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[Part 3] Your First Offer + 5 Crucial Steps That Follow

Now the fun begins. You’ve found the property for you and are ready to make an offer. If you haven’t quite found the home for you, check out our First Time Home Buyers “First Steps” and “4 Focuses” for a few tips to get you started.

The offer process and the whirlwind that follows can get a little crazy, but these steps will help prepare you for what lies ahead.

  1. Making an offer

    By now, you and your agent have gotten a feel for the type of home you can afford. Two things to do now – trust your gut, and have your agent run a comparative analysis for recently sold homes in the area. Once you’ve done this, you can move forward with confidence. And make sure not.

  2. Negotiations

    first things first: be prepared for a few rounds of negotiating. Even if the seller accepts your first offer, you may need to negotiate a few things after the inspection, and possibly again after the appraisal. But more importantly, understand that negotiating a home purchase can be stressful. Coupling the back and forth of negotiations with family, home, and money can lead to a very stressful few weeks or months. Just be prepared for some ups and downs. One piece of advice: be as open and honest with your agent as you can, this is the time to trust each other.

  3. Inspection

    After your offer is accepted, take a minute to let that sink in…Congrats! You’re one step closer to being a homeowner. Now you can focus on the inspection phase. Your agent should have an experienced local inspector you can use. The job of an inspector is to find issues, and they will. Focus on the safety issues, code issues, and anything else that may compromise the integrity of the home. Unless the home is new, you will always have a honey-do list for after you move in.
    Here are a few things to pay attention to as a buyer:
    – On the exterior: roof, siding, and windows
    – On the interior: plumbing, electrical, and HVAC (heating & cooling).
    Focus on those and trust your agent’s opinion. Lastly, be prepared to negotiate again after the inspection. The seller can say no, or they can offer money instead of repairs; just be prepared for another round of those negotiating “ups and downs”.

  4. Appraisal

    after the inspection is complete, your lender will order an appraisal. This means someone will go out to the property, walk it, take pictures and measurements, then put together an assessment of the value. This is so the bank is confident in what they are lending on. This will take some time, and may result in another round of negotiations if the home does not appraise for the purchase price. Be aware: the buyers are responsible for the cost of the appraisal, and it can take weeks to order, complete, and receive the report, and if you are paying cash (good for you) and ignore this step.

  5. Walk-through

    It never hurts to go through the home again near the end of the process. This is easy if the owners have moved out. However, if they’re still in the home until closing, it may be more difficult. Talk to your agent about the best way to go about this. Seeing the home, the condition it was left in, and checking on repairs is a good idea to get done before closing day.

  6. Closing

    this can get hectic, so be ready. As a buyer, you won’t be able to sign until your loan documents have made it to the title company. That is nothing you need to orchestrate, but is usually just a few days before you close on the house. Be prepared to take an hour or two off work to get in and sign. Also, to be clear, signing and closing are not the same thing. You will sign a day or so before closing. Closing is when the deed of the property records at the courthouse. Then, usually around 5pm that day, you get your keys and the sellers get their money. It’s a process with many steps, but talking to your agent and knowing what the steps are ahead of time can greatly reduce the potential craziness.

You’re now ready to walk into your new home as a first time home OWNER! Take a deep breath, and soak up this moment, then…back to work! It’s time to move in!

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