SPEAK WITH A LENDER
There are actually many steps in the home buying process, but the first one is the most important one as well. Get Pre-Qualified! While the calculator below can give you a very general idea of what you can afford, it can't possibly take into account all the variables when applying for a mortgage. Therefore, it's extremely important that you speak with a lender. Everyone's situation is different so talking to a lender (or several!) is necessary to know what you can truly afford.
A lender can explain what programs you might qualify for, what kind of downpayment you might need, what kind of interest rate you might get and much more. Have them break down for you what your monthly payments would be at various price points and don't forget to include taxes and homeowners insurance.
Getting pre-qualified can save a lot of time since you won't then be shopping in the wrong price range. Getting pre-approved is even better! This will also carry more weight when you do find that perfect place and want to make an offer.
And finally, shop around. Different lenders sometimes have different products or one may be able to get you a better rate than another.
Not sure where to start? Contact Trey Thomas with Century 21 Mortgage at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://treythomas.c21mortgage.com/ You can also try your own bank or credit union as a starting point.
HIRE AN AGENT TO WORK FOR YOU
Here in South Carolina, it's required by law that agents explain the various kinds of "agency" or representation. The following break down gives you the most basic of explanations. (Any agent you speak with should provide you with the SC State Agency Disclosure Brochure and give you a complete explanation.)
-A listing agent represents the seller.
-A Buyer's agent represents the buyer.
-A Dual agent represents both the buyer and the seller.
-Designated agents: one represents the buyer and one represents the seller, but both are from the same Real Estate Company.
Having an agent to represent you as a buyer is a smart move. It puts someone in your corner looking out for YOUR best interests. Even if you are looking at new construction, that sales agent is representing the builder. Wouldn't you like someone looking out for YOU? When you hire me as your representative, I work for you helping you from start to finish. From house hunting to negotiating contracts, inspections to closing, my job is to guide you through the process as smoothly as possible and answer all your question. And my buyer representation is always free.
NOW THE FUN BEGINS!
As your agent, I will search the MLS based on the criteria you give me for your perfect home! I'll ask you many questions about the type of home you are looking for to try to find the best matches for you. You can also search for listings on my site as well. I will arrange the appointments and we'll go take a look!
I'll help you keep track of the homes viewed by giving you a packet which includes a detailed listing of each house. It's also a good idea to write down your impressions of the homes and any important features they have or are lacking. Take into consideration what taxes on the property might cost, is there a Home Owners Association and what is the cost of dues, is there a termite bond...
MAKING AN OFFER
So you've found that perfect place and now you want to make an offer! I will pull up comparables of other homes that have recently sold in the same neighborhood and other information to help you decide what you would like to offer. Be sure to consult with your lender before hand to make sure everything is in good order once your offer is accepted.
INSPECTIONS and LAWYERS and CLOSINGS, oh MY!
Ok, so now you have a contract! But we are far from done. You want to be sure that you've made your contract contingent on a satisfactory home inspection. Depending on the outcome, there may be more negotiating to be done for repairs or credits towards repairs. Your lender will most likely require an appraisal as well. Then there is a termite inspection because, well, this is South Carolina!
During this time you will still be in close contact with your lender making sure they have all the necessary documentation to finalize your loan. Don't be surprised if they are asking for documents right up until the very end!
Meanwhile, the lawyer will be conducting a title search and preparing the necessary documents. At least a day before closing, you should have a chance to view the settlement statement. This is a breakdown of all the expenses for both the buyer and seller pertaining to the property. It will also list the amount of money you need to bring to the closing table (typically via certified bank check). The lawyer will review the settlement statement in detail at closing, but it's important to see it ahead of time to check for errors and to be sure there are no surprises.
At long last, comes the day of closing! Here in SC, it is handled by an attorney, typically of the buyer's choosing. Get your signing hands ready and be sure you have your picture ID! Take the keys and congratulations! You have a new home!
While many transactions go smoothly, there are often issues that come up during the process. I'm here to trouble shoot any problems that may come up and help get you to the closing table. Similarly, there's a whole team of additional professionals to assist you along the way...your lender, the home inspector, the lawyer, etc. If you are new to the area or not sure who to use, I can provide you with contact information for various professionals. Be sure you check with several, ask lots of questions, get references and be comfortable with your selections.
The whole home buying process can be as little as a couple of weeks or as long as a few months, but on average once you select a home and enter into contract, it typically takes about a month to close.
Should you have any more specific questions about the home buying process, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to answer them!
Maria@MariaPettisHomes.com or 843.860.3901