Real Estate Transactions have become even more complex over the years for Home Buyers
In this post, I will go through the 10 steps to buying a house in Washington state, and why you would want to have a professional partner with you.
Buying a home is one of the greatest emotional and financial investments anyone can make, having the right real estate broker, mortgage, escrow, and title team who can get the job done is crucial.
If you do the job yourself you can save the commission fee. But if you mess up any of these 10 steps you could end up costing yourself more than you save.
10 Steps to buying a home with a realtor – Infographic
STEP 1 – REPRESENTATION
A good Realtor® is going to represent your best interests and assist you in finding the right home for you.
It is true that you can do a Google search or fire up the Redfin app or John L. Scott mobile search app and do your own home search. You can even set up an alert that sends you a notification when new listings match your search.
It the agent’s job to make sure you are getting the best possible matches to your needs and as quickly as possible. Especially in the market we are currently in when new listings are often sold the same day.
An agent will also do the groundwork for a clean showing, scheduling a time with the listing agent, speaking with the selling agent about the interest in the listing, and looking for possible deterents.
STEP 2 – NEGOTIATING YOUR OFFER
Making an offer on a home is not a black and white process.
This is the lynchpin of the steps and if anything is missed or done incorrectly here it could end up costing a buyer thousands of dollars or result in the offer being denied.
Again, in this market, it is common that you will be competing with other buyers to purchase a good listing. When sellers have competing offers they are going to choose the offer that is in their best interest. This is not as simple as offering more money.
Having a good agent will increase your chance of winning the bids and perhaps save you a little money along the way.
STEP 3 – PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT
The NWMLS Purchase and Sale Agreement that agents use are 5 pages long and have 16 lines of data that need to be entered. In addition there are hundreds of addendums and additional forms that may need to be used to protect you.
It is true that anyone can complete a purchase and sale agreement, but it can be costly if you are not an expert.
A good agent will take the time to ensure that the forms are filled out correctly and the necessary forms and addendums are used. There are also time limits on each phase of the sales process that need to be monitored to protect your interest.
STEP 4 – THE HOME INSPECTION
This is the last step before a buyer could potentially loose their earnest money.
The first step is to find a home inspector that will be working for you. If there are problems with the home you need to know about it so you are capable making a sound decision. Or it may be in your best interest to waive the home inspection in order to win a bid on a highly desirable home.
If your agent wrote your purchase and sale contingent on a home inspection your home inspector will give you a home inspection report.
At this point you and your agent will need to go over the report and successfully negotiate your home inspection response.
STEP 5 – Transaction Process
Once you have negotiated, or accepted, the home inspection response, or waived it, and both parties have signed off then the transaction process begins.
This is when you need to start shopping for home owners insurance, your agent can help you with this.
Paperwork is going to start flying your way and chances are you going to have many questions that a Realtor can answer for you.
STEP 6 – LOAN COMMITMENT
This is where an underwriter has reviewed the application and you will receive a letter that includes all conditions to the loan approval. As long as all the conditions are met the lender is committing to loaning you the money.
Often times, when a borrower wants or requires a commitment letter, we will begin with a preapproval letter with the commitment letter following once we receive the underwriters approval.
It is subject to many different changes or conditions, and the financing addendum, that may arise and this is where your agent can help you stay ahead of the game and keep the loan commitment.
STEP 7 – THE APPRAISAL
An appraiser needs to provide an independent estimate of the value of the house you are buying. The appraisal, a third party service not associated with the buyer or seller, will state what the current market value for the home is.
There are a few possibilities at this stage. The appraisal could come in high or low, or the appraiser could add new conditions. Or the appraisal could be the price you negotiated with no conditions.
An experienced agent can help you navigate this step to insure your potential new investment.
STEP 8 – TITLE AND ESCROW
Title will get ordered much earlier than this. A title search is required to legally transfer a property. The purpose is to make sure the property is clear of any liens, or claims that would endanger the new buyers ownership rights.
The title company will issue a title insurance to protect both parties against any hidden or unforseen problems.
Escrow will be hired to make certain all conditions of your sale have been met prior to property and money changing hands
Your realtor will facilitate all this and keep you in the loop.
STEP 9 – FINAL WEEK OF CLOSING
This is where the i’s get dotted and the t’s get crossed. Everyone is scrambling to make sure that the deal closes on time.
You can expect to not hear much but rest assured everyone is hard at work.
This is when you will hear from escrow to schedule your signing. Once everything is signed the lender will fund the money and it is recorded to public records and you are the owner.
Your agent will help you prepare for the closing and will deliver your keys on the special day.
STEP 10 – POST CLOSING SERVICES
Now we can take a breathe and celebrate our new purchase.
This is where your agent should bring you a gift and answer any questions you may have about home ownership or any of the documents you just signed.
Your agent should stay in contact with you over the years in case you ever need any help.
The purpose of this article is to inform and educate home buyers on how complex the home buying process really is and why it is a good idea to have a Realtor on your team.
The 10 steps to buying a home with a Realtor is still just an overview. We did not discuss the 100’s of different forms or addendums that may be needed or all the worst case scenarios that seem to pop their head up when you least expect it. Or all the phone calls and documents that are going back and forth.
If you have wondered why a buyer’s agent gets a commission now you know.