In honor of the spring market and all the new buyers, I thought it would be helpful to review a standard checklist on what to expect when purchasing a home. Depending on the location and type of property will determine the finer details of purchase. For this article, I will present a general checklist for buying a single family home:
1. Begin by understanding your finances – You will need to know what you can afford to pay monthly as well as determining how much money you will need for a down payment. Prepare a monthly budget to put everything into perspective. This budget should include every expense each month.
2. Choose your realtor - You want to choose a realtor you trust. The cost to a buyer for their service is “free” and they will represent you and your best interest throughout the transaction. In many cases, your realtor can refer you to a mortgage broker as well as other vendors throughout the entire transaction. This becomes your “team of professionals” that will help you along the way to successfully purchase a home you feel comfortable with. The realtor acts as the “conductor” of the entire process from beginning to end just like in an orchestra.
3. Get pre-approved before you start looking for a home – Understanding what you can afford before you step into a property will make the process more smooth and straightforward.
4. Look for a home – After meeting with your Realtor, you now should have determined what your want, how much you’re willing to spend and where you want to look. Start house hunting!
5. Make an offer – Working closely with your realtor, they will help you understand what the best strategy is to offer on the property based the most recent sales in the area.
6. Under contract – This is the most exciting moment for the buyer! Your realtor will guide you through the all the timeframes that are important within your contract.
7. Inspection of home – By now, you are anxiously wondering what condition the home you are about to purchase is really in. Your realtor should be able to have a preferred vendor list ranging from home inspectors to air/water testing and everything in between when it comes time to inspect the home.
8. Obtain Homeowners Insurance – It is best to get a few quotes from various companies to get the most affordable and best coverage for your new home.
9. Pack and move – If you plan to use a moving company, secure this early on in the process so you know how much you are going to pack and how much the company will pack and set the date. The rates vary depending on how much you pack yourself.
10. Final walk through – Either 24 hours or an hour before the day of closing, walk through the home to make sure it is in the same condition it was when you last viewed it and all the repairs have been completed to your satisfaction, if applicable.
11. Closing – Once the title company receives your loan documents, you will receive a HUD statement which reviews in detail your fees and then amount of money needed for closing. In most cases the money need to close must be in the form of a cashier’s check, so make sure you allow time to go to the bank prior to going to the closing. Your realtor will arrange with the title company the day and time of closing where you will sign the loan documents.
12. Congratulations, you are now a home owner – After signing the documents, you get your keys and move in! If there is any personalization you want to make to the home, its best to do it prior to moving in if possible.
As I have said since the beginning, please call a local realtor for all your real estate needs no matter how big or small. We are trained professionals here to make your life easier. It's best to surround yourself with the right team of professionals that can continuously give you the right advice for all your circumstances.
Lisa is the owner/realtor of Landing Real Estate in Portland. To contact Lisa with questions, email columnist@TheWindhamEagle.com.