Home Buying ABC’s – How to get started househunting.
There are many ways to find a home or investment property including reading ads in the Sunday paper, driving by a listed property, searching online and asking friends. Let’s face it, finding the right home in this market is not always easy. Sometimes homes sell in multiple bidding against other buyers and some sell before you could ever find them.
Knowing how the basic process works and being prepared will give a smart buyer the leg up on their competition – Often resulting them in getting a better value and purchasing with less hassle. Here is a brief synopsis of teh buying process:
Most real estate agents and lenders recommend that home buyers get pre-qualified with a lender before selecting a home to purchase. With pre-qualification, you can determine the loan program which best fits your needs. You will know exactly how much you are qualified to borrow. When making an offer to purchase a home it is advantageous to have a letter of pre-qualification that can be included with the offer.
Making an Offer
When you have found a home that meets your requirements we will work with you to prepare an offer for the property. The offer is contingent upon satisfactory test and inspection results. Your offer will be based on a number of factors including your assessment of the property’s value and the asking price. Your agent will submit your offer to the seller’s agent and negotiate on your behalf.
Tests and Inspections
In addition to providing you with valuable information about the property you wish to purchase and peace of mind, your lender may require a number of tests before making a mortgage loan on the property. These tests can be made once the property is under contract.
— Home Inspection – The purpose of a home inspection is to determine that the structures are sound and that the plumbing, mechanical, electrical, heating and cooling systems of the home are in proper working order. The inspection generally lasts two to three hours and the buyers should be present during the inspection whenever possible. Make sure you use a Certified Professional Inspector who knows the ins & outs of construction and the working systems of your home.
— Septic Inspection – If the property you purchase is serviced by a septic system, you may want to have an inspection by a licensed septic company or home inspector. This may also include pumping the tank. The report will indicate the size of the tank, whether it is steel or concrete, the condition of the baffles, inlet pipe and leaching fields. It will also indicate the recommended time between pump outs.
— Termite Inspection – In almost all cases, your lender will require an inspection to determine whether any wood destroying insects such as termites, powder post beetles and carpenter ants are present. If so, extermination would be required and any damage indicated by the inspector would need to be repaired.
— Water Test – If the property is serviced by an individual well; the lender may require a water analysis to determine whether or not it meets state standards for potability (safe to drink). Your test results will include items such as color, odor, turbidity, PH, ammonia nitrogen, nitrogen plus nitrate nitrogen, chlorides, MBAs (soap), hardness, iron and coliform bacteria.
— Asbestos Inspection – Asbestos is a mineral fiber found in rocks. There are some products used in home building and pipe insulation that can contain asbestos. It is a good idea to ask your inspector if there are any asbestos containing materials in the property and how to treat them because if the asbestos fibers are released there can be potential health risks.
— Radon Testing – Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs in nature. You cannot see it or smell it. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium. The only known health effect associated with exposure to elevated levels of radon is an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
— Lead Paint Testing – Lead paint may be found in houses and apartments built before 1978. Lead from paint, chips and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.
Unless you have enough money to pay for the house yourself, you’ll need a mortgage loan. A mortgage is a loan you take out to finance the purchase of your home. It is also a legal contract stating that you promise to make a monthly payment until your loan is paid off.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of different programs to choose from, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Most of the home loans are variations of a fixed-rate mortgage and adjustable-rate mortgage, both “conventional” and “government” sponsored. Knowledge of how these mortgage programs work will help you to understand the majority of available loan options. It’s simple to run the numbers for yourself on our Mortgage Calculator, but make sure you have a good Mortgage Professional on your side. Your agent can probably refer one to you.
Finalizing the sale of the property involves completing the financial agreement and transferring legal ownership. Your attorney (you DO have an attornet, right?) will ensure that the title to the property is clear, that the financial settlement is correct and that all documents are properly prepared.
Request a copy of our free “Homebuyers Handbook” by completing the inquiry form on the contact page of our website. The Handbook contains additional valuable information about how to buy a home in today’s market.
Our hope with this report has been to educate you and help you avoid the pitfalls many home buyers go through.
If you don’t see something you need please contact us and we’ll do our best to get you the information you desire.
We look forward to serving your inspection needs. Thanks for visiting us online.