What To Expect When Buying A Home

Buying a home is an intimate process.  From selecting a home to envelope your family within to enduring negotiations that can leave our nerves exposed, buyers need endurance and know-how to see the process through.  Assembling a team of professionals to support and guide you along the way is as critical as it is strategic.  When each member of your team brings their expertise to the table, you are better leveraged as a buyer in today's competitive market.  Below I'm walking you through what it looks like to be a buyer from establishing relationships to offer acceptance!

Step 1: Let’s meet!

You’re ready to buy a home - what next?  The first step when beginning your home search is to meet.  In this casual, get-to-know you setting we are talking all things hopes and dreams.  The more information I can gather about where you’ve been, what’s worked, what hasn’t and where you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years or more, the more in tune I can be with producing solutions that work.  Like any good interview, my hope is that you feel comfortable opening up with me and sharing about the vision you have for your family.  Chances are I’ll share with you about my background in corporate marketing, my experience in local renovation, my love of real estate and likely my four kids.

In addition, this initial meeting will give me an opportunity to do some information gathering.  We’ll cover all sorts of topics from whether you have a home to sell or lease obligation to fulfill to specifics of your next home - proximity to landmarks, style of home, favorite neighborhoods, best methods of communication and so on.  When we part ways, we’ll have a customized action plan and our next steps in place to get you that much closer to your dream home.

Step 2: Establish a lender

Part of our initial dialogue will be whether or not you have established a relationship with a lender.  Before we can begin our home search, we will need to have a pre-approval in place.  A pre-approval is a high level review of your finances by a lender - your debt, income and asset ratio to qualify you to purchase a home up to a particular value.  This pre-approval comes in the form of a letter and is submitted along with any offers that you make.  From a seller’s perspective, this letter serves as reassurance that the buyer has the funds to perform on the terms they’ve outlined in the purchase agreement.

Like your Realtor, your lender should be someone you feel comfortable sharing sensitive information with.  Your lender is a critical member of your team that will work closely with your Realtor to bring your transaction across the finish line.  Challenges can arise in any real estate transaction - your lender should be experienced, adaptable and solution-oriented.

Step 3: The search begins

Once we've taken those initial strides to assemble your team and leverage you as a buyer, it's time to start seeing homes.  Real estate today, like the rest of the world, is driven by technology that allows buyers and their agents to have the most current market information right at their finger tips.  There are lots of options for how to search for properties and we’ll identify the medium that works best for you.

Auto Emails

Within the Multiple Listing Service, I can create one or more ‘saved searches’ that fit your home search criteria.  We can tailor them to a specific neighborhood, number of bedrooms, square footage, location of laundry, lot size - the list goes on.  When a new property comes on the market that meets your specifications, an email will be generated to notify you of the property.

Smart Phone Applications

Some buyers like the ease of searching for properties directly from their smart phone.  Through the HomeSpotter app, we can search for new properties, save, share and message right within the application.  This streamlined process eliminates the need to search and communicate across multiple platforms and keeps dialogue open as your home search evolves.  HomeSpotter is free to download through a link I provide you by text.

Step 4: Touring properties

When we’ve identified a home or homes we think warrant a closer look, I will request showings through a program called ShowingTime.  Some buyers prefer to set aside an afternoon to tour a handful of properties and try them on for size.  Others prefer to have their Realtor preview properties to eliminate any that ultimately fall short.  New listings to the market often accompany a sense of urgency, especially during the spring market.  Our search may dictate some one-off showings or even video tours to insure we don’t forfeit our opportunity on a particular property.  Regardless, we’ll devise a plan to view properties that’s comfortable and conducive to your lifestyle.

Step 5: Submitting an offer

When we’ve found the home that you are ready to call yours, we’ll prepare an offer for the seller.  This will mean making decisions on the specific terms of your offer such as:

  • your purchase price

  • the amount of earnest money you will provide

  • your proposed closing date

  • any contingencies you elect such as a home inspection

  • whether or not the seller is contributing to your closing costs

Often these decisions come down to understanding the way that the market is behaving in a particular neighborhood, so we’ll closely examine recently sold comparables to help us hone in on the exact terms of your offer.  Your offer will be drafted and signed electronically and sent to the listing agent by email.

A listing agent will confirm receipt of the offer and give a timeline as to when the offer will be presented to the seller.  Each situation is different depending on the needs of the seller, whether there are multiple offers in play, the length of time the home has been on the market, etc.  Waiting can be the most challenging part of the process - we’ll keep communication open and maintain an ongoing dialogue to thwart off any unnecessary anxiety.

Step 6: An accepted offer

Each transaction is different as to the amount of negotiation that can be expected.  Word of an accepted offer typically comes by phone from the listing agent to the buyer’s agent.  There’s no better news to share with a client than news of an accepted offer!  Final acceptance is dated on the purchase agreement and considered binding upon delivery.  A slew of activity follows an accepted purchase agreement - from depositing earnest funds to scheduling inspections, initiating lending, appraisals, title and more.

What does it mean to be a successful buyer?  It means that you found the home you've been searching for and you were able to call it your own.  Let’s sit down and start assembling the team that can help you gain the traction you need to land the home of your dreams.  Reach out by email at sarah@foxhomes.com or by phone at (612) 723-7636.  Have a home you need to sell?  Read about what to expect when listing your home here and how to go about preparing your home for selling right here.