It is always a good idea to sit down with a Realtor, or two, and talk to them about the process that they follow and the team of people that they work with. Let me give you a brief description of how I work with my clients.
- Initial Conversation: this is when we talk about your goals, your dreams, your fears and your concerns.
- Get qualified with a lender: Before you spend a ton of time looking at properties, you owe it to yourself to understand how your purchase will work financially.
- Look at homes on-line: once you know your financial situation we can start targeting areas that interest you. We will start to focus in on certain types of homes or preferred neighborhoods.
- Pick homes to see in person: We will start reviewing specific homes and determining which ones warrant an in-person viewing.
- Go to see Properties: This step can happen once or 20 times until we identify a home that you want to make an offer on.
- Draft an offer: We will pull together all the details of the offer and put them into a contract. Your lender will put together a letter that can go to the seller confirming that you can afford the purchase.
- Negotiate the offer: There is often some back and forth here. It is normal, to be expected and stressful! Understanding your financial position comes into play here.
- Ratify the Contract: Negotiations are over and all parties have come to agreement. You now have a RATIFIED Contract!
- Work to Clear Contingencies: A lot of contracts will have contingencies for financing, appraisal, home inspection and radon testing (as well as others). Once you have a ratified contract, we will work through these contingencies together to get your contract to ‘Non-Contingent’ status.
- Close (or settle) on your new home! I think this one is self-explanatory, but just to be clear, this is where you get put on the title of the property.
Keep in mind that steps 5-9 can happen more than once. You might lose out in a negotiation (although not if I can help it!) or you may find that something comes up during the contingency period that causes you to want to void the contract.
Each of these steps has a lot of activities–too many to really detail. I will be there as a hand-holder, counselor, cheerleader, team captain and mostly as a professional to explain what you should expect and what you need to do each step of the way. Understanding the high level process will make purchasing your first home a whole lot less stressful!