1. Decide to buy.
Although there are many good reasons for you to buy a home, wealth building ranks among the top of the list. We call home ownership the best accidental investment most people ever make. But, we believe when it is done right, home ownership becomes an intentional investment that lays the foundation for a life of financial security and personal choice. There are solid financial reasons to support your decision to buy a home, and, among these, equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits stand out.
Base your decision to buy on facts, not fears.
2. Hire your agent.
The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen separate individuals insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyers agents, sellers agents, bankers, title researchers, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be orchestrated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout.
A Buyer Representation Agreement must be in place between buyers and agent. This is for the protection of all involved. The agreement spells out the responsibilities of all parties so there are no misunderstandings. Without this agreement by legal definition the agent represents the seller in a transaction.
Seven main roles of your real estate agent
A Buyers Real Estate Agent:
3. Secure financing.
While you may find the thought of home ownership thrilling, the thought of taking on a mortgage may be downright chilling. Many first-time buyers start out confused about the process or nervous about making such a large financial commitment.
From start to finish, you will follow a six-step, easy-to-understand process to securing the financing for your first home.
Six steps to Financing a Home
It is critical that the buyer be pre-approved by a lender before beginning the property search. Knowing how much house you can afford affects your search. The lender will provide a qualification letter that is normally submitted when making an offer. It tells the seller that the buyer is capable of completing the purchase.
4. Find your home.
You may think that shopping for homes starts with jumping in the car and driving all over town. And its true that hopping in the car to go look is probably the most exciting part of the home-buying process. However, driving around is fun for only so long if weeks go by without finding what youre looking for, the fun can fade pretty fast. Thats why we say that looking for your home begins with carefully assessing your values, wants, and needs, both for the short and long terms.
Questions to ask yourself
5. Make an offer.
When searching for your dream home, you were just that a dreamer. Now that youre writing an offer, you need to be a businessperson. You need to approach this process with a cool head and a realistic perspective of your market. The three basic components of an offer are price, terms, and contingencies (or conditions in Canada).
Price the right price to offer must fairly reflect the true market value of the home you want to buy. Your agents market research will guide this decision.
Terms the other financial and timing factors that will be included in the offer.
Terms fall under six basic categories in a real estate offer:
6. Perform due diligence.
Unlike most major purchases, once you buy a home, you cant return it if something breaks or doesnt quite work like its supposed to. Thats why home owners insurance and property inspections are so important.
A home owners insurance policy protects you in two ways:
The property inspection show expose the secret issues a home might hide so you know exactly what youre getting into before you sign your closing papers.
The final stage of the home buying process is the lenders confirmation of the homes value and legal statue, and your continued credit-worthiness. This entails a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final check of your credit and finance. Your agent will keep you posted on how each if progressing, but your work is pretty much done.
You just have a few preclosing responsibilities:
On closing day, with the guidance of a settlement agent and your agent, youll sign documents that do the following:
As long as you have clear expectations and follow directions, closing should be a momentous conclusion to your home-searching process and commencement of your home-owning experience.
8. Protect your investment.
Throughout the course of your home-buying experience, youve probably spent a lot of time with your real estate agent and youve gotten to know each other fairly well. Theres no reason to throw all that trust and rapport out the window just because the deal has closed. In fact, your agent wants you to keep in touch.
Even after you close on your house, you agent can still help you:
Attention to you homes maintenance needs is essential to protecting the long-term value of your investment.
Home maintenance falls into two categories: