From decision to closing, review the timeline of your purchase.
Know what you expect the new place to do for you
When you own the new property......what will you be able to do that you couldn't do before?
What will it mean to you once you finally have it?
Determine & confirm “where” factors
Determine the most important factors related to where you will move to.
If you have school age children you want to review our school guide (use the search tool and enter the text "school"), visit the campuses, and speak with a few teachers and parents before you decide where you will buy
If its about lifestyle you have to think about where the things are that you will be doing so that you are not too far because the long and constant driving will get old fast.
Use our decision tools to help you figure this out yourself
Get pre-approved for any financing and a recently dated copy of the Pre-approval and/or letter
Get an authoritative letter for any purchase that is cash
Determine the single factor in which you are willing to be most flexible:
Pick a full-time agent who respects your investment and can actually negotiate better than yourself
Sign a "Loyalty Agreement" or "Buyer Broker Agreement" to protect the agent you will be working with from unscrupulous actions from other agents
Search for Property
Consumer websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com only allow Buyers to enter basic search parameters:
Price Range $X to $Y
Agent's search tools provide Buyers with more detailed options
Filter and require or remove additional features such as:
Country club communities with mandatory equity fees
Adult communities that restrict by age
If the home you are interested in is under contract(may fall out of contract)
Association fees less than $X
Within specific school zones
In a building with an elevator
In a building with greater than or less than X stories
# of floors
# of units in building
On a lake, bay, intracoastal, or beach/ocean
Set your expectations
Be strict with (focused in) your search criteria, even as you change your criteria.
Know what (and where) you can buy TODAY (not 2 years ago) in your price range. You can always change it.
Available property will come and go - especially the good homes and good offers.
Getting a property starts with securing it. You won't have a chance at getting it until you first take it away from the other home hunters. Get a contract signed - you can always back out.
Buying a house is like picking up a sport you haven't played in a long time - you wont gain the comfort and confidence until you start doing it. Get prepared and make offers! You can always back out.
Saying you are "not in a rush" is silly - there is no notion fast or slow because you have no choice. Either you are:
In the market where you must compete and be quick
Running around with no hope of accomplishing anything
At some point you will have to decide if you are going to compete with the thousands of OTHER buyers in the market making offers and securing property, or if you are going to quit.
Don't look for "unicorns". Any great deal that appears on the public market was already sold and is being posted as a formality or for an agent to get leads. The best deals are found DURING the course of making an offer on something realistic, which is when you learn about the seller's actual situation
You are going to get beat out sometimes. In some markets you may have to make more aggressive offers with some short-term risk. Do it, you'll get through it!
Try to schedule several showings in a day because Many wont work out for a variety of reasons
Use our Home Evaluator tool
Submit, Negotiate, & Execute Offers
This is not the time to be reserved - its all timing
Typical offers have a backout period, so you can safely make multiple offers and just back out
Negotiate and Execute offers
Know your key contract dates/deadlines
There will be a series of deadlines that the parties to the transaction will have to meet
inspection period - after which buyer cannot back out
financing - when buyer secures financing
deposits - a series of small deposits representing increasing commitment
appraisal and survey - valuation of the home and official definition of property limits
association and/or club application and approval - if the community requires
insurance - secure policy prior to closing
clear title - evidence and verification of transferable ownership
preliminary closing statement - closing costs. Usually commission + 1.5% for sellers and just 1.5% for buyers
closing - date, time and place
Resolve Pending Items
Wait for results of
"contingency period" - initial period during which the buyer can back out
Bank appraisal and survey - Buyer gets bank approval for mortgage
Any application for HOA/Club - buyer approval by the community if required
Title clearance - proving there are no doubts that question the current ownership
Buyer gets insurance
Preliminary ATLAS closing costs confirmed by all parties
Buyer transfers remaining cash required
Closing on your new place
The closing DOES NOT HAVE TO BE IN PERSON. You can pre-sign from a distance! Otherwise you can show up in person and:
Bring 2 forms of Identification
Provide closing agent with your bank routing information