Your offer was accepted! Now you need to get straight to business. There’s some things you want to take care of right away.
There’s a whole lot of real estate lingo that goes straight over most buyer’s heads.. here’s a list and some definitions of those confusing words.
#1 Earnest Money Deposit: This is cash that will protect the sellers interests while they take their house off the market. Earnest money is proof that you as a buyer are earnestly purchasing their home.
#2 Property Inspections: Once you sign the contract, the deadlines start! There are a lot of deadlines to worry about, but the inspections are the first. Make sure you know how long your inspection period is (ask your realtor if you can’t find it in the contract). There are multiple inspections that may be required depending on the house. Discuss your options with your Realtor, make sure that you resolve inspection issues within the time allowed in your sales contract.
#3 Lender Documents: As soon as you have an executed sales contract, you will need to communicate with your mortgage lender so that they will start the process. Be prepared to provide a whole bunch of documents throughout the whole transaction. Make sure you get your lender their requested paperwork, they are on deadlines as well! Some lenders are really good about keeping you updated on the progress of your loan approval.. some aren’t so good. Make sure you check in with them, your Realtor can help with that too.
#4 Appraisal: Once you have cleared the inspection process, let your lender know. They will then order a home appraisal, an appraisal basically tells the lender if the house is worth the loan amount. Appraisers have 10 business days to complete the appraisal, starting from the day it was ordered. You will likely have to pay for this one.
#5 Home Owners Insurance & Warranties: Lenders will require you to have a Home Owner’s Insurance Policy on the property that you are purchasing. Shop around a little and choose a policy that works for you. When you have the policy in place, let your lender and realtor know.
#6 Turn on the lights!: Well, turn on all the utilities. Get all of them switched over to your name.
#7 Schedule Closing Date & Time: Your sales contract will have a closing date everyone agreed to. Make sure your Realtor contacted the title company in advance to make sure they have a time slot open that would work for you. This one should be easy and should be handled by your Realtor, just make sure you’re in the loop and it isn’t put off til the last minute.
#8 Final Walkthrough: A walkthroughs purpose is to verify that all the repairs required are complete, that the seller’s stuff has been moved out, basically to make sure the house is ready to be moved into! This is a safeguard to guarantee a smooth closing.
#9 Close The Transaction: On the day of closing, you will need your ID and certified funds for any money that is required from you at closing. You will meet with the title company to sign all the papers. Most closings take less than an hour. Once all the paperwork is signed, the house is yours!
The most important thing to do is find the right Realtor. Most of these steps can be handled by your Realtor and if you need to deal with something, they will have the best advise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Buying a home isnt something anyone does everyday, so there will be things you don’t understand and that’s OK! It’s important to find someone you trust and you know will have your best interests at heart. COMMUNICATION is key.