The process of finding and locking down your dream home can be simple – if you take the right steps. Here’s a quick overview of each part of the process, and some helpful hints to be aware of.
Shopping for Homes
If you want to start shopping for a home but don’t know where to start, I’ve got your back! Here’s what you’ll want to do:
- Determine a comfortable price range based on your preapproval. This will guide your search and help you stay within budget.
- Tell your realtor what you’re looking for in terms of location, size, amenities, and any other specific requirements. Your realtor will then help you search for homes that meet your criteria and stay on the lookout for the right one to come along.
- Keep in mind that finding a home with everything you want within your budget isn’t always easy, especially in certain states and regions! Make a list of “must-haves" and “nice-to-haves" to help prioritize your search. Flexibility is key!
- As you search, consider the trade-offs and compromises that you’re willing to make. Focus on finding a property that meets your essential needs, while keeping an eye out for additional features that would be nice to have.
Your loan officer (that’s me!) will be there along the way to estimate how much you’ll need to buy a particular home and how much the payment will be. We’re even here to give you feedback if a property will or will not fit within your chosen loan type.
Making an Offer
You’ve found the house you love! ...Now what?
There are 5 things you’ll want to know for when you’re ready to make an offer on a home:
1. Start by discussing the amount you’re willing to offer with your agent. Consider including escalation clauses to prevent being outbid. Get ready to negotiate!
2. Show your commitment by offering an earnest money deposit that’s in line with your local market’s norms. This upfront deposit demonstrates how serious you are about buying the home and as long as you go through with it, it’ll be applied to any downpayment or closing costs needed to complete the purchase.
3. Protect your deposit by discussing contingencies with your agent. These may include mortgage, appraisal, home inspection, and home sale contingencies. They offer safeguards if the sale falls through.
4. Keep in mind that in competitive markets, you may need to waive certain contingencies to make your offer more appealing to the seller. Consult with your agent to determine the best approach.
5. If your offer is accepted, you’ll work with your agent to finalize the purchase agreement and proceed with the home purchase process.
Making an offer can be stressful, of course, but it can also be exciting when you have the right team in your corner!
Locking in Your Rate
Getting a home under contract often feels like you’ve reached the finish line of a race. In reality, you’re only at the halfway point – now you have to finalize your mortgage.
One of the first big tasks that will fall to you after signing your contract is locking in your interest rate. This means the lender confirms the rate you’ll have and any associated costs you’ll pay.
Your rate is influenced by over a dozen factors, like credit score and downpayment. Additionally, some lenders are cheaper than others, which can also affect the loan rate and/or the closing costs you’re offered.
This is why it’s good to weigh your options and talk to a few lenders when you’re still early in the process. This way, once it’s time to make things official, you know that you have a clear understanding of your rate options, and you have a lender you can trust to navigate the important financial process of buying a home.
Oh, and be careful trying to time the market! When it comes to rates: if you like it, lock it.