Buying real estate can be an overwhelming process right from the first steps, processes and details both for first time buyers and seasoned homebuyers. If you’ve never been this road before, you probably don’t have the slightest clue as to what to expect or how the process begins. Fact is that things work differently in every market, so it is best to speak to your real estate agent on how the process works in your area, but here are some of the common steps in most communities.
The Initial Offer and Contract
When you find the home you desire, the first step is to draft a purchase offer and sign a real estate contract. It may seem pretty early to start signing legal contracts, but by doing this you are you are making a commitment with the seller to start the sales process of the home.
There may at times be “outs”, contingencies associated with many real estate contracts, but most of them will be contingent on loan approval, disclosure review, inspections, appraisals, etc. These types of contingencies are a way to get out from the contract in the event of a disagreement.
Reviewing Disclosure Documents
According to the law, you the buyer must be provided with several documents including a preliminary title report, disclosure documents, copies of specific documents and city reports. Apart from providing these documents, the seller is required to reveal to the buyers and flaws or issues of the house that would affect the value of living there.
The seller would also have to complete a transfer disclosure statement, which will list a series of yes or no questions about the property, location and their experience while living here.
Things such as leaking windows, work done without permits, city violations would have to also be disclosed by the seller. This vital information will provide additional insight into the property you are about to purchase. The seller’s real estate agent is more than likely to reveal any major issues with the specific property before the contract is signed. But if something is disclosed during the review process that you don’t like, you can cancel the contract.
In most cases, a buyer will put a certain amount of money down towards the purchase price of the home, with the remaining coming from the bank in the form of a mortgage. But the bank isn’t going to hand you that money before being assured that the specific property is worth the loan amount, which is one way of making sure that the contract price is actually what the home is worth.
To do this and paid for by the buyer, the bank sends out an unbiased third party appraiser to confirm this information, and if the information doesn’t match up or is false, the bank can reject the loan or change the terms.
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime, and a property contract entitles you to a property inspection. The home inspector will do a thorough inspection of the home from the foundation to the roof, and provide you with a comprehensive report, which is basically your last chance to approve the property as a whole.
Commitment or Loan Approval
Apart from ensuring that the property is worth the same as stated in the contract, the bank will want to completely approve your income, credit and debt history. In addition, the bank will also want to peruse the preliminary title report to ensure there are no liens registered against the property. This process can be a long one and could take up to a month, and should result in a full loan approval or loan commitment.
a few days before the banks closing, it is a good idea to revisit the property to ensure it is in the same condition as you last viewed it. Things to look out for are fixtures included with the sale and any modifications.
Closing The Real Estate Purchase
In most cases the buyer and seller don’t meet for the closing, which generally happens at an attorney’s office. Regardless of the location of the closing, if you’ve taken out a mortgage, be prepared to sign off on several documents and also present your photo ID. Before the closing, you should receive a closing statement to review from your attorney or real estate agent, which will highlight the final closing numbers.