De Moraes column: Home buying season has arrived
School is finally out for summer. That means many folks are headed out to enjoy those family vacations both near and far. But it also means that more home buyers will be out house hunting for a new place to call home. If you’re in the market this summer, the key to getting to the finish line is being be prepared and knowing the home-buying journey.
Do your homework first and figure out what you are looking for. Make a list of “musts” and “wants” and of course what are absolutely deal killers. This is the time to figure out your priorities, but realize they may change once you start looking at actual homes.
This is when you should be thinking about price, type of housing, location, etc. Furthermore, if you are purchasing a home with a partner, this is also the best time to get on the same page with each other.
Now that you have gone through this exercise, the fun begins, and you get to start shopping. First, find a great Realtor that you mesh with and who meshes with you. This person will be the foundation of your process, and likely the person you will rely on the most to help you make the right decisions.
Find a good lender to work with. Preferably a local lender who understands our market and has a proven track record of closing deals. Your Realtor can recommend a few lenders to speak with. Don’t just speak with one lender, though; shop around just as you would a Realtor to see if they offer lending packages that will work for your needs.
Once you have your lender, they will help you analyze your finances and work with you on narrowing down your real budget and what price range you should be looking in.
Time to get your feet on the ground and start looking at homes. Your agent Realtor will provide you lists of homes that meet your needs and hopefully check some of the “must” and “want” boxes I mentioned earlier. Do you own research, too, and look online, browse the internet and send your broker listings that are of interest. If you’re working with a local professional, they will have likely been in the home or know something about it.
Once you’ve had fun and looked at a ton of homes, and found the perfect place, it’s now time to get serious and make an offer on the home that you want to purchase. You will work with your broker to craft the perfect offer that addresses dates and deadlines, contingencies, price and other conditions that must be agreed upon. Trust your broker here — if they are experienced, they have seen all kinds of situations and will be able to give you realistic timetables and outcomes.
OK, so the offer is in, you’ve negotiated with the seller and have finally come to an agreement on all the terms and conditions of your offer, and all signatures are on paper, now it’s time to get to work. Get the place inspected. Most sales contracts will have an inspection period in there that allows you time to hire a professional inspector to advise you on needed repairs. If there are major issues with the home, you can either choose to terminate and find another home, or work with the seller to come to a mutual agreement on the mitigations of any problems. The inspection will mitigate your risk of those lurking issues under the surfaces, such as mold or foundation issues.
Your lender will have been working behind the scenes here as well and has likely ordered your appraisal. The lender needs to be sure that the property value supports the purchase price you are paying so they are comfortable lending a certain amount of money to you to assist in the purchase. A low appraisal can create a hick-up in the process, but can likely be dealt with.
Finally, it’s time to close. This is when you will sign the paperwork, crack the champagne and agonize about all the unpacking you need to do now. Don’t worry, that won’t last long. Congratulations, you’ll be relaxing and enjoying your new home soon enough.
Sean de Moraes is an agent with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s. He can be reached at email@example.com.