Buying with the Bodeens
The Buying Process
Step 1: Determining Your Budget
It's not always clear what the real cost of buying a home is. This is true when talking not only of upfront costs, but monthly costs as well. Most online mortgage calculators don't include things like Hazard Insurance, Taxes, Private Mortgage Insurance, HOA Fees, Utilities etc. You must also consider that you will probably be paying closing costs AND a down payment. We usually figure about 3% for a buyer's closing costs and then anywhere from 3% to 20% for a down payment depending on the loan program you select. This can lead to an unpleasant sticker shock if your not prepared upfront.
Step 2: Becoming Pre-Qualified
This is where a lender sizes you up based on credit, income, and other factors to determine what they are willing to lend to you and what programs you may qualify for. If your finances aren't too complicated, this can be done in a matter of hours with the right lender. Better still, seek to become "pre-approved." This means that you have provided the lender with all the documents necessary to fully vet you as a potential mortgagee, making for a relatively risk-free transaction from the lending side AND making you more attractive to potential sellers and their agents.
Step 3: The Home Search
These days, most want to be directly involved in the house-hunting, not wanting we Realtors to only show them a pre-curated list. The searching tools on our website are extensive, and easy to use. They allow for dozens of parameters, a map search where you can custom draw your search area, and the ability to share your searches with friends and family. You can also save searches, set subscriptions where it emails you with new listings immediately. On top of that, we can track your searches as well, seeing which homes you favorite and even the ones you no longer want to see.
Step 4: Making an Offer
It can be a little daunting to know where to start with an offer. Not only do we consider price, but also dozens of other terms like, should we ask the seller to pay our closing costs? How long should the escrow period be? Which title company should we use? What's a title company?! We've written or received probably over a thousand offers on behalf of our clients over the years. We know the red flags to watch out for and what is reasonable. Every house is different and every clients goals can be different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We customize our recommended offer to fit your goals.
Step 5: Negotiating Price and Terms
This step is crucial when attempting to get the best price or terms. Whether it's a hot property that ends up in a bidding war, or stale house that has been sitting on the market for a year, helping you understand your leverage and what options are available can make the difference of thousands of dollars.
Step 6: The Inspection Period
We have relationships with a handful of inspectors that have provided us and our clients with great service in the past. We fiercely recommend a general inspection of the property, and potential other, more specific inspections if necessary. Not only is it instrumental in identifying potential hazards with the house that you wouldn't notice otherwise, an inspection is important for negotiating repairs with the seller.
Step 7: Negotiating Repairs
If there are repairs the buyer feels are necessary, a second round of negotiation ensues. The seller is not required to fix anything, however, if the buyer doesn't get they want at this stage, they can walk away from the deal and take their earnest money with them. it's important to have someone fighting for you at this stage. It's easy to let things go you really shouldn't because your afraid to lose the home. You will regret it later!
Step 8: The Home Warranty
Generally, this something we negotiated the seller to pay for. We have a couple different companies we recommend, but it's important to research their policies and plans to see which one might be right for you.
Step 9: Dealing with the lender and title company
One of the things we spend a lot of time doing behind the scenes, is making sure that the lender and title companies both have what they need and are communicating with each other effectively. This is one of the areas where miscommunications can occur and cause deals to get delayed or even go sideways.
Step 10: Final Walkthrough
Sometime within the last three days of the escrow period, you the buyer need to walk through the property one more time. This is for two reasons, one to make sure nothing has substantially changed with the property since the offer was accepted. Secondly, to confirm that any repairs the seller agreed to perform have been completed and in a "workman-like manner."
Step 11: Closing and Keys
Usually the closing occurs at the title company, but most will now provide a notary to come to you directly if necessary. It's important to look at the final settlement statement BEFORE you get to the closing table, to make sure what your paying is what you were told. Once everyone has signed and the lender has given the title company the OK, the Title company will send the information to the county to record the deed. At that point, it's generally a matter of hours and we can then hand you the keys to your new home!
Step 12: Tell your friends and family about us!
Over 90% of our business comes from word of mouth. We are deeply honored when you choose to entrust a friend or family member to us. We will not let them down!