8 Steps to Buying a Home | Rusty Dockery

8 Steps to Buying a Home

1. Select your representative. You need someone on your side.  For a REALTOR to be your agent there must be a written agreement between you and the REALTOR. I recommend me!

Don’t be out there by your self. Have your interests represented, call me at 535-0105.

2. Determine how much you should spend on your new home. I help prequalify buyers for the maximum amount that a lender would lend and then ask, "This is the most you can borrow, how much do you really want to spend?"

I suggest my buyers meet with a good lender as soon as possible. The idea here is to be "preapproved" as opposed to "prequalified". The lender should go beyond the standard qualifying interview. They should pull your credit report, review your income, debt, and certain documents, and submitt your application to an underwriter for approval. With the approval in hand, we can approach the purchase as a "near cash" buyer.

3. List your criteria for new home. That should include the geographic area, size of home, some style elements, and a maximum price. A selection of these from the Multiple Listing Service will initiate the search. We usually make the first list contain no more than eight homes and make the selections as diverse as your criteria will allow.

Remember, we're not selling you a home. You're our client, we're helping you buy. There's a difference. We want to hear you react to the positives and negatives of each home. We're becoming dialed in on the home you want.

If we don’t find the home you’re looking for listed on the market, we’ll approach those folks attempting to sell their own homes. This is a more difficult transaction, as there is no other professional involved and they are frequently priced incorrectly.

4. Evaluate homes as you view them. There is no perfect home but we want to find the home closest to your ideal and then negotiate the very best value for it. My suggestion is to rank each home as it is viewed. How does it rank compared to the others we’ve seen? If it’s not in the top three, don’t clutter your mind with it. Concentrate on the top three with each viewing. After the available homes have been seen, you’ll probably want to go back for an in-depth look at the one you like the most.

We want to find the right house.

5. Work together to draft the offer. This is about a lot more than price. It will also include all terms of the transaction, including the amount of earnest money, whether financing is required and what type, the amount of closing costs you want the seller to pay, your rights of inspection, items you expect to remain with the house, when you need to close and when you expect possession, and your relationship with me, your agent.

6. Make an offer that you want the  seller  to  accept.
Never make an offer you don’t like or on a house you don’t like. If it’s accepted, you’re stuck.

The seller may accept your offer
decline it or make a "counteroffer". If they counter, they’ve voided your offer and you’re no longer bound to it. However, if the counteroffer is acceptable, you have the same three options. Remember, the objective is to buy the house, but to do it at the best available value. I’ll do everything I can to manage the negotiation in your favor without losing your dream house.

7. Closing is my biggest job. There are myriad of details to coordinate. One of the first and most important functions is the inspection. We’ll select an experienced inspector to report on the home. After receiving the report we’ll review it together to determine those concerns than merit additional attention or repair according to the terms we’ve negotiated.

There will also be a termite inspection and an appraisal to review. After these we’ll move on to the survey and title work. I recommend owner’s title insurance over the less expensive mortgagee title insurance, which only protects the interests of your lender.

When all conditions and terms have been met, we’ll meet at the closing attorney’s office for the closing. I prefer to use a closing agent that has an attorney present at the closing rather than a clerical person. Although the attorney is there to represent the lender, they are available to explain questions you may have about the documents you are executing.

8. On to the new house. We’ve already had the utilities turned on it your name, so, put a gallon of milk in the fridge, hook up the TV, light the fire and . . .ENJOY.

Thanks for letting me be part of your new home experience!

Last thing . . . as soon as you get your original recorded deed arrives in the mail from the closing attorney, go to the Tax Assessor’s office at the courthouse to claim your homestead exemption. This is a one time event, there is no cost, and you’re taxes will more than double if you don’t get it done soon.