Home buying process
Real Estate Buyers Guide for buying a home.
Whether it is your first time or your 21st time, you may still have questions. Buying a new home can seem like a daunting process, but we want to assure you that our goal is to make the process as easy, carefree, and rewarding as possible.
Over the past 24 years, we have worked with many buyers in the Bridgewater area, such as yourself. We have an expanded team to work more personally with each buyer and have an exclusive “buyers agent” who only works with our buyers to ensure the process is seamless! We have had many home buying experiences with all kinds of buyers from all areas moving to Bridgewater. It is our goal to share some of our personal experiences to help you make informed decisions. This information was put together with that focus in mind. It should help inform you of what to expect & what is expected of you as a buyer. You’ll find many helpful suggestions to make informed decisions, as an educated buyer, through each step of the purchasing process.
We know that you will have lots of questions, that is our role!! Don’t be afraid to ask me or someone on our Team as every situation is unique, and many questions will get answered along the way and not right out of the gate. That is part of the process. This is the best part of having a Real Estate Professional like myself or someone on my team. It is our job to get you home and your answers.
As you embark on this mission to find the perfect home, remember that we will be with you every step of the way.
Now let's start the “HOUSE HUNTING.”
Finances First Yes, it is a topic that many don’t like to discuss, obviously for this venture, it is the most important. It has been our experience to get this right out of the way and have it dealt with first. The buying experience usually goes smoother if financing is secured before you start searching.
Most home buyers find that they need to finance at least part of their home purchase. So, in many respects, owning your dream home hinges on your ability to get the financing you need in a price range you can afford.
As Real Estate Agents, we work with many Mortgage Brokers. If you would like, we could recommend you to someone who works in the area and can meet with you in the comforts of your home or office. The lenders we deal with are extremely well-versed in the process and work with us daily, giving us better and more efficient correspondence.
Banks VS Brokers While many people prefer to deal only with their regular banking institution, it is suggested that you shop around to find a lender and a loan most suited to your needs. There are so many different options available to consumers today, and with today’s competitive market, it may literally pay you to do as much homework as possible upfront. Banks are not the only source anymore for obtaining a loan to buy a home: there are plenty of other options available as well. Private Lenders, Credit Unions, Finance Companies, Mortgage Lenders & Banks
Once you narrow down which type of lender can best meet your needs, the next step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Pre-Approval is a firmer commitment on behalf of the mortgage company and a more formal process that includes a credit check & employment verification. During a pre-approval, the mortgage company does most of the full work of full approval. There are a few exceptions, and the lender obtains a credit check to verify monthly payments on installment loans & credit cards and check payment history on these loans.
If you have been pre-approved, you can shop for a house with more certainty and less anxiety because you’ll be able to feel comfortable during the process knowing you are shopping within your price range. This can give you an advantage as a buyer in the market place, especially when the seller is considering multiple offers.
However, a pre-approval doesn’t always guarantee a mortgage. Lenders still need to see an appraisal (if necessary), verify information, re-check credit & if the property meets their qualifications for the lending of the finances. It is still good to make sure you have your pre-approval done, and it does save a lot of headaches once an offer has been made.
When you go for your pre-approval, below is a checklist of information to assist your lender.
– Pay Stubs & Employment history ( Employers Name, Address, Dates of Employment)
– Social Security numbers
– Bank Statements from the past 3 months, including names, addresses, account numbers, and balances of depository institutions.
– Credit information Ie: Credit card balances, payments, account numbers, and creditors' names.
– Tax Returns
– Stocks, Bonds, Investment accounts
– Automobiles Owned, Make, Model, and Year of each vehicle.
– Other Income
And if you are:
– Renting (landlord's name, address, monthly rental payment history.
– Self Employment ( 2 Years and current year-to-date profit and loss statement and balance sheet.
– Divorced & Separated ( copy of divorce agreement, along with amendments and a 12-month payment history of alimony/child support payments)
Some lenders may require more information depending on their criteria. It might look like the FBI is interviewing you with all the required information. Times certainly have changed, and the financial institutions are getting strict as the economy changes.
Interviewing your lender
Some people find it helpful to use a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers don’t work for any specific lending institution. Their role is to find the lender with the terms and rates that will best suit the buyer.
Although lenders have many questions and sometimes even stringent guidelines that you must conform to, do not forget that you too have the option of “Interviewing” your lenders to make sure they meet your needs as well. After all, it is your money that you are giving them. We have compiled a list of questions below that you might want to ask your lender. If you haven’t already gone through the mortgage pre-qualification process, you will need to find a good lender to assist you during the purchasing process and for as long as you have your mortgage.
• What can I expect from the process?
• What lenders do you work with?
• What can I afford?
• What are closing costs?
• What are the Features of your different mortgages?
• What are your “rates” and “terms.”
• What are the features in the mortgage when looking at penalties & allowances?
• What happens if a payment is missed?
• Will mortgage insurance be required?
• Will there be a payment adjustment at closing? How much?
• Can I pay my property tax with my mortgage payment?
• Does your lender offer any rewards for using them?
• When will the payment come out?
• Is there anything about you or your company that I haven’t asked that I should know?
• Can I have a copy of the contract?
Finding your dream home!
If you logically analyze your needs ahead of time, you can make an educated, informed decision rather than an emotional one. Visit our “wants and needs page” to determine what exactly your family needs are. We have put together some things you should consider when starting the house-hunting procedure. This will help you to prioritize which characteristics are most important to you in a home.
Finding the Perfect House!
Ok, so we know there is no perfect house.. but Perfect for you. We know that you have evaluated your priorities, and you are ready to hit the streets. If you have done your homework to this point, the actual search should be the easy and fun part! SHORT & SWEET, we say!
The first thing we will do is put your criteria on the computer. We will put it in Our Listing Finder and on the MLS web search database. Within a few minutes, we will have properties that match your desires.
Then we will narrow down the ones you actually want to view. We like to ask our clients to do a drive-by of the property, take a day, drive the neighborhood, check out the house's layout, neighbors, and surroundings… Sometimes pictures can be deceiving! We also suggest you bring a notebook!
When you are having your co-pilot or yourself pulled over to the side of the road ( we want you back in one piece ), ask yourself these questions~
– Is the yard suitable, size, landscaped etc. etc
– Do the surrounding homes look comparable
– What is the structural condition
– Are there any visible major repairs
– Age of the home
Then, we will decide, consider all things and see if it is worth a closer look.
We will make sure you have a cut sheet of the property. This will tell you the interior specs. And information surrounding the size, building details, taxes, etc., etc.
Don’t be surprised if the first house you look at is the one you buy. On the other hand, don’t be disappointed if you still have not found the right one for you after looking at a dozen houses. We will keep looking until we find the house you want to call home!
Once we get to the house… it's time to write an offer! This is where we get to do what we enjoy doing best… Negotiating!
First, we will sit down and put together an offer (contract), a sort of “WISH LIST,” if you will, of all the things we will ask for and negotiate with the home you have chosen. You will want to review it carefully to be sure it includes all your terms, how much you want to offer, and other items you hope to include in the offer.
It is in our experience to put every little thing you would like within the contract not to forget your requests later and so there are no doubts about what your wishes are.
When we get to this process, we will ensure that you are fully aware of the contract terms and conditions. We will make sure all your timelines are in place, and we will make sure you won't forget a thing!
Allow one of us the opportunity to assist with your purchase and ensure you are not overpaying and getting the best home for you and your family!
Thank you for your time
Home Selling Team