THE ROADMAP TO HOME OWNERSHIP
Contact a Real Estate Professional
Whether you’re a first time homebuyer, transferring to a new city, or considering an investment property, hiring a qualified Realtor® is the first and most important step.
A qualified realtor:
Is licensed by the states in which they practice (DC, MD, and VA in our market)
Has completed a rigorous course of education
Upholds strict standards of ethics
Is an expert negotiator
Participates in continuing education courses to update and maintain a knowledge base, best practices and understanding of current regulations.
The settlement company reviews your contract and determines if everything is legally ready for your purchase. They research the title history, possible liens, taxes, land survey, and your loan. Once the contract has been approved by the settlement attorneys, all parties involved coordinate a date and time for settlement.
Final Walkthrough of the Property This ensures it is in the same condition as when the offer was presented, and that any contingencies, such as repairs, have been addressed.
What to bring to Settlement Bring a certified or cashier’s check in the amount quoted to you by your lender. Also bring state-issued picture identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. And patience, don’t forget your patience!
Expect the Unexpected The sale of a home is a complicated transaction, and last minute glitches can happen. Don’t panic. Your Realtor® will represent your interests and “put out the fire.”
Signing and More Signing You will sit down with the other parties, most likely at the attorney’s office. A settlement agent will review all documents with you to make sure everything is correct. You will sign them and your loan documents. The seller will sign the property over to you, and give you the keys.
Hire an Agent
Once you’ve decided on a Realtor® to represent you, you will sign a Buyer-Agency Agreement detailing what the agent will do for you, and the legal obligations you both have.
A buyer’s agent works as YOUR representative, putting your best interests above all others and maintaining confidentiality. A buyer’s agent negotiates your price, ensures the property is inspected and represents you throughout the process.
As a buyer, you usually won’t pay a fee or commission – your agent is usually paid by the seller of the property you purchase.
As a buyer, you have specific needs. Hiring an agent protects your interests in purchasing what’s likely to be your single largest asset and the most important investment of your life.
Not to be confused with a Home Inspection!
An appraisal is a detailed report that establishes property market value and probable sales price in the open and competitive market. Appraisers are specifically educated and licensed by state.
Lenders require an appraisal for final approval of a loan. The appraisal shows security for the lender that the property will sell for at least the amount being loaned.
That's it-- you're now the owner of a new home! It's time to move in and start making memories that will last a lifetime.
The TK Team is here to help you through this buying process. Contact us today and we will begin the exciting adventure of finding your new home.
You are officially Under Contract. Congratulations! Now that your offer has been accepted by the seller, what happens next?
Inspections and testing Radon testing, a termite inspection, and a full home inspection are scheduled. No home is perfect, and repair issues have the potential to be deal-breakers. It is in your best interest, and the interest of your lender, to make sure everything about the house is sound. We will attend the inspection together and have the opportunity to discuss questions or concerns with the inspector.
Inspection checklist This will usually include the home’s structure, exterior, roof and attic, plumbing, systems and components, electrical, appliances, etc.
Negotiating repairs This can be tricky and is best handled by your agent. We represent your interests and negotiate the best solution for you.
Optional inspections Depending on the home, some buyers elect to have additional inspections performed on their property. Examples of tests include radon, mold, and lead paint.
It can be lots of fun to search the websites and visit open houses, but finding your ideal home can be daunting. In fact, it can be a full-time job. Your Realtor® is an expert at handling the time-consuming tasks and nitty-gritty details.
Let us know exactly what you are looking for. We can recommend neighborhoods that fit with your preferences but also warn you about possible drawbacks. We also work with an extensive network of agents, so we know what’s coming on the market long before you’ll see it on Zillow.
If you find a home you like, give us a call and we will set up the appointment and show you around.
Check out the neighborhood by driving around the area at different times of the day to see if the lifestyle, culture, and feel is what you are looking for.
Take notes and write a list of the pros and cons of each house we visit.
Preparing a financial picture for a prospective lender is an important step in achieving your goal of homeownership.
Check your credit score Your credit score is the most important criterion used in getting a loan. Check your credit score, pay your bills on time, and be careful about lines of credit.
A penny saved is a penny earned Saving and/or investing as much as you can is optimal. Set up a budget as if you already owned your home, and keep to it.
Oh, I didn’t think of those things There are unmentioned expenses in purchasing a new home – furniture, window treatments, small appliances, kitchen accouterments, and so on. Remember to add this to your budget.
Show me the money Financial documents including pay stubs, W2’s, bank statements, and recent tax returns will need to be given to the lender, who then determines that you can pay your mortgage.
Confirm a mortgage lender Shop the lenders in your area for interest rates and other discounts they offer. If you are a first-time homebuyer, there may be special programs or incentives you can take advantage of. We work with a network of excellent lenders, and we’re happy to recommend one to you.
Make an Offer
Ready to make an offer? OK, here are the next steps:
Letter of pre-approval Written by a mortgage lender stating that you are pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
Earnest money deposit This is a good-faith deposit to show you have serious intent to buy a property. It is not part of a down payment. The funds typically need to be guaranteed by your bank.
Financial disclosure In addition to your letter of pre-approval, you’ll disclose additional details pertaining to your finances, such as how much you’re borrowing and the amount of your down payment.
Contingencies Home inspection, settlement dates, and other conditions are a normal part of real estate contracts. We will assemble the contract with you and review all aspects and contingencies before it is signed and presented to the seller’s agent. It’s our job to provide a thorough explanation of the contract and protect your interests before final ratification.
Ratification The date of final acceptance, in writing, of all the terms of the contract. Time is of the essence as most ratifications must be within a certain time frame.
Movers and Utilities
Movers - If you’re moving from an apartment, you may be tempted to rent a truck and move yourself. Since you may be underestimating just how much stuff you actually have, we recommend you talk to a few movers first. We can make some recommendations.
Utilities – Contact the local utility companies to advise them of the pending sale of the property. Utilities should change hands on the last day the seller occupies the property. At settlement, a portion of the seller’s proceeds will be withheld to satisfy any outstanding water bill (water is the only utility that can create a lien against a property).