1. DO YOUR Math HOMEWORK. The time to start is now.
Sounds unsettling, right?! Sure, to some, the idea of taking a financial inventory and analyzing each dollar spent is about as enticing as slamming a finger in the car door. But it doesn’t have to be! Doing your math homework simply means looking at what’s spent and deciding a mortgage payment that’s affordable. First things first, take past bank statements and break down spending. A lot of financial institutions offer this service for free online. Next, work to eliminate unneeded spending or extra spending. Is it a want or a need? Is it worth it to cut out this expense for a short time so that my “non-negotiables” list can be met? Then, make a financial plan for the next few months. A plan that you can commit to and a plan that creates some financial “elbow room”. Pull your credit report! Clean up what you can.
Trust us. You can do this. If you feel unsure, call your bank. There are financial planners that can assist you and are willing to offer help in finding your personal financial balance. ! Know the facts about affording the whole home! Don’t leave this step out. Make sure there are no surprises that will keep you from enjoying your dream home!
2. Research lenders and loan products. Be in the know.
Doing your research on the many different options as far as lending is concerned is crucial. It will be important for you to separate mortgage lending fact from fiction. A lot of people think you must go to a bank to get a mortgage loan and pay 20% down, however, this is simply an outdated way of thinking. There is no shortage of lenders or loan products out there for buyers to take advantage of, so arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make the best decision! When the time comes, we can also be a valuable resource to identify lender contacts!
3. HIRE A Rockstar REAL ESTATE AGENT. Worry less.
You want to do this. You need to do this. You want an agent that you can trust and works for you! With VIP Home Realty as your agent, that is exactly what you can count on. Once you have decided to hire the best agents around, one of the first things you need to do is sign a buyers representation agreement. This creates a fiduciary responsibility with your best interest in mind. It is important, especially if this is your first experience in home-buying, to have someone in your corner that has your best interests in mind. We know the ins and outs of the area. We are willing to answer every question you have, no matter what. We negotiate in your favor and guide your experience to a closing. A closing in which you celebrate and we are proud to be a part of. As your agent will be the key to helping you throughout the remainder of the process. We are committed to being your best partner during this exciting time in your life!
4. GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A LOAN. Get ahead of other buyers.
It’s nice to know how much you want to spend on a home, but getting pre-approved by a lender means that your credit has been checked, your documentation has been verified, and you’ve been approved for a specific loan amount. Avoid the disappointment of finding your dream home only to be told by a lender that you can’t afford it. Getting pre-approved up front establishes your serious intent on finding and closing on the home you’ve been waiting for! Before we start looking at properties, be certain that you can provide proof of your ability to purchase with a prequalification letter or proof of funds.
5. SET NON-NEGOTIABLES AND PRIORITIZE. The dream list.
You are making an investment in your future. Get what you want. Begin by making a list of wants and needs you absolutely must have in a home. You wouldn’t take a trip without a map would you?! Having a plan and taking time to think about and visualize what you want will save you time and money when you embark on your journey to finding the house you want. Think about everything! From the school district, community, the neighborhood (or lack-of), nearby entertainment, local healthcare, and the weather to the placement of the laundry room and the number of bedrooms. The possibilities, at this point, are endless. So, set your non-negotiables and then prioritize the negotiables. You will thank yourself later. This is the information that will help us find the
perfect home for you!
6. HOUSE HUNT WITH AN OPEN MIND. Visualize.
Look past the paint. Look past the window treatments. Look at the bones of the home. Remember your non-negotiables, but also remember that you don’t live there yet. The home it is now is not the home it will be when you own it. Visualize your furniture there, your dishes, your pet, your holidays. See the structure, the layout, the natural lighting, the view. Just because you visit the house doesn’t mean you have to commit that day. See multiple homes. You may even want to see the same home several times. Keep an open mind and an open schedule. If possible, schedule showings at different times of the day and on different days of the week.
7. Make an offer and pay earnest money. Be competitive. Get accepted.
We will pull recent, similar home sales from the area to arrive at fair market value. This information along with your approval and hard work from your agent will result in a competitive offer price. Next, you will identify contingencies such as inspections, a review of property disclosures, etc. We will walk through this step with you. No worries. Once your offer is accepted, you will pay earnest money, typically 1% of the purchase price, and you are one step closer to your new home. After hiring us as your real estate agent, you should feel confident in your negotiations. Remember, everything is negotiable. Don’t settle; we won’t!
8. Get an inspection. Get out that fine-toothed comb.
Do not skip this step. You do not want to buy a house that needs underlying expensive repairs. Getting a proper home inspection is the responsible thing to do, and some lenders will not approve a loan without it. And honestly, you’ve worked so hard to get to this point. Not only do you need to get the inspection, but you need to make sure you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of a successful inspection. You owe it to yourself and your investment! We can provide a list of qualified inspectors.
9. Utilities and insurance. No surprises.
Utilities? We offer concierge services free of charge to all of our client to make this process pain and hassle free. Get homeowner’s insurance. Don’t worry. We work with you, your lender and title company to make sure everything is in order for the property: home owner’s insurance, flood insurance, and if necessary, title insurance.
10. CLOSE THE SALE. Seal the deal. Get the KEYS!
You’ve made a plan, hired a stellar agent, opened your mind to potential houses, and now that the inspection is over…you’re ready to sign the paperwork on the house you want. The house you set out to buy. You will sign. And sign. And sign. Bring a nice pen and practice your best signature for closing day. Don’t be nervous, though, we will explain everything and will even place those tiny sign here tabs in all the right places. We work closely with the title company to make sure all the “I’s” are dotted and “T’s” are crossed. Do a final walk-through as close to the closing as possible. After signing all the documents placed before you and closing on the house of your dreams, you can celebrate your journey. Because on this day, they will hand you the keys to your new home. You did it! Enjoy!
Last, but not least.
Now that you have taken the important first step in educating yourself regarding the process of investing in your dream home, let us be the agents you trust to help you get to closing! Buying a new home can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep in mind that while this is a huge decision, it is your decision. Continue to build your knowledge by checking out the tons of free resources available and ask questions! The bottom line is…you should absolutely love the home you buy. It will be where you live, love, and build memories! So, if you’re looking for your dream home in northeast Tennessee, contact us! We look forward to hearing from you!