The decision to buy a home can be one of life’s most significant and often stressful experiences. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve bought homes before, or you’re a first time buyer, or if you’re looking for your primary residence, investment property or a vacation home. The process involved is often a similar experience.
The decisions you make in this real estate market can create opportunities, but may also involve risks. Home buyers today do well to have vital market and property information available to make well-informed decisions. That’s why the help and guidance of a trusted real estate agent is so important in every phase of the purchase process. There are some important steps to keep in mind, and your agent can help guide you through from start to finish.
1. Ask yourself what your plans and goals are.
Figuring these things out beforehand make researching and finding the perfect home much easier. Things you’ll want to consider are why you’re buying a new home and what kind of house or condo you’re looking for. Examining your credit scores, income and current financial situation are also important things to consider, those things are closely linked on your financing options and how much house you can afford. If you have any questions about these things, a good real estate pro can help you from the start.
2. Contact a real estate professional.
If you’re reading this then you’re probably well on your way. Finding the right real estate agent in Little Rock means considering their knowledge of this market, experience and track record on past transactions.
3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
If you need financing, its always recommended to get a home loan pre-approval before you start home shopping. In fact, you may want to consider this step earlier so you know where you stand. The mortgage pre-approval process begins by contacting a lender and providing them information about your credit history, income and debt. They will generally require authorization to look into your credit report and verify your income. On that basis, the lender can give you a pre-approval letter that details how much home you can afford. There are usually many lender options to consider, you can start by searching online to see what’s offered. You can also see what your local bank branch is offering or check with credit unions in the area.
4. Search Little Rock homes for sale, find yours.
Searching homes for sale in Little Rock, AR or anywhere else is all about understanding what you’re looking for. Every buyer is going to want to think about what they’d like to have in a home, verses what they must have. All that being said, a few statistics shed light on how the modern home search process works, and how it might work for you:
- More than 90% of buyers searched for homes on the web or mobile apps.
- 97% of home buyers believe real estate agents were an important part of the search process.
Beginning your search process on a real estate website like LittleRockHome.com offers you the ability to view listings in real time through an IDX data interface. However, there’s no substitute to viewing your potential home in person. The details for various houses may appear similar online, but many aspects can look and feel quite different in person. And as my wife has said before, you can’t smell-test a home on the internet, you have to be there. An experience real estate agent can help you with the rest, look for things that might be easy to overlook, and provide you with professional evaluation and analysis.
5. Make an offer.
You’re searched, shopped and selected the home you want to purchase, now it’s time to make your offer. Your agent can provide you the required contracts that are generally used for real estate transactions in Arkansas. In these contracts, you can provide a price and outline any terms of purchase you want, such as seller paid closing costs, closing date, a deposit amount, or other conditions. Your real estate agent should then review these terms with you for accuracy to ensure your intent is expressed and present it to the home seller and/or their agent or representative.
The seller has the option to accept the offer, reject the offer, or issue a counter offer which begins the negotiation process. Subsequent counter offers between you and the seller may ensue, each with their own deadlines and conditions, until a two-sided agreement is achieved or the negotiations fail. Any negation process can involve components related to local market conditions, issues with the property, and personal practices.
7. Secure your home loan.
With an agreement in place, your next move is to finalize your loan details with your mortgage lender. This involves providing your down payment, finalizing your mortgage interest rate and payment, and finalizing any outstanding underwriting conditions issued in your approval. You’ll know when your financing has final approval when you hear those three exciting words – “Cleared to Close”. Your lender also works with the title company to ensure all the necessary title ownership verification is performed and required title insurance is in place. This required step protects you and them from any past mistakes or defects in the ownership chain.
8. Verify any outstanding sales contract conditions.
The step may involve a final walkthrough of the home before closing , which provides the buyer an opportunity chance to inspect everything one last time to ensure all stipulations in the sales contract are complied with, and that the property is otherwise in the same condition.
9. Close on your new home.
To finalize the settlement process, a closing date, time and location will be assigned where you’ll meet with a title company representative, your real estate professional, your mortgage loan officer, or sometimes just a closing escrow agent may be sent to you to inspect, verify and sign all the settlement paperwork needed to finish your transaction. The settlement procedure involves providing your down payment, covering your closing costs, title fees, insurance fees, adjustments and real estate taxes. Once all that is complete, you’ll get a copy of the new title and copies of all the finance and settlement documentation pertaining to the y0ur new home purchase. CONGRATULATIONS!
10. Move in, make yourself at home.
Now you have the the keys! Hopefully you’ve already hired movers, rented a truck, and started thinking about all the things you want to enjoy in your new home. Moving isn’t easy, but when its moving into your own home its always worth it.