Ask as many questions as you want and focus on gathering facts. Look beyond them to deduce if the house fits your criteria for price, place, style and function. Get a Valuation Report of the Home: Remember that such property reports and CMAs do not factor in any recent renovations — such as kitchen or bathroom remodeling — so the estimated value will be affected accordingly. As well, the CMA may or may not factor in foreclosures and distressed sales, which can artificially depress the average selling price in the vicinity.
These are factors that the appraiser considers when he visits the house as required by the lender as outlined in Step 8. The CMA gives you a snapshot of the likely value of the house. The appraiser will weigh all the factors in his customized appraisal. Use our Find a Pro page to find an attorney near you. Once you have seen the home firsthand and have a property valuation report, and have lined up an attorney, you are ready to present the seller with an offer.
Technicalities are easily handled. The real tension is making an offer that leaves room for negotiation but that is not so low that it is offensive. Structure your offer based on the market research you have completed and your direct observations of the condition and amenities of the house.
Some amenities that the seller believes add value might not be worth much, if anything, to you. Swimming pools, hot tubs and fancy outdoor kitchens often fall in this category.
If you believe that such amenities do not add value to the property, deduct their perceived value from your offer accordingly. Be sure to focus on function and structure, not on easily changed, subjective factors.
Outline your objective reasoning as an addendum to your offer. This helps the buyer understand your logic. Continue negotiating until you have agreement with the seller on the terms: Lock in Your Mortgage Rate: First, bring your offer to your lender for a firm commitment for the mortgage. Even if you are prequalified, shop around one last time for the best terms and lowest mortgage rate.
LendingTree has a great mortgage comparison tool that will give you current rates at major lending institutions. You should also visit local banks and contact mortgage brokers to price compare.
Your lender will assign an appraiser to examine the terms of the sale and the property itself. If your accepted offer is significantly above the recent sale prices of comparable properties in your new neighborhood, the appraiser may object. That puts the deal in jeopardy because the lender will not make a loan for a house that is being sold for more than the market value indicated by the appraiser. Get the Home Inspected: The inspector may or may not confirm that the house is in compliance with local building codes.
If there have been recent improvements, you may want to ask the inspector to validate that the improvements were made legally and comply with the building code. If the improvements are not up to code, and you buy the house, the cost of bringing the house into code compliance is on you.
Again, visit our Find a Pro page to find an inspector near you. Depending on the results on the inspection report, you might want to re-negotiate the purchase price.
Getting Pre-Approved A pre-approval means a lender has approved you for a loan at a specified amount based on your income, assets, debt, and credit.
Most sellers will require pre-approval to validate the sales contract on a home. Pre-approvals can usually be completed within one to two business days of receiving all requested documentation. A home is more than just a collection of rooms. Several similar properties may represent totally different designs, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs and dimensions—inside and out.
Consider price, location, size, amenities, and type. Also think several years down the road. Where to look Once you know what you want, start looking. Once you have an idea of what you want, contact a local Realtor who can suggest properties. Be sure to do the research and obtain the services of an experienced Realtor who knows the area well. They may also have developed solid relationships with lenders that may prove useful.
You can also check area real estate listings online and select several houses to visit. The seller can make a counter offer and you can counter again. Inspection and Appraisal A home inspection safeguards you against unforeseen problems that could pop up down the road. A similar but separate process is the appraisal. An appraiser will determine how much the house is really worth by comparing it to other similar homes on a number of features like lot size, square footage, etc.
Your lender will order an appraisal of the home you intend to buy. Your Realtor or the seller can let the appraiser into the home. The lender normally sends a copy of the appraisal to the buyer. Closing on a home means that the sale is complete, and all the terms and conditions of the purchase agreement have been met. At this point, the seller gives the buyer title to the property. There are fees and expenses associated with closing. On average, they range from three percent to five percent of the total loan amount.
Closing costs can sometimes be rolled into the financing or even paid by the seller. Every situation is different. Check with your Realtor for your options. The Home Buying Process Every home buying experience is different.
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