Our clients love our approach to the home buying process. Rather than try to get as many clients from start to finish as quickly as possible, we prefer to listen to our clients’ needs & priorities & work at each client’s preferred pace. Our role is to be available & informative without any pressure at all. We typically follow these steps:
We’ll discuss your needs & priorities and determine your time frame, which will set the pace for your search. Some clients need to close asap, while others have plenty of time to browse & make their decision. During this consultation, we’ll identify your price range, the type of property you need, & we’ll discuss which areas/neighborhoods would be a good fit. If you need help w/ a mortgage pre-approval, we will give you a list of preferred lenders at this time.
Your property portal will email you new listings as they become available & allows you to save favorites/possibilities, add comments, & remove properties that you don’t like. If it’s a collaborative search with your partner, it’s a great way for you to communicate with each other about properties. We typically like to include as many areas/neighborhoods as could possibly fit your search and then remove neighborhoods & areas as you narrow your search down. Likewise, we like to set up the property criteria broadly (price, beds/bath, square footage) and then add more criteria as you define your “must haves” in a home.
We usually recommend setting up a 2-4 hour appointment to view multiple properties on the first 1-2 outings. Since you’ve just begun your search, there is the most inventory that you’ve not yet viewed, so we’re able to look at quite a few houses in a short period of time. As we look at homes, you will naturally like some properties and dislike others. We’ll help point out what it is you like & dislike about properties so that it’s easier to determine what properties are a good fit in the future. During showings, we’ll point out potential resale problems that can’t be fixed (backing to a busy road, awkward floorplans, etc.) We’ll also help show you what can be improved and what these home renovations would cost.
When it’s time to make an offer, we’ll run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine the Fair Market Value (FMV) of the property. We’ll talk to the listing agent to see if there are other offers on the property and then put together an offer contract, which has every term of the contract outlined in detail. Sometimes the seller will accept your initial offer, but typically there are 1-3 rounds of negotiations. After we’ve come to terms on the contract, you’re officially under contract!
After you’ve put the property under contract, you will need to deposit earnest money (typically 1%) with title & write a check to the sellers for your option fee ($200-$500 depending on the price of the home.) You’ll have 7-10 days to have the property inspected and negotiate any repairs. The inspection will typically cost $500, plus well and septic if applicable which is the last check you will write before closing. Closings are usually 30-45 days from the contract date, and it’s outlined in advance in the contract.
You’ll receive the settlement statement from your lender 3 days prior to closing. This shows you exactly how much you need to wire into the title company & shows you what you’re paying for at closing. If you would like to schedule a final walk through of the property, we can do so the night before or morning of closing. We like to schedule closings at 2PM or earlier to make sure the file funds on the same day. Unfortunately, you don’t get your keys until the lender has funded the loan, which takes 1-2 hours after the last party has signed. As soon as the property has funded, you can either pick up the keys from title or have them send a runner to you with the keys. If you can’t be available for the closing, let us know ahead of time, and we can set up a mobile notary to come to you for a remote closing.
It’s natural for you to have questions about the home & home ownership after closing. We’re always available to answer questions and to provide you with referrals to any vendors you may need. We typically stay in touch with our clients for years after closing and we’re always happy to help in any way we can!