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I get it, buying a home can be an overwhelming and frustrating prospect. With industry specific jargon, lots of moving pieces, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, it’s easy to be filled with dread when considering starting the home-buying process. Have no fear, by breaking the process down into some milestones, it’s easy to demystify the process and go into it with more confidence.
Step 1: Get Pre-approved for a mortgage
This is by far the most important first step when buying a home. A pre-approval is a letter from a bank letting you know how much money you’d be approved for when obtaining a mortgage. Having a conversation with a loan officer is a great opportunity to review your finances with a professional so you can find out your total budget and the monthly payment that you’d be able to afford. In every market this is important but in the current seller’s market, you’ll likely need to have a pre-approval to set up appointments.
Step 2: Identify your “Must haves” vs “Nice to haves” and get on the same page
The earlier those looking to buy are on the same page and have a clear picture of the needs for your family, the quicker it will be to locate the right home.
Step 3: Search for your home
Working with a trusted agent, go into the home search with an open mind and consider the potential of a home. Not everything you see will check every one of your boxes but if the house has the right space, you can create your dream home. In this market, it’s possible that you’ll need to put offers on several houses before getting one accepted, don’t get discouraged about that, keep searching and once you get an accepted offer, the key is to move quickly to get the house under contract.
Step 4: Home Inspection to Contracts
Congrats, you have an accepted offer! Now the goal is getting contracts signed as quickly as possible, until then, it’s possible the seller can change their mind or accept a different offer. The first thing to do is to schedule a home inspection as soon as possible. After the inspection, you and your agent will discuss your repair requests and your agent will negotiate with the seller’s agent. Once repairs or credits are agreed upon, the agents will let the attorneys know, contracts will be drawn up, and clients will be asked to sign.
Step 5: Appraisal and title search
Once contracts are signed your loan officer will begin the process of getting you a mortgage commitment, the first thing that will need to be done is for the bank to send an appraiser to the house to make sure the purchase price reflects the actual value of the house. While this is happening, your attorney will be doing a title search to make sure the title of the house is “free and clear of encumbrances.” Once the bank provides a mortgage commitment and your attorney gives their “ok”, a closing date will be scheduled that works for all parties.
Step 6: Close and Move In
The day before closing you will do a final walk-through of your new home with your agent. You’ll check to make sure everything is in the same condition it was when you agreed to buy the home and that any agreed upon repair requests were done. At closing, you and the sellers will sign (a lot) of paperwork and officially transfer the title of the house to your name. You’ll be given the keys and now all that’s left to do is MOVE IN!
There are many moving pieces in the home-buying process and no real estate transaction is ever straight forward. While knowing what to expect in the process is important for reducing your stress, the most important thing is to surround yourself with the right team. A group of professionals that you trust to always be looking out for your best interest. A good agent, loan officer, inspector, and real estate attorney are key to helping you successfully find a home.
If you have questions, are thinking about buying or selling, or need some great referrals, reach out to me and I’ll be able to help. If you are a first-time homebuyer, I’d also be happy to set up a buyer’s consultation where we can walk through the entire home-buying process from start to finish.
Representing Long Island buyers and sellers, Michael’s enthusiastic, can-do attitude, and caring nature is ideal for identifying each client’s desires and skillfully guiding them to fulfill their real estate goals. A Long Island native, Michael understands and appreciates the many unique benefits of life on the island with its unrivaled beauty, diverse culture, and amazing restaurants! As a proud agent with Douglas Elliman, Michael is able to combine his local expertise with the resources of Long Island’s #1 brokerage, ensuring he can provide an unrivaled level of support. The values of hard work, integrity, and outstanding client service are key to everything he does and you can rest assured when working with Michael, you’re in good hands. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss any buying, selling, or renting needs.
When not helping Long Island home buyers and sellers, Michael also enjoys traveling, cooking, and golfing at some of Long Island’s awesome courses!