirement that you use an attorney (in some areas the title company handles the closing but in this area its customary). Once attorney review concludes, inspection and appraisal are scheduled and your second deposit will become due. If inspection issues arise, typically your agent and your attorney will work together, along with the seller's attorney and agent in getting them resolved. Your real estate agent will be right by your side and guiding you through how to buy a home beyond attorney review.
The appraisal is in! The loan process is moving forward. Your loan officer is diligently working with the underwriter to issue your mortgage commitment. The mortgage commitment is a vital role in buying a home. Without it, you cannot buy.
Finally, you’ve reached the last step in how to buy a home “the closing”. The closing is when all the progressive steps explained above about how to buy a home come together from the search for a home, acceptance of the offer, title search, home inspection, mortgage approval, and so on, come together in a final transaction. The documents are ready to sign, the buyer is ready to hand over the purchase price, the seller is ready to transfer title and the buyer walks out with the keys! You have successfully completed the steps on how to buy a home!