HOME BUYING PROCESS

GET PREQUALIFIED AND OR PREAPPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE

Before you start looking for a home, you will need to know how much you can actually spend. The best way to do that is to get prequalified for a mortgage. To get prequalified, you just need to provide some financial information to your mortgage banker, such as your income and the amount of savings and investments you have. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much we can lend you. This will tell you the price range of the homes you should be looking at. Later, you can get preapproved for credit, which involves providing your financial documents (W-2 statements, paycheck stubs, bank account statements, etc.) so your lender can verify your financial status and credit.

Real estate agents are important partners when you’re buying or selling a home. Real estate agents can provide you with helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that isn’t easily accessible to the public. Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent – they’re compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house.

Start touring homes in your price range.
It might be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit. You will see a lot of houses! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home.

Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:
  • Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
  • Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
  • Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly
It’s also important to evaluate the neighborhood and make a note of things such as:
  • Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
  • How much traffic does the street get?
  • Is there enough street parking for your family and visitors?
  • Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation?

Take as much time as you need to find the right home.
Then work with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood.
Once you and the seller have reached agreement on a price, the house will go into escrow, which is the period of time it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process.

Typically, purchase offers are contingent on a home inspection of the property to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing. Your real estate agent usually will help you arrange to have this inspection conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. This contingency protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty if the inspection reveals significant material damage.

Both you and the seller will receive a report on the home inspector’s findings. You can then decide if you want to ask the seller to fix anything on the property before closing the sale. Before the sale closes, you will have a walk-through of the house, which gives you the chance to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.

The Appraisals As An Important Part Of The Home Buying Prosses.
A real estate appraisal helps to establish a property's market value–the likely sales price it would bring if offered in an open and competitive real estate market.
The lender will require an appraisal when the buyer ask to use a home or other real estate as security for a loan, because it wants to make sure that the property will sell for at least the amount of money it is lending.
Don't confuse a comparative market analysis, or CMA, with an appraisal. Real estate agents use CMAs to help home sellers determine a realistic asking price. Experienced agents often come very close to an appraisal price with their CMAS, but an appraiser's report is much more detailed--and is the only valuation report a bank will consider when deciding whether or not to lend the money.
About Appraisers and Appraisals
• Appraisers are licensed by individual states after completing coursework and internship hours that familiarize them with their real estate markets.
• The lender might use an appraiser on its staff, or contract with an independent appraiser. If you are allowed to choose the appraiser, and it isn't someone the lender is familiar with, the results might be subject to review before they are accepted
• The appraiser should be an objective third party, someone who has no financial or other connection to any person involved in the transaction.
• The property being appraised is called the subject property.
• The buyer will probably pays for the appraisal when apply for your loan.
What You'll See on a Residential Appraisal Report.
Appraisals are very detailed reports, but here are a few things they include:
• Details about the subject property, along with side-by-side comparisons of three similar properties.
• An evaluation of the overall real estate market in the area.
• Statements about issues the appraiser feels are harmful to the property's value, such as poor access to the property.
• Notations about seriously flawed characteristics, such as a crumbling foundation.
• An estimate of the average sales time for the property.
• What type of area the home is in (a development, stand alone acreage, etc.).
Residential Appraisal Methods.
There are two common appraisal methods used for residential properties:
Sales Comparison Approach.
The appraiser estimates a subject property's market value by comparing it to similar properties that have sold in the area. The properties used are called comparables, or comps. No two properties are exactly alike, so the appraiser must compare the comps to the subject property, making paperwork adjustments to the comps in order to make their features more in-line with the subject property's.
The result is a figure that shows what each comp would have sold for if it had the same components as the subject.
Cost Approach.
The cost approach is most useful for new properties, where the costs to build are known. The appraiser estimates how much it would cost to replace the structure if it were destroyed.
So What Does the Appraisal Mean to You?
Your personal approval is accomplished early in the loan process, but final loan commitment usually hinges on a satisfactory appraisal. The bank wants to be sure its investment is covered in case you default on the loan.
If the property appraises lower than the sales price, the loan might be declined, but that isn't the only hurdle it must pass. Other facts on the appraisal can be a problem, too:
• The bank probably won't like it if the estimated time to sell the property is longer than the area average.
• If the appraiser notes that entry to the property is from a private, shared road the bank might want to see a road maintenance agreement signed by everyone who uses the road, verifying that maintenance is shared by all parties. Those are just a few examples of negatives that could stall your purchase. The lender will study the appraisal carefully before determining whether or not the property qualifies to serve as security for your loan.
An Appraisal Isn't a Home Inspection!
Appraisers make notations about obvious problems they see, but they are not home inspectors. They do not test appliances, look at the roof, check the chimney or do any other typical home inspection tasks. Never count on an appraisal to help you determine if the home is in good condition.
If the Appraisal Comes in Low.
Don't panic if the appraisal comes in low, because there are often steps you can take to make the deal work. If the appraisal uncovers other problems, remember that most problems are correctable. Try to keep your cool and work through issues one step at a time.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of paperwork involved in buying a house. Your lender will arrange for a title company to handle all of the paperwork and make sure that the seller is the rightful owner of the house you are buying.

At closing, you will sign all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. It typically takes a couple of days for your loan to be funded after the paperwork is returned to the lender. Once the check is delivered to the seller, you are ready to move into your new home!

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