So, you've decided to pack up your bags and turn in your move-out notice to your landlord. Maybe you've decided that living with mom & dad isn't so great for your social/love life. Perhaps you've just gotten a promotion and your new office will be located in the "Big D". No matter what your situation, you are going to be purchasing a home in the North Texas (McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Allen...) area and you don't know where to begin. Until NOW...
As a Buyer Specialist for the last 11 years, I've had the privilege of working with tons of home BUYERS. Not that sellers aren't great, but my heart belongs to the buyers. Many times I get the most satisfaction from working with First Time Homebuyers or buyers that are relocating to this area. In many ways, the relo buyers are like first time buyers. How? Buying a home in California and buying a home in New York and buying a home in Dallas or McKinney are completely different ballgames! Different laws, customs & processes are involved.
Below is a step-by-step guide to buying a home in my neck of the woods.
1. Make Decision to Purchase!
2. Choose a Realtor - ANY of our dedicated, knowledgable (and all around FUN) agents!
3. GET PRE-APPROVED! Meet with a lender who will tell you how much you can spend!! This is the MOST important step!! If you do not have a lender please ask me and I will provide a list of Loan Officers that have done a great job for us! Having a pre-approval letter that can be sent to the seller with your offer is a way of showing the seller that you are a serious buyer. DO THIS NOW!
4. Make your "Wish List"! Tell us all about your ideal home! Start using the Prospect Gateway Portal - a special website we'll create JUST FOR YOU that automatically emails you when a new listing hits the market that meets your specific criteria! Make notes and sort listings by "Favorite", "Possibility" or "Reject". We want to know your likes & dislikes. Our goal is to not waste your time showing you the wrong houses!
5. Preview Homes! With rising gas prices, there is no need for you to drive from house to house! Leave the driving to us while you make notes and learn about the neighborhoods! We will call and schedule all showings - don't make the mistake of shopping on your own and having to call each & every Realtor to see a home! Just because we are an independent brokerage, DOESN'T mean we can't show other homes listed by other companies. We're members of the MLS (multiple listing service) and can show ANY - yes, I mean ANY - home on the market!
6. Make an Offer! After researching comparable properties we will make an informed offer. We'll explain the contract, answer your questions and negotiate all terms of the contract with your best interest in mind! We will address contingencies, such as: Home Inspection, Financing, Closing Date, etc.
$$ You will deposit an Earnest Money check and Option Fee check with the contract. Earnest Money is customarily 0.5% - 1.5% of the purchase price (depending upon the price range you are shopping in) and is made out to the Title Company. The Option Fee is negotiable, but typically $50-250 and is made out to the Seller. Both checks will be credited to you at closing.
7. Contract Acceptance! Yeah! This begins Day Zero in our timeline. This begins in Texas what is called the "Option Period". Home inspections will be scheduled during this time. During the Option Period (which is also negotiable and usually anywhere from 5-10 days) you have the right to walk away from the contract for any reason and still get your Earnest Money back. You will only lose the Option Fee you paid to the seller.
8. Home Inspection/Termite Inspection. We will attend the home inspection once it is completed. The Inspector will review the report and answer your questions. Based upon the findings of the inspection we can negotiate any repairs you would like the seller to make. Both parties must sign an amendment to the contract, with all negotiated repairs listed, before the Option Period expires. The termite inspection is typically performed at the same time as the home inspection. Your lender may require a copy of this report.
$$ The Home Inspection is a cost to the Buyer. Cost of the inspection is dependent upon square footage and other factors, but averages $250-600. You pay this cost up front by check/credit card or sometimes it can be added to your closing statement.
9. Title Work. The title company is working in the background to make sure they can provide clear title to the property for the buyer when it closes.
$$ Survey - If the current seller does not have a survey or the survey is not deemed to be good, then you may be required to pay for a new survey. The title company or your lender will be responsible for ordering this according to the contract.
$$ Appraisal - This is typically paid up front with your lender, and it is also ordered by your lender.
*You must have a clean survey and the home must appraise in order to close! We will monitor these activities and keep you updated on each step of the process.
10. Obtain Homeowners Insurance! Your lender and the title company will need this information prior to closing. Shop around and compare quotes!
11. Contact Utility Companies & Make Moving Arrangements! Make arrangements to have water, electric, gas, cable & phone service prior to your move-in day.
We're getting closer...
12. Final Walk-Thru - This gives you the chance to visit the property one last time before closing to make sure any repairs that were requested have been made and that the home is in acceptable move-in condition (per terms of the contract).
13. Closing & Funding - Closing means the paperwork has been signed by both the buyer and seller...but that's all. The property is not legally conveyed (read-you don't get the keys) until the funds from the buyer are wired to the title company and then wired to the seller. **It is also important to note that many times a home does not fund on the same day it closes. Sometimes it won't fund until the next day, or if it closes on a Friday not until the following Monday. Be wary of long holiday weekends too! For this reason we suggest a morning closing, mid-week if possible. Particularly if you plan on moving over a weekend!
You're a new homeowner!