1. Choose a Lender and Get Pre-Approved
The right lender will help you select a loan program that fits your individual needs and will get you the best possible rates and terms. Lenders also provide you with a loan pre-approval, which qualifies you for financing up to a maximum amount. Pre-approval is most important in a competitive bidding situation as it shows the sellers that you can afford to buy the property in question.
If you do not have a lender, or need help choosing one, please contact us. We have working relationships with many lenders and can recommend one that best fits your needs.
2. Discuss Agency and Realtor Duties
Before you begin your search for your dream home, it is important to know the difference between the types of agency.
- The Listing Agent represents the seller. They list the home and assist the seller through the selling process.
- Seller's Agent assists potential buyers but works in the interests of the seller.
- Buyer's Agent represents a single buyer and works in the interest of that buyer.
Until a Buyer Agency Agreement is discussed and signed, a Realtor works as a Seller's Agent. This means they are working in the seller's interest rather than the buyer's interest. We always recommend signing a Buyer Agency Agreement to represent your interest as a buyer. This will assist greatly in getting the best price and terms.
3. Define Your Wants and Needs
After your loan pre-approval, it is time to take a realistic approach to what you want versus what you need in a home. What features are most important to you and what can you live without? We will discuss your needs and wants together to determine the right properties for you. This will narrow your home search and help determine the right properties to tour. As you tour homes, you may find that your needs change; we can adjust your search criteria at any time to make your home search more efficient.
4. Receive a List of Possible Homes
We can show you any property on the market. Realtors use a system called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which lists all the properties available on the market regardless of what company the property is listed through. We check the MLS system throughout the day, so we can give you information on a property as soon as it is listed. For properties outside the MLS system, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties for instance - just call us with the information and we can contact the owner for you.
A mistake to avoid: often a buyer sees a home for sale and calls the agent listed on the "for sale" sign to get more information. This is not good practice - the agent on the sign is the Listing Agent and is working in the best interest of the seller, not you as a buyer.
5. Tour Homes
When you see a property you would like to tour, contact us and we'll arrange a showing for you. We recommend seeing a property as soon as possible - you don't want a good one to get away!
6. Make an Offer
Once you find the perfect home, as your buyers agent, we will help you to write the Offer to Purchase and negotiate for you with your best interests in mind. We will give our expert opinion as to the home's true worth, our estimation of what the seller will accept as terms of the offer, and work together with you to get the best price for the home.
7. Coordinate Home Inspection
A professional home inspection is essential to protect you as a buyer from unseen damage. It is important to know the difference between cosmetic repairs, solid construction and serious damage. A home inspector will check through the entire home and provide a report for you detailing needed maintenance and repairs. If major damage is found, the report is then used as a tool to renegotiate the contract. As an added benefit, if you purchase the home, the report can be used as a checklist to maintain your new home.
8. Coordinate Final Walk-through
Before closing you will have the opportunity to tour the home one more time. If the seller has agreed to have work done as a result of findings of the home inspection, we will check it over at the walk-through to make sure it was completed. We will also look for any current damage or adverse changes to the property that may have occurred while the seller was moving out.
9. Attend Closing
At the closing, your lender and Cherry Home Realtor will be present to guide you through the paperwork. All financial details will be settled and the title will be transferred to your name. Congratulations, you are a new homeowner!
Approximate Costs when Buying a Home
Earnest Money: $500-1000
Home Inspection: $300-400
Home Owners Insurance: $500
Closing Costs (loan fees to be discussed with personal lender)
Down Payments (dependent on your loan program)