The Home Buying Process

 

Step 1: Check Your Credit Report & Score

Before getting a mortgage or any kind of loan, you should always check your credit. According to the law, you're allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report per year. You can do this by visiting Annualcreditreport.com. Scores range from approximately 300 to 850; generally, the higher your score, the better loan you'll qualify for. Don't forget to check your report for errors. If there are any, dispute them. It may help your credit score. You can also check your credit score for free at www.creditkarma.com.

Step 2: Figure out How Much You Can Afford

You can calculate how much you can afford by starting online. There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Don't forget to factor in money you'll need for a down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for, appraisal, inspection, etc.) and the costs of remodeling or furniture. Remember that you don't have to put down 20 percent as your parents once did. There are loans available with little to no down payment. An experienced home loan officer can help you understand all your loan options, closing costs and other fees. We have a list of preferred lenders who can help you get Prequalified.

Step 3: Find the Right Lender & Mortgage Program

Let us help you by referring you to several great lenders. They have all been vetted through our process. We suggest that you talk to more than one to find the loan officer and company that best suits your needs. Ask lots of questions and make sure they have answers that satisfy you. Make sure to find someone that you are comfortable with and who makes you feel at ease.

Once you have the right mortgage lender, make sure you at least get a pre-approval. Qualifications are only a guess based on what you tell the lender and are no guarantee, whereas a pre-approval will give you a better idea of how big a loan you qualify for. The lender will pull your credit and get more information about you. 

They loan officer will help you determine the best type of loan for you as well.  There are several types of mortgage programs out there including the t basics: FHA, Conventional, VA, and Jumbo.  These types have many different options as well such as how much down payment is needed, whether mortgage insurance is required or the payment and rate options.  The lender can explain all the details of each to you, so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Once you’ve completed that process, they will provide you with a Prequalification form that shows that they have checked and approved your qualifications for a loan.  We will use that when submitting an offer.

Step 4: Look for the Right Home

Make a list of the things you'll need to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need and get an idea of how much space you desire. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?

Once you've made a list of your must-haves’, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Consider your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.

Step 5: View Homes

Once you have your “Must Have’s”, we will setup an online search for you.  You will be able to view homes, select those you’d like to see in person and even mark ones you don’t like.  As soon as you’ve identified homes you want to go see, we will setup a tour of these homes.  You should bring your list of criteria and take notes as you look at each home.  Once the tour is complete, you can review your notes, the online information and determine if you’d like to make an offer on one. 

Step 6: Make an Offer on the Home

Now that you've found the home you want, it’s time to put an offer together. We will run a comparable market analysis to see how this home compares in pricing and condition to those recently sold to determine the offer price.  Other things to consider is the date you’d like to close, or the home warranty – do you want one.  The seller may make a counter-offer to which you can also counter-offer but in a competitive and active market, you want to put together a strong offer to start. Once you've agreed on a price and both parties have signed the offer and related documents, you’ll be on your way to purchasing the home. 

Step 7: Inspection

In Arizona, the Buyer is given 10 days to perform a home inspection.  A licensed home inspector is hired do a general inspection of the home from top to bottom.  This includes but not limited to checking all the mechanics of the home – plumbing, electrical, heating & cooling and the interior, exterior including viewing the roof, pool or spa operation and the overall property.  The home inspector may suggest having a licensed trade (roofing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC) to further inspect a particular portion / item as he is a generalist, not an expert on all systems.  If you are utilizing a loan to purchase the home, you will be required to do a termite inspection as well.  At the end of the inspection period, you will decide how you’d like to move forward with the purchase of the home based on the inspection.  We will guide you through the process and the options.  

The cost of the inspection(s) is paid at the time of service. This is not typically included in “Closing Costs”.

To get more information about why inspection and buyer due diligence are important, refer to the Buyer Advisory

Step 8: Appraisal

Once your inspection is completed and you and the seller have agreed to any requested repairs, the appraisal can be ordered by the lender.   The Appraiser will provide an appraisal report to the lender who will then share it with you.  The best outcome is that the home has appraised at the purchase price or above.  If it appraises for less, then we will talk about options and how you’d like to move forward.  This could be working with the seller to adjust the price or deciding not to move forward.  It will depend upon the appraised value.

Step 7: Close on Your Home

The Close of Escrow (COE) date was set in the purchase contract when you submitted your offer or via negotiation during that process.  Be sure you talk to your mortgage banker to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing so there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, title fees, appraisal fees, and points you may have bought to buy down your interest rate.  Part of closing on your home is doing the final walk-through to make sure all the repairs were done as agreed to during the inspection process and that the home has been left in the expected condition.

Once we know your loan has been approved, we will set an appointment to sign all the paperwork (i.e. loan docs, title & escrow).  My team and I attend all our signings – it’s just one more thing we do to make sure all the steps happen as smoothly as possible.  

Step 8: Move In!

Congratulations!

You've got your mortgage, closed the deal and now it's time to move in! Whether you use a mover or not is up to you, depending on your financial situation and how much stuff you need to move; perhaps also, whether you have a lot of friends willing to help you move. Either way, you're done with the home buying process! Just start unpacking and start enjoying your first home! Buying a home for the first time doesn't have to be a hassle if you're prepared and you know what to do and when to do it. We are delighted to help guide you every step of the way. Finally, we will send you a link to fill out a 5 Star review on Zillow.  We strive to receive a 5 Star review from every one of our clients as it is our focus to provide that type of service with each client.

Choosing an experienced home loan lender and a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent-they are the key to helping you have a smooth home buying experience!  We are truly grateful when you choose us to represent you and help buy your new home.