Yes, buying a home can be complicated. But there are two simple steps that work wonders to simplify the home buying process.
Start by creating a solid relationship with an exclusive buyer agent (EBA) or other reliable real estate agent early in the process. Paying attention to a few key details while hiring a REALTOR® will help you establish trust, rapport and support throughout the entire home buying process.
Next, make sure that the REALTOR® you hire has experience representing the interests of home buyers, preferably as an exclusive buyer agent.
To help make things easier to understand, The Home Buyers, Inc. has broken the process into three main stages. And to guide you through the home buying process, we’ve developed a convenient typical home buying timeline.
Besides researching and interviewing prospective REALTORS®, a few other homework items will prove useful before you start visiting homes. And remember, starting by lining up an EBA like The Home Buyers, Inc. can help you each step of the way.
One smart move, for example, is to find a lender before house-hunting. (To help you do that, spend a little time with the Financing section of this site.) Establishing a relationship with a lender lets you get pre-approved for a mortgage. With pre-approval, you can act faster when you find the home you want. That speed can give you an edge when negotiating for the house. Getting pre-approved also confirms how much you will be able to borrow, which in turn can help you determine how much you want to spend.
In addition to knowing the approximate cost of the house you’re seeking, it also makes sense to get very clear about what else you’re looking for. Many start their house hunts without thinking this through. Having clear answers to detailed questions helps you know your dream home when you see it.
Are you looking for a minimum number of bedrooms or bathrooms? Do you need a big yard, or could you do without all that mowing? Do you prefer a certain neighborhood or school district? Are there neighborhoods you would not consider? Do you need to be within a certain distance from your job or other landmark?
Having this homework under your belt puts you in the best position to house-hunt.
You’ve identified your requirements and narrowed down the neighborhoods you want to look in. Armed with a clear idea of what you want, your trusted exclusive buyer agent can get to work, researching and showing homes that precisely match your criteria. Thanks to your work to find the right lender, you’re pre-approved. Your lender is standing by, ready to back you up when the opportunity presents itself.
And, yes, it is possible to use the Internet to search on your own. The good news is that a good EBA like The Home Buyers, Inc. has the tools to target your search and save you from hours of dead-ends and wrong turns online.
Thanks to the homework you’ve done, you’re not chasing down every open house sign you see. And, although there’s less footwork, the homework you’ve done helps ensure that every house is a contender. Even though you’re covering less ground, not a single step is wasted. And, thanks to the homework, you’ll have confidence when it’s time to act.
Your thoughtful homework and purposeful footwork has led you to the perfect home. It’s time to make an offer and negotiate a contract. Expect an exclusive buyer agent (EBA) like The Home Buyers, Inc. to stay by your side all the way to closing—and beyond.
We can help you determine how much to offer, the amount of earnest money to include, which contingency clauses to add and other ways to protect your interests. An EBA acts as your advocate, preparing the purchase documents and presenting the offer to the seller's real estate agent.
If the seller does not accept your offer as presented, expect an EBA to negotiate actively on your behalf. When a seller accepts your offer, your exclusive buyer agent continues to work with you, advocating for you all the way to closing and beyond.
Once the contract is signed, the EBA provides a copy to the lender. A professional appraisal follows, as well as submission of the loan package to your attorney. An EBA will help you secure homeowners insurance and schedule other inspections to ensure that the home is structurally sound. A trained, independent inspector can make sure that nothing contradicts the seller disclosure form.
As the closing date approaches, many home buyers start to prepare to move into their new home. You get the keys and take possession of the home the day you close, so it makes sense to plan ahead. Expect your EBA to accompany you on the final walk-through. Usually taking place the day before closing, the final walk-through ensures that—making allowances for “normal wear and tear”—the house is in the same condition as the day you submitted your offer. This also is when you can confirm that the seller made all agreed-upon repairs.
The final major step is to close and to pay closing costs. Your lender will tell you how much money you must bring to the closing. This is generally the difference between the amount of the purchase price, the earnest money you paid and the amount of your mortgage loan, as well as the title insurance fee and any other expenses not included at closing.
Once all the papers are signed, you get the keys to your new home and you’re welcome to move in.
You know why lots of second-time home buyers choose an Exclusive Buyers Agent over a traditional real estate agency? It's because they've already been through the process—and realize there's a better way to buy a house.