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Homebuyer’s Timeline – The Good Stuff You Need to Know!

Posted by Emma Parker on November 20, 2020

Hi guys!

After meeting with several potential buyers these past few weeks, I began to realize how varied the knowledge base is around buying a home. I wanted to add this post in here this month to give potential home-buyers a place to go to read through and develop questions that they can send my way to help you understand the timeline, costs, details that go into purchasing a home! As we get into the holidays and 2020 is winding down, now is a great time to take a bit of time to start your research to start 2021 off right and get your home-buying process rolling to be ready in time for the spring buying market!

Here is the step-by-step process from the very first thought that you want to buy a home to that first turn of the key in your new home!

PRE-APPROVAL: The very, very first thing that you should do before starting to look at homes is to talk with a mortgage lender. I always suggest talking to 2 private lenders and one bank to get a good idea of what you’re working with. If you need recommendations, let me know! Getting pre-approved means that a mortgage professional has looked at your bank accounts, debts, and credit to determine what you can afford in a monthly mortgage payment, along with taxes and utilities, and gives you one big number so that you know exactly what price range to look in!

BUYER CONSULT: Once you have gotten your pre-approvals, reach out to me to schedule a casual meeting, either in-person or virtually, to go through this process with you, let me know what you’re looking for in a home, and lay out a timeline and action plan! This meeting is really the “start button” to allow me to send you any and all properties that match your search, and even those that haven’t even been listed yet!

**Working with a Realtor costs you NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, as a buyer! Sellers pay the commissions of both their agent and the buyer’s agent. **

SHOWINGS AND OPEN HOUSES: When you find a home that you would like to walk-through, I would be happy to set up a private showing for you! Under the umbrella of the pandemic, sometimes showings are brief, virtual, or are scheduled appointments within an “open house” time depending on the status of the property. Seeing a potential home is important, but your health and safety is top priority, so I’ll make sure to keep both of those in mind when scheduling a showing!

OFFERS: After one, or maybe a few showings, and you’ve found the right one, we can sit down in-person, over a video call, or on the phone to go over the very many forms that will needed to be signed in order to make an offer. It can be shocking the amount of signatures needed, but they are all important in ensuring that you’re approving of everything being asked of and understand what each form entails.

The Offer Includes: a Purchase and Sale agreement, earnest money deposit, signed disclosures, and your pre-approval letter, along with any other paperwork specific to the home you’re purchasing! The Purchase and Sale agreement is the big form that conveys your offer; the offer price, additional contingencies, your financing, etc. Your earnest money deposit is the check that is written to “entice” the seller to read your offer. It’s usually between $100 – $500 (can be more) and the amount you give shows how interested you are in the property! This money, if the offer is accepted, will combine with your down payment and subtract from the offer price on the home. If your offer does not get accepted, it will be returned (not deposited by the seller). Common disclosures that are included are the seller’s disclosure, which discloses everything about the home that the seller is aware of, lead or mold disclosures, which discloses if there has ever been either of these present, and personal interest disclosures, which would be signed in the event that the seller or you are related to, or have a relationship with, the parties that you are working with. There are others, but these are the most common and the ones that are usually signed and go in with your offer. Your pre-approval is a piece of paper or PDF from your mortgage lender stating how much the bank is willing to give you as a loan – this coincides with the purchase price that you offer on a home. Once all of these are reviewed and signed, I’ll include them all into one email to send off to the listing agent!

UNDER CONTRACT/ INSPECTIONS: If your offer was accepted, CONGRATS! Once the seller has signed your offer, we are under contract! The first period is called the inspection period. This 10-day window, excluding weekends/holidays, is your time to have any and all inspections done, and from the results, and ask for any repairs to be done or credits in order to fix these yourself. This is where negotiations happen to ensure that you are getting a safe home to move into! This period can also be your “parachute period” as I call it, so that if something is found on the inspection report that is too daunting for you, you can pull that ripcord and back out of the transaction – no harm, no foul and no money lost.

MORTGAGE CONTINGENCY: Assuming inspections go well and are agreed upon by both you and the sellers, we enter into this grey area of time where you’ll research and select a home insurance plan, a closing attorney, any inspection repairs that are being completed by the sellers will get done, utilities will be called to either be cancelled or moved and you’ll start getting yourself ready to move by hiring a moving service or UHaul if needed. Usually by this time, the additional deposit, or downpayment, has been paid and gone into escrow (where the seller’s agent deposits and holds the money until closing). Down-payments can vary in size, 0% – 10% of the purchase price, or even higher, but this will be discussed long before now with your lender! The date the downpayment must be paid by can vary, but usually it’s anywhere from a few days to a week or so after we go under contract, so I’ll remind you of this when that time comes! I’ll advise you on all of this and be here to answer all of your questions! We’ll finally approach a date called your Mortgage Contingency date. This date is given by your lender when you first submit your offer to basically says “this is when I will have done everything on my end to have your loan ready for you”. Once we have gotten this news from your lender, usually about 2 weeks before closing, we start finalizing everything for your move!

CLEAR TO CLOSE: These words are sweet to my ears! This is usually given a few days to a week prior to your closing date. This means that the final review of your finances has been completed and approved (meaning you haven’t done anything to jeopardize your credit/ bank accounts) and the bank has officially handed you the theoretical briefcase full of money that is your home loan! Once we have this, we will communicate with the seller to do one final walkthrough of the home to make sure that everything agreed on to be removed or stay in place is just that. The home is supposed to be left in broom-clean condition, and most of the time this is the case, but I always like to suggest earlier in the process to have my clients schedule a cleaning the day of closing. That way you can ensure, especially in the midst of this pandemic, that your home is safe for your family to move right on in! Once we have agreed that the home is satisfactory to you, we’re onto the final step – CLOSING!!

CLOSING: TODAY IS THE DAY! The closing process takes place at your attorney’s office, where myself, you and he/she will sit down and go over the very many papers for you to sign in order to call this home yours! There will be closing costs, unless you have asked for credits from the seller in your offer, that will cover attorney fees, lender fees, taxes and pre-paids, title search/insurance, and any other moneys that need to be tied up to break ties with the seller. Usually, depending on several factors, closing costs can be anywhere between $2,000 – $8,000 for homes in the $200,000 – $500,000 range. This number can vary widely, clearly, but you will get an estimation from your lender as you get closer to closing, so make sure that you budget for that from the start! Once the moneys have been exchanged and those final signatures are done, we’ll have arranged to get the keys from the sellers and the home is finally yours! If there’s a cleaning crew going in, let’s take that opportunity to go celebrate over breakfast, lunch, happy hour or dinner on me! If you’re ready to high-tail it home and get to un-packing, I’ll make sure to have a closing gift ready for you to open when kicking your feet up after a long day of moving! Welcome Home!

I know it seems like a long, daunting process with a lot of hurdles, but having a great support system – myself, your lender and attorney – not to mention all of your family, friends and co-workers, will make the process seem effortless and smooth! Keeping everything organized, like dates, papers, and helpful moving timeline tips, helps make this transaction run smoothly and efficiently, which is what I’m here for! I’m not going to lie to you and say there will never be bumps or issues in buying a home, but I can assure you that I’ll do everything I can do minimize these and communicate with you, and everyone else involved, to make sure everyone is on the same page throughout this experience!

After reading this, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask! Even if you’re not thinking about purchasing anytime soon – I’ve always felt that it’s the most helpful when you familiarize yourself with the bones of the process early so that you minimize stress, anxiety and pressure when you decide to start your home search later on! Hope this helps at least one of you reading, and gives a bit more insight to this process for you!

P.S. A dog is the feature image on this one because our adopted pup comes home tomorrow :), has nothing to do with this article – I just can’t wait!


2 thoughts on “Homebuyer’s Timeline – The Good Stuff You Need to Know!

  • on February 1, 2021

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, let alone the content! Carlen Phillipp Hutchison

  • on March 29, 2022

    Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!?

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