Purchasing a home without knowing what to expect during the home buying process is never advised. How will you know what paperwork you need? Which real estate professionals to call on for guidance? What fees need to be paid, and when?
Helpful Tips During The Home Buying Process
Understanding what to expect from the experience can help you prepare for each step, go through the process smoothly, and purchase your dream home while protecting your investment. Here are some tips that you should know before buying a home.
Organize Your Finances
Your finances, particularly your credit report, tell a story about how you manage your money. Knowing what these things are saying about you before you apply for a mortgage is critical. Check your credit reports and credit score, both of which determine your interest rate and other loan terms, so that there are no surprises when you do apply. Everyone is entitled to one free credit report per year, so be sure to ask for yours early in the home-buying process.
Understand the Mortgage Industry
Not all mortgages and lenders are the same, so it’s in your best interest to do some research before you choose your loan. Know your debt-to-income ratio as this will determine the type of loan for which you qualify and determine if you’ll need discount points or need to pay mortgage insurance. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations on lenders. They should have a strong sense of the reputation of different lenders in your area.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a loan gives you the chance to speak with a lender about what they’re willing to offer and to give you a better understanding of the cost of the house you can afford. Pre-approval can also give you a competitive advantage if you’re one of several buyers who have made an offer on a house. With a letter from a lender stating that you can afford the mortgage of the house you’re interested in, sellers may be more likely to take your offer seriously.
Determine Your Wants and Needs
Becoming familiar with what’s available in your real estate market and how that matches your budget and desires can help you find a home more quickly. Consider the things that you absolutely must have in your new home and the things that are not mandatory. . Don’t forget to also think about resale value, as it’s likely that you’ll eventually sell your home later on in life.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents operate differently in each state. Some represent only buyers or sellers, while others can be neutral facilitators for both parties. Research the roles and responsibilities of a real estate agent in your area to better understand how they can help you in the home-buying process. After collecting information, choose a few real estate agents to call and discuss your home-buying goals, their experience in the field, and other helpful details that will help you choose an agent. Some specialize in particular types of homes or neighborhoods, which may be helpful.
Begin Searching for a Home
There are dozens of places to find home-listings. From online listings, to newspapers, to private, agent-only sources. You can even make a visit to your target neighborhood to drive or walk around and look for “for sale” signs in the area. Foreclosures and houses that have been on the market for a long time, both of which may be more economical. The sheer amount of options for finding a house can be overwhelming, so try to stay organized and remember your wants and needs.
Making an Offer
When you find a house that seems right for you, consider having an inspection and talking to neighbors before making an offer. Virginia is a “caveat emptor.” The buyer must do his due diligence prior to purchase. Then, make sure you understand local laws and conventions surrounding how to make an offer. Find out what comes with the house, including appliances and fixtures, and ask about any necessary seller disclosures.
Home Inspections and Last-Minute Concerns
If you haven’t had a home inspection or appraisal yet, now is the time to schedule them. This will help you identify any last-minute issues with the property’s value and construction that should be fixed before you finally close. When you’re ready to finalize the purchase, do a final walkthrough, bring up any other concerns, and get ready to sign contracts on settlement or closing day.
Buying Title Insurance
Be sure that your purchase will be protected by purchasing title insurance. In this process, a title agent will conduct research to determine whether the property is marketable and insurable by the current owner by identifying concerns like faulty deeds, unpaid property taxes, or the existence of mechanics’ liens. They will then issue title insurance, which helps you protect and insure ownership of your home if any claims to ownership arise in the future.
Contact Mathis Title Company
For more information about the home-buying process, including title insurance, contact Robin Mathis at Mathis Title Company. The firm can assist with title insurance, settlements, mechanics’ liens, contract preparation and review, and mortgage negotiations. Mathis’ unique expertise in both the real estate and legal industries allows her to provide comprehensive guidance and personalized support for her clients.