STEPS TO BUYING A HOME in MARYLAND OR NORTHERN VIRGINIA
IT'S A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR BUYER'S AGENT
BUYING A HOME CAN BE A JOYFUL EXPERIENCE,
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM AN EXPERIENCED BUYER'S AGENT.
LET'S GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER and LEAVE THE DRIVING TO US.
Homefinders experienced buyer's agents like to start the home buying adventure with a tour of homes. You get
to know us and we get to know you. We'll take you on a tour of a home or two to show you how working with a dedicated buyer's agent will show you how to preview a home. Some folks walk through a home. An experienced buyer's agent looks deep in to the soul of the home. You can select the home or homes to tour from your local listing database of active listings on the Internet. Most MLSs in the US offer a similar on line resource for prospective home buyers to search the real estate market in your area. That way, you, the home buyer, can get a feel for what your money will buy. Or, your buyer's agent will select a home or homes to show you based on your stated criteria of price range and location of homes.
Once you decide to work with a buyer's agent you'll have an agent who will not only show you homes, they will tell you everything they know about a home. Your buyer's agent will explain the importance of the property disclosures, the type of disclosure that sellers are required by law to make and how these disclosures help you to understand the condition of the home you visited. In many states, the agent will require a written Buyers Agency Agreement. This provides you with the services of a fiduciary in many states.
TIME TO GET PRE-QUALIFIED or PRE-APPROVED
You have an agent. That means you have a person experienced in real estate brokerage who will help you every step of the way from home search to settlement. So, depending on how quickly you wish to buy, we need to be prepared. If you have a preferred lender, contact them and tell them that you're ready to buy a home in and wish to have a written pre-qualifying or pre-approval letter. If you do not have a preferred lender, your buyer's agent can recommend lenders to you that are experienced with loans for the type home your are planning to buy. You'll need to get the pertinent information to the lender and have a credit report review and a letter prepared. Now you are really ready to buy a home.
YOU SET THE PACE
At no time during the above initial steps in your home search will you be pressured to buy anything. Most buyer's agents understand that some buyers who call on a specific home may be ready to buy NOW. We also understand that some buyers, particularly first time home buyers need time to learn the market and the home buying process. You're buyer's agent's job is to help you reach your goal of buying a home, not just sell you a house.
YOU ARE READY TO SELECT A HOME
Now is the time to really look at the home you have to selected to write an offer to buy. Your buyer's agent will provide you with the DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER STATEMENT or comparable Property Condition Disclosure for your market, information about other sales in the area with which to compare the list price, lead based paint disclosures (if the home was constructed prior to 1978), other disclosures as appropriate. Time permitting, we'll tour the home again and look in every nook and cranny of every room of every floor, inside and out, to make sure you know as much as possible about the home BEFORE you write an offer.
WRITE THE OFFER
Your buyer's agent will explain the RESIDENTIAL CONTRACT OF SALE to you in detail. You can decide if you wish to have a home inspection, Radon inspection (highly recommended for homes in some areas in Maryland and Northern Virginia), how the Home Warranty works, what all of the addenda mean and help you structure your offer considering price, settlement date, inspections, and every aspect of the written offer. Offers are in writing and are very serious. At this time, you must have. at the least, a pre-qualifying letter to accompany your offer.
OFFER, COUNTER OFFER
Once you make a written offer, it must be presented to the seller, often through the listing agent, with all addenda and often along with other buyers' offers competing for the same property. Your buyer's agent will stay on top of the negotiating process to make sure that your interests are promoted depending on what is important to you. Often the settlement date is as important to the buyer or seller as the price.
YOU HAVE A CONTRACT, WHAT NOW?
At this point, your Earnest Money Deposit will be deposited in an Escrow Account with an escrow company, title company or with a broker's trust account. Your buyer's agent will schedule any inspections(s) quickly because they are a contingent on the contract and are date sensitive. If the home inspector finds serious defects in the home you will have the option of declaring the contract void (many areas) or giving the seller an opportunity to make repairs or crediting you with cash at settlement to compensate for the defects. Some types of financing will limit the credit you can receive from the seller. Your buyer's agent will explain all of the options to you.
ELVES AT WORK
While the lender is working on your loan commitment, your buyer's agent is preparing your purchase for settlement. Your Contract of Sale will be taken to a title company and the title company will begin the process of ordering a copy of your title and all of the transactions recorded in the county for that property. Once the title is searched, the report will be sent to the title company and they will make sure that the title can be conveyed to you with no liens or encumbrances.
The title company will also order a survey of the property that you have under contract. You'll receive a copy of the survey at settlement. The lender will order an appraisal of the property. The purpose of the appraisal is to make sure that the property is equal in value or more than the purchase price of the home. While the appraisal protects the lender, it is also protection for you, the home buyer. Your buyer's agent will usually order the termite inspection. You'll be protected by contract in case of infestation or repairs due to wood destroying insects. If the property is on well and septic, the well water will be tested to make sure it meets county standards for safety. Inspection of septic systems is recommended and your agent will arrange these inspections for you. This is a matter of negotiation and often the seller will agree to have the septic system inspected. During this time, you should be available to your loan officer to provide any documentation requested.
It's time to order hazard insurance. This is a condition of your mortgage loan. You can select the insurance company of your choice. Often you'll get a discount if you also insure your automobile with that insurance company. Your buyer's agent will recommend an agent if you don't have one.
Title work is completed. Survey is completed. Appraisal is completed. All of the verifications for your accounts, employment are in. . . . . Your loan is approved, settlement can take place on the date agreed in the contract.
LET'S GO TO SETTLEMENT
The lender will send the new Deed to the title company along with the Deed of Trust, Note and the money to fund your loan. You will bring a Cashiers Check for the down payment and closing costs according to the Good Faith Estimate provided by your lender when you made the loan application. The title officer or attorney will explain all of the documents prepared for your signature and collect your closing money. The seller will sign the Deed and give you the keys to your newly purchased home. Your buyer's agent will usually accompany you to settlement and make sure everything is in order.
Counties served in Northern Virginia: Alexandria, Arlington, Culpeper, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Westmorland.
Counties served in Virginia: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, St. Mary's, Washington counties and the Maryland Eastern Shore in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wocomico, Worchester
Congratulations. You just purchased a home. Enjoy.
Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, Serving home buyers in Maryland and Virginia.