Buying a home is about more than real estate – it‘s about your life and your dreams.
A home isn’t a dream home because of its room dimensions. It’s about how you feel when you walk through the front door, and the way you can instantly envision your life unfolding there.
It’s never to early to plan…
Even if your home purchase is 6 months or a year out, it’s never to early to speak with our team and create a plan. We’ll guide you through the home buying process, offer suggestions for mortgage lenders, and answer any questions you may have.
Your first steps toward purchasing a house are getting organized and prepared. You’ll want to collect your financial documents that you’ll be giving to your mortgage professional. You’ll want to brainstorm and come up with your “must haves” and “would likes” for your future home. We suggest determining who your real estate agent is going to be at this point in the home buying process. Your realtor will become your ally, trusted advocate, and all-around go-to person. When you work with our team, we will be representing you and your best interests throughout the real estate transaction. We also strive to make the home purchase process as smooth and fun.
Though some people purchase homes with cash, most home buyers use a mortgage. Before shopping for your new house, you’ll want to answer these questions: 1. What is the maximum monthly amount I’m comfortable paying? This would include the mortgage payment, mortgage interest, homeowners insurance, property taxes, and Home Owners Association (HOA) fees. 2. Based on my max monthly payment what’s the max home price I can afford? 3. Which mortgage lender am I certain I want to work with? This doesn’t need to be settled right away, but you will need to know prior to writing an offer.
We suggest you speak with 3 different lenders. Make sure to ask about their fees so you can comparison shop both fees and interest rates. Also, make sure you are personally comfortable with the loan officer that is going to be guiding you through the important and often confusing process of obtaining a home loan.
Finding “The One”
Now the exciting part – touring houses for sale and finding your next home! During your initial consultation with our team we’ll help you develop a Needs and Wants list that coordinates with your home purchase budget. You’ll want to keep this list in mind when choosing homes to view and during your actual visit. It’s easy to get excited about a home, but if you really need 4 bedrooms and the home only has 3 it’s best to skip viewing it so you don’t fall in love with something that quickly won’t meet your needs. Having a clear list also keeps the home search less stressful. Even if it takes longer to find the right one, you can rest assured that you didn’t miss out on an opportunity just because you didn’t see the home. Remember your goal isn’t to see every house, it’s to find the right house.
Here’s where having an experienced real estate agent on your side benefits you most. There are two significant times during the process where the home buyer and seller negotiate. First is when a buyer submits a purchase agreement to the seller. There are many more factors than just the purchase price that matter. A skilled agent can help you put together the best offer based on the circumstances. The second chance to negotiate with the home seller is after home inspections have been completed. If any major repairs are needed or there are safety concerns, home buyers have an opportunity to ask the seller to repair the items, reduce the purchase price, or a combination there of.
Inspections & Appraisal
Once the home buyer and seller have agreed on price and terms, the home is officially “under contract” or “in escrow”. Typically the entire “escrow period” lasts 21-45 days with 30 days being average. Written into the contract will be a time period that a buyer is allowed to have home inspections and an appraisal.
Typical inspections include a Whole Home that covers an overview of electrical, plumbing, foundation, roof, HVAC, and much more. A Wood Destroying Pest inspection is also recommended. It covers items like wood dry rot and termite damage. Depending on where the home is located it may also be recommended to have a Septic, Sewer, and/or Well inspection. In the Sacramento area most inspection costs are covered by the buyer though in some cases the seller may pay for some of them. On average a home buyer can expect to pay $450-700 for inspections.
An appraisal is a separate item from the home inspection. An appraisal protects the home buyer and their mortgagor from overpaying for the home. If you are using a home loan to purchase you will very likely be required to pay for an appraisal (around $500-600). If you are purchasing with cash you can choose whether you’d like an appraisal or not. An appraiser has a limited list of safety items they are looking for in a home. Their primary focus is on the value of the house and property.
Once you’ve completed inspections and negotiated with the seller regarding any repairs you are onto the final steps of the home buying process. Your mortgage lender is going to be working hard to have all of the documentation reviewed so that they can fund the loan on time. Once the loan has been approved, the home buyer will be asked to meet with a notary to sign all of the documents. This process takes roughly an hour and it’s best if your realtor and loan officer attend this appointment so they can answer any questions you may have. Once everything is signed and the escrow office has received all the necessary funds from the mortgage company and the home buyer, they will send the documents to be recorded with county of purchase. Once it’s recorded you will officially be a home owner!
Home Ownership & Beyond
Whether this is your first home purchase or your tenth it’s always exciting to be moving into a new home. There are so many possibilities, new neighbors to meet, or maybe even an entirely new community to learn about! You’ll need to put the utilities into your name – water, electric, cable, internet, and trash. If you have children attending school you’ll need to get them registered. Our real estate team can help you through each step. Even better – once you are clients of ours, you are part of the LM Team family! We are always here to provide local vendor names, community services, answers to your questions and more. And of course, you’ll always be on our invite list to our annual Spring Fling Party, Fall Pictures and more 🙂