Sunday, January 24, 2016

Buying a Home {for first-timers}

How to Buy a Home



Buying a home was so much easier than I ever imagined it would be. Ideally, you do want anywhere from a 3-10% down payment but if the market is good for buying, look into your options! You never know what will be available to you.

Here is the process simplified (from our perspective):
  1. Find a Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer - we loved working with Jen Kirchhoefer of Ascent Real Estate and Jan Hassell of Academy Mortgage.
  2. Find out how much you qualify for and loan interest rates, then determine what range and monthly mortgage you are comfortable with - your Loan Officer will help you with us
  3. Look for homes with your Real Estate Agent - think about what area and schools you want, more residential or commercial? Size of home? Year of home? Layout of home, etc. The more you share with your Real Estate Agent, the better they can narrow down your options as you go out searching - for us, this last one day when we looked at 16 homes, sometimes people will look at the market multiple times over several months to find the right now
  4. When you find your dream home, make an offer - this is when you go "under contract" - in your contract, there is an added stipulation where you can withdraw your offer without any penalty until you receive the results from the inspection. You typically have 30 days from the time you make an offer until you close on the home. Again, your real estate agent helps you work through all the details of the contract. 
  5. You will receive disclosures from the current owner regarding what they know about the history of the home, big repairs/rennovations, etc. You can use this to think of question to ask the inspector (see #6). 
  6. Get a home inspection (~$350 out of pocket) - this is when you learn more about the foundation of the home, plumbing, electrical, and any potential challenges - ask lots of questions because you will want to know as much possible about your new home! If your realtor does not do this for you, I also strongly encourage you to have someone look at the sewer/water line. I would also recommend you try to be there for most of, or at least the end of, the home inspection if possible to ask question and check things out with the inspector. 
    1. Regardless of what you know about the home, but especially over a decade or two old, I recommend a drug test, just to be safe. 
    2. If there is anything that you feel should be fixed before you buy the home, your real estate agent will put together an addendum to your contract to have those things fixed before you close on the home. For us, this included fixing the dishwasher and disposal, a couple of electrical outlets, and based on small traces of meth found in our furnace we asked for the furnace and ducts to be cleaned and another drug test completed. If we had any concerns after the 2nd drug test, we could have still withdrawn our offer. 
  7. Start the loan approval process (simultaneously with the inspection). You will provide lots of documentation to your lender. Once they have all the documentation they need, they will then send to the underwriter for approval. This process usually takes about 2 weeks, depending on the lender (and how fast you get them the documentation).
  8. Schedule the final walk through once the seller has confirmed items on the addendum are complete. 
  9. Once your loan is approved and the house is ready to move in, you can close on the house. This is really about an hour-long meeting with you, your real estate agent, loan officer, and the title agent (we loved working with Dawna Hendricks at First American Title). The title agents responsibility is essentially to distribute all of the money to the seller/buyer as applicable based on the settlement statement of transactions. 
  10. Move in! And start saving for little projects around your home :) There will be plenty!
It is really that simple. I hope you find this process just as easy for you. We had the best experience (although we did get a little impatient waiting ;)). 

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