10 Steps to Buying a Home
Buying a home is probably the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make. Purchasing a home is not just a dollars-and-cents investment; It’s an investment in your life. It will create a sense of stability and identity for you and your family. Regardless of how times change, owning a home remains the cornerstone of the American dream.
1: Is it Time to Buy?
The better question is, are you prepared for the process? Buying a home is a big decision and huge commitment. But the truth is, there is rarely a bad time to buy a good home, especially when you know what to expect.
2: Find an Agent
A good real estate agent is priceless when you are looking to purchase a home. At Boll Realty, we’ve been family-owned and operated since 1975. Our agents have extensive experience in helping people find places to call home in Otter Tail County and the surrounding area.
3: Getting Pre-Approved
At Boll Realty, we have a substantial network of trusted professionals involved in the home buying process, including lenders and agents. We’ll help you find a trusted lender who will help you navigate the loan pre-approval process.
It is important to understand your finances and thoroughly consider your ability to manage them. While it is common to put 20% down on a home purchase, many lenders now a settle for much less, plus you may find a first-time home buyer program which will require as little as 3% down. Once you’ve determined how much you can put down on a home, your lending agent will help you with pre-approval, which will give you a clear idea how much home you can afford.
4: The Perfect Home in the Right Location
You probably have a picture in your mind of the home you want and an idea of the neighborhood you want live in. Finding a house that fits those requirements and falls within your budget, can be a daunting process. At Boll Realty, we believe one of our most important jobs is to help you discover what things are absolute must-haves, and what things are negotiable or “pluses”. We’ll make sure to cover important factors that might easily be overlooked, including location, neighborhood, schools and infrastructure.
5: Price Negotiations
One of the greatest advantages of having an experienced agent on your side is our ability to negotiate a fair price on your new home. At Boll Realty, we’ve been doing this for over 40 years. We understand the market and know negotiable points, such as the need for improvements, the value of neighboring properties, and planned infrastructure upgrades. We’ll assist you in coming up with a fair offer, and help you proceed when the seller responds.
6: Home Inspections
At Boll Realty, we work with the best home inspectors in the industry, and will make recommendations to you on hiring someone you can trust to reveal any known problems with your future purchase.
We’ll take it a step further and attend the home inspection personally. We’ll help you understand what your inspection report means and how you can use that information in your negotiations.
7: Home Inspection Findings and Negotiations
If the home inspection results in problems or potential problems, your Boll Realty agent will make sure you understand how that affects the home’s value. We’ll help to make certain the problem areas are fixed or the estimated cost of repairs is negotiated off the final price of the home. We’ll also help you to understand if your demands are unreasonable or fruitless, and could result in your losing the opportunity at buying a home you really love.
8: Financial Monitoring
At Boll Realty, we’ll regularly evaluate the status of your loan throughout the purchasing process. You’ll want to keep in mind, however, that pre-approval is not final approval, and any large purchases, such as buying a car or boat before the sale is finalized, could jeopardize the loan or lower the amount for which you’ve been approved. It’s imperative you keep communication open with your Boll Realty agent, being upfront about your situation and answering all calls and emails as quickly as possible.
You’ve found a place to call home, negotiated a fair price, secured a mortgage, and closing day is finally here! Closing consists of all parties sitting down to sign documents on the agreed upon purchase. So, what can you expect and how can you be ready for it?
Your Loan: By this time, you should have a settlement statement from your lender in your possession. This gives an accounting of your exact payments, the terms of your loan and additional fees you’ll pay (these are “closing costs,” which typically end up being 2% -7% of the negotiated price of the property). You’ll need to compare the estimate your lender initially gave you with this document and make certain they line up. Ask for explanations on any inconsistencies.
Final Walk Through: Typically, the homebuyer is allowed a final “walk-through” before closing. This gives you a chance to see that the seller has moved everything out and not left behind a mess for you to deal with, to ensure that the property hasn’t suffered any damage since it was last viewed, and to check to see that any of the negotiated repairs or upgrades agreed upon after the inspection have been made.
Come Prepared: Be sure to bring all of your paperwork with you to the closing. Your Boll Realty agent will supply you with a detailed list of everything you’ll need, including your ID, home inspection reports, seller agreement and more. Be prepared to sign your name. A lot. And then some more!
10: A Place to Call Home!
When all of the paperwork has been signed, you’ll be handed the keys to your new home! Congratulations, you’ve got a place to call your own, and a real estate agency that will be here for you when you need us. You can count on Boll Realty to understand your home’s current value and market trends. We can even make suggestions on local contractors when it comes time for repairs, remodeling or rebuilding.
Investing in a Home Inspection is a Good Idea
More and more buyers are electing to have a home inspection done at their expense…this can expose potential problems that can be taken care of or negotiated to be taken care of between the buyer and seller and selling price may be adjusted.