So, you're ready to buy your first house -Congratulations! Let's take a moment to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row.
First, you'll need to check your credit. ✔
It is true that your credit score is a big part of eligiblity for buying a home, and there are plenty of free resources you can use to see your credit score on your own. You may not be aware that there are actually 3 scores that are considered, with one of them more heavily weighted. There are also other aspects that contribute to your home buying eligibility, including amount of your income, length of time on the job, amount of money you have saved, and your debt to income ratio. Eventually you will need to speak with a lender to figure out how the combination of these factors, along with any outstanding student loan balances, will affect your eligibility. A good Realtor will have several lender resources to refer you to for that confidential, no obligation conversation.
Next step - pre-approval $$$
A Pre-Approval let’s you - and your Realtor - know the type of financing you qualify for, which will guide your search. For instance, the value-priced homes that may need work will rquire either a renovation loan to pair with your purchase mortgage, or cash on hand needed for the escrow to satisfy the repairs. A renovation loan requires a higher credit score than an FHA mortgage for which you may already be approved, so you’ll need to know what your options are when it comees to selecting eligible properties. The Pre-Approval will also set up parameters based on property tax limits, insurance requirements, and HOA terms that fit your income.
Another reason to get your Pre-Approval before you start your search is due to a change in standards for setting up showing appointments. Today’s sellers are requiring that a buyer’s agent prove their client is eligbile prior to getting the showing approved.
An important fact to keep in mind is that a Pre-Approval does not lock you in to using that lender, but it is the necessary first step.
Here's Where We Come In
After you figure out how much house you can afford, it’s time to dig deep -
Where do you want to live?
What size home will accomodate your family size?
What specific features are on your wish list?
What are the must-haves?
While you are busy at work each day, your Realtor’s job is to continually search for homes that match your needs. Make sure you choose a Realtor that you trust, feel comfortable with, and enjoy their company because the home search process can be lengthy.
Key Realty’s experienced Buyers' Agents excel in customer service. With access to the largest database of real estate and the latest technology, we surpass the average agent and provide the knowledge and guidance to make the home purchase process as enjoyable as possible!
How does the home search work? 🏡
Once your price range, wish list, and locations have been determined, a customized search is performed several times each day for matching critieria. As new eligible homes become available, they are delivered to you via your preferred method of communication and it is up to you to pass or decide to investigate further. Each home you are interested in is set up to be shown with you and your Realtor using a safe Realtor-only showing database.
Once you have found 'the one', you and your Realtor will sit down and write out an offer. This is where it becomes extremely important to have a knowledgable Realtor to walk you through the legal jargen of purchase agreements. There are many negotiation scenarios that may or may not ensue, but once your offer is accepted by the seller, the loan process begins.
I've heard about the loan process, is it really that bad? 😱
This is where choosing the right lender makes all the difference, and having a true Pre-Approval (not a pre-qual) will define the amount of time it takes to close the loan. Every loan is unique to the many aspects of the purchase, and there may be down-payment assistance programs for you to take advantage that can ease the financial burden, but can also complicate the loan process. The underwriters will process your loan application through several stages, but rest assured that everyone involved in this process is dedicated to helping you accomplish your goal of homeownership.
Who Pays for What? ! $ ?
Both Buyers and Sellers will incur "closing costs," fees for items and services such as Title Insurance, Escrow Set Up, Deed Preparation, etc. In some cases, a Buyer can increase the amount of the offer, to then be a credit at closing, to cover Buyer's expenses. This helps a Buyer keep more of their cash for purchases after closing, but must be arranged at the time of the offer. This savvy negotiation means the Seller will net less than the offer amount, so offer price needs to be large enough to provide for that reduction. We are experts in this fine art of negotiating Buyer's closing costs, and we work closely with your lender to figure out exactly what you may need in closing cost assistance.
Who to Call When You Move ?
Download this handy worksheet for who to call when you move in Northeast Ohio!
Congrats on Your New Home!
With all of the uncharted territory to navigate along the way to home ownership, Key Realty remains by your side - providing valuable guidance. And we help you celebrate your success with a housewarming event after you move in! We look forward to our partnership in guiding you home.