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6 Tips For Buying A Home

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Are you looking to buy your first home? Whether you’re aiming for single-family mansion or keeping it lay low with multi-story condo, the process of buying a home remains relatively the same. Do your research, ask any questions you may have and follow these seven steps to ensure a smooth closing.

1. Making an offer: if you’ve come across your dream home then its time to make moves! The first step is “making an offer” which consists of writing up a formal purchase offer and signing a real estate contract. You may feel like it’s a bit early in the game process to begin proposing or singing any dotted lines, however, by law it is required that you sign a legally binding contract in order to move forward in the buying process. Keep in mind that you can add contingencies to any real estate contract such as property inspection, disclosure review, loan approval, appraisal and other matters. These contingencies can work in your favor if unexpected problems arise.

2. Claiming Disclosures: Most states require sellers to disclose documents related to the property being considered. If you’re looking for a property in the south, buyers are usually presented with flood maps and reports. In addition, sellers are required to disclose any issues that might affect the property’s value or habitability. Things to consider include: leaky windows, violations from the city, work done without permits or plans for a major nearby development. If something is disclosed that is a negative factor for you, this is your chance to “out” of the contract.

3. The Appraisal: putting a down payment towards the purchase price means your one step closer to your dream home. Usually the balance on the home is paid off through a bank loan, which must be approved through the appraisal process. The appraisal is also the banks way of ensuring the contract price is aligned with nearby neighborhood homes. The bank holds the right to deny the loan or change contract terms with reasonable cause.

4. Inspections: make sure the home you have chosen is in “move-in” condition. A property inspection consists of inspecting the home from the foundation to the roof and all major systems and components. It is important to follow-up with the inspection so you learn more about the property, this will also help you have a plan in place for maintenance. If any issues arise during the inspection, you may be able to negotiate a fix or credit with the seller.

5. Loan Approval or Commitment: now its time for the bank to approve your credit through an extensive credit, debt and income history. It can take up to 30 days for a complete review, which can result in a loan commitment or full loan approval.

6. The Closing: held either at the attorney’s office or with an escrow officer at a title company, this is the final step to obtaining your new home! Be prepared to sign dozens of papers and contracts detailing your final closing costs and outlined commitment. Be sure you request an early statement, so that there are no last minute discrepancies.