Buying a Home - Oro Valley Real Estate
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Some of the first things to consider when you’re buying a home are how much you want to spend, where you’d like to live and what’s important to you as a buyer.
Figure out how much house you can afford:
When you get pre-approved, your lender will tell you the maximum amount you’re able to borrow (we’ll talk more about the pre-approval process later). But you don’t need to wait for the pre-approval to get a general sense of what you can afford. Prioritize your wish list to fit your budget
Once you have a rough budget in mind, make a list of must-have home features. Your price point will likely dictate the size, location and amenities of your future home. Here are a few examples of wish list items to consider Number of bedrooms and bathrooms, Square footage, Outdoor space, Preferred location, Type of home, Layout, features and finishes, School district, Pet-friendliness, Work commute.
Unless you’re buying a home with all cash, getting pre-approved by a lender will give you an official verdict on your home buying budget. In order to get pre-approved, a lender will calculate your debt-to-income ratio and assess your overall financial health by reviewing your:Income statements, like W2s, 1099s, rental income and tax returns Assets, like bank statements and retirement accounts Debts, including monthly expenses like student loans, credit cards and other mortgages Records of bankruptcies and foreclosures, Current rent, child support payments, alimony payments and any down payment gifts. When you’re pre-approved, you’ll receive a pre-approval letter. Not only does it officially let you know how much you can borrow, but it can come in handy when submitting an offer. A pre-approval letter shows a seller you’re serious about buying their home. This is especially important in a hot market, when you’re likely competing against other offers.
Start the home search:
Searching available homes online is a great way to start your house-hunting process. Try to stay flexible — you’ll probably need to adjust your criteria as your home search continues. For example, you might decide it’s worth sacrificing an extra bedroom to be in your desired neighborhood. Play around with search parameters and see what your money would buy if you changed your wish list a bit. What to look for when touring homes Once you start visiting homes in person, be sure to consider the home’s “health” so you’ll have an idea of any major challenges that might be coming your way if you decide to make an offer. Ultimately, the inspection will give you an official report on the home’s quality and condition, but while you’re touring, keep an eye out for the following: Structural defects and cracking Water pressure (turn on faucets and shower heads) Electrical issues (try the light switches) Functionality and heat retention of doors and windows Roof and exterior quality Noise from neighbors or traffic.
Make an offer:
Once you’ve found the right home, you should make your offer based on a comparative market analysis (CMA) done by your agent. The CMA is a calculation of a home’s market value based on comparable recent sales in the same area. When you're buying a home with a mortgage, it will take 30-45 days after the contract is signed to close on the home.Using the CMA as your baseline, your agent should help you determine a fair offer price and help you decide if you should leave some room for negotiation — this depends on the state of your real estate market. Above and beyond the CMA, here are some other things to take into consideration when making an offer: Disclosures: Disclosures are known problems related to structural issues, unpermitted work, natural hazards and flood risks. Most states require sellers to provide disclosure documents, so make sure your agent requests them. Closing date: When you’re buying a home with a mortgage, it will take 30-45 days after the contract is executed to close on the home. When you submit an offer, you can request a later closing date to fit your moving timeline, but the seller may push back on this request. Contingencies: A contingency is an agreement between the seller and the buyer or the lender and the buyer regarding conditions that need to occur for the sale to move forward. Some contingencies are necessary, like the appraisal contingency your lender will require to ensure they’re not overpaying on your loan. An inspection contingency is up to you, but it’s highly recommended. Earnest money: An earnest money deposit is a sum of money you’re willing to put down when you make your offer to show that you’re serious about buying the home. If you close on the home, the earnest money simply becomes part of your down payment. If you back out of the purchase (outside of a contingency), you’ll lose the deposit.
Schedule the inspection:
Your real estate agent should be able to recommend a trustworthy, licensed home inspector, or you can search Zillow’s professional directory and select an inspector based on home buyer reviews. Usually, the inspection is scheduled within a week of the contract being signed. It’s recommended that you attend the inspection, as it’s a good way to get a better understanding of the inner workings of the home. Usually, your agent will attend as well. After you receive the official inspection report, you’ll have time to discuss the findings with your agent and decide how you want to respond to the seller. If major, non-cosmetic issues are found, you can reopen negotiations, requesting that the seller pay to fix the issue prior to closing or provide you a credit so you can fix it on your own after closing.
Secure your financing:
Even if you’ve been pre-approved, you still need to take a few additional steps to officially submit the mortgage application. Once you’ve completed the following steps, assuming everything checks out, you should receive the “clear to close,” which means that the lender has approved your purchase. Loan application If you decide to officially apply for your loan with the same lender that did your pre-approval, they already have some of the documents you’ll need for your application. Likely, you’ll need to provide updated financial statements. The most important thing you can do during this process is to respond to requests quickly. For example, if the lender asks for your W2, send it promptly to avoid a delay in your closing. If you decide to move forward with a different lender, they will tell you the list of documents they need in order to complete your application. Appraisal Your lender will hire the appraiser, so there’s not much for you to do here. Your real estate agent should work with the seller’s agent and the appraiser to schedule the appraisal. After the appraisal is complete, you and your agent will receive copies of the appraisal report, so you can see the appraised fair market value and check out the comps that were used in the calculations. If the appraisal matches your offer price: You should be clear to close. If the appraisal comes in above your offer price: Even better! This means not only are you clear to close, but you’re purchasing the home for a price below market value, giving you instant equity. If the appraisal comes in low: Your lender won’t approve the full loan amount, as in their eyes, you’re overpaying for the property. You’ll need to either make up the difference between the appraised value and the offer price in cash or try to re-negotiate the offer price with the seller. If you believe the appraisal was incorrect, you can try to request a new appraisal from your lender.
Purchase a homeowners insurance policy:
You’ll need to have proof of a homeowners insurance policy before closing, so if you already own a home, ask your existing agent to help you open a new policy. If you don’t own a home, shop around for a policy that works best for you. Your lender may be able to help you coordinate a policy that can be paid through your monthly escrow account.
Close and move:
Many buyers choose to have a final walkthrough a day before or the morning of closing. Its purpose is to be sure that the property looks the same as when you made your offer and that the seller completed agreed-upon repairs (if applicable). On closing day, expect to spend at least an hour at the title company signing paperwork. You should also be prepared to bring funds to cover your closing costs, which typically range between 3-5% of the sale price. Once the signing is complete and the sale is recorded, you’ll receive your keys. The house is yours! You should have set up utilities for the new home — things like electric, cable and internet. If you’re buying a condo with an HOA that covers some utility costs, double check contract responsibilities with your real estate agent. Finally, get ready to move and settle into your new home.