Toggle through the following steps to learn more about the process of buying a home.

The very first step in buying a home is to get completely immersed with the housing market to educate yourself with the topic. A great place to dive in is online and hey you are here so your are well on your way!

An qualified and experienced agent is the best way to get you up to speed on the current housing market. Give Danniel Grigorian a call today.

Timeline : 2 – 5 days

Right now is the best time to get your finances in order to figure out how much you can afford. This means preparing the following information: Financial statements, Bank accounts, Investments, Credit cards, Auto loans, Recent pay stubs, Tax returns for two years, Copies of leases for investment properties, 401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information. Then get prequalified and pre-approved for credit for your mortgage. Sellers are typically more willing to accept offers from pre-approved buyers, because it shows that the buyer is serious and has the financial resources available on their offer.

It is also a good time to check your credit rating.

Having the information in hand before you talk with a lender lets you dispute any errors in the reporting. Based on your credit report, Fair Isaac & Co. (FICO) assigns you a credit score ranging from 350 to 850. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate on your mortgage.

Scores are based on:

  • Payment history: Have you paid your bills on time?
  • Amounts owed: What is your overall debt?
  • Length of credit history: How long have you been borrowing money?
  • Mortgage lenders like to see a long credit history.
  • New credit: Have you applied for new credit?
  • Types of credit: Lenders like to see a variety of types such as bank cards, car loans and student loans.

So what is a good credit score? You can expect a good mortgage rate at anything above 720. Home buyers who pursue an FHA loan can usually secure a loan if their credit is 580 or over.

Get quotes from multiple lenders and go with someone reliable. Read online reviews of each lender and consider their responsiveness, transparency, and estimated closing timeline.

Now for the obvious, you will want to save up for the down payment! A big part of your mortgage will be determined based on how much you pay upfront in the form of a down payment, which is typically 20% of the home’s final sale price, but you can certainly buy a home with less. Generally, the higher the down payment, the better the interest rate will be. If you decide to put down less than 20%, you’ll likely need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Also worth noting is to not forget about having money available for closing costs. Closing costs are fees paid at closing and usually total 2%–5% of the final sale price. Closing costs are the lender and third-party fees paid at the close of a real estate transaction.

You will need a trusted and professional agent on your side for guidance during one of your most important purchase of your life. This is a major milestone to tackle and one that you will want to do it right the first time (and with as little stress as possible). You might just want to take it slow but you will be amazed of how fast fast paced buying a home can be. You might be tempted to use a family friend or relative as your agent but the best fit will be an one who specializes in your areas of interest.

Qualities to look for in your agent:

  • experienced and professional
  • dedicated full time
  • available
  • honest
  • great credentials & education
  • listens to your questions
  • prompt with their responses

The best part is that the seller pays all real estate commissions in a home sale, so working with a great real estate agent won’t cost you a thing!

Timeline : 21 days +

Get ready for his is the fun part! Make a list of what your needs and wishes are to better help your agent narrow down your search. A good agent will have the modern tools that will filter out undesirable options thus narrowing your search. When a potential property becomes available your agent will coordinate with the selling party to show the house to you. Take a camera capable of stills and video with you when previewing a house so that you can remember all and what you liked and didn’t like about them. A quick test for pluming, electrical, open doors and windows, noise levels between floors, outside noise levels is a good idea. Talk to neighbors if possible and evaluate the neighborhood. Is the area well maintained? how is the traffic at different times in the day? Is there enough parking? Is it located close enough to places of interest (schools, shopping, grocery, restaurants, parks and public transportation)? Your agent can also help you with resale value of the properties that you visit. Go to as many open houses as much as you can to get a sense of the market in the area.

Now that you found the one, you will need to make an offer on the house. Your agent will help you figure out the right price for the home. There is an art to making offers and depending on the experience of your agent they will know how to estimate costs associated with the home as well as strategize to make your offer more appealing than other buyers. Counter-offers are common and if you experience one, your agent will help you negotiate the best deal possible. Remember, the listing price is only a starting point. Your agent will understand the market and help guide you to make the most attractive offer, whether it’s below, at or above listing price.

Timeline : 10-17 days from the date your offer is accepted

Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. This is the time where you find out what shape the house is in. A good inspector will spend a lot of time crawling through every aspect and feature of the house to determine what repairs are needed. After the inspection you will either remove contingencies and move to the next phase or the buyer can renegotiate the terms of the contract. Also note that this is the most time you’ll get to spend in your new home until closing. Go ahead and start measuring things and figuring out what goes where!

If you don’t have an insurance agent, now’s the time to find one because your lender will require homeowners insurance. Even if you don’t have a mortgage, insurance is a critical part of protecting your investment. You’ll also want to give utility companies your move-in date to establish service. If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property.

Timeline : 21 – 45 days

This is the big day! You will read and sign papers until you are blue in the face, but it also means you’re close to getting the home of your dreams. Once you and the seller agree on the terms, you’ll enter the closing process, or escrow. You’ll likely be in very close communication with your agent, lender, and escrow agency during this time. It is very important that all parties are on track with the tasks at hand.

Once your enter escrow, you’ll have deadlines to complete each of the following:

  • Make your earnest money deposit
  • Order your title
  • If you have a contingency, get a home inspection and request repairs
  • Work with your lender to finalize your loan
  • Have your home professionally appraised
  • Get homeowner’s insurance
  • Coordinate all of your paperwork with an underwriter
  • Do a final walk-through
  • Submit a cashier’s check for your down payment and closing costs
  • Close escrow and sign all required paperwork

If all goes well, your contingencies will be removed and your bank will get the money to the seller on time for a smooth closing.

You are just about there! final walk through inspection usually takes place a few days before the day of closing the sale. this is the time when you check that everything it should be with no extra items left behind and that everything is included that was agreed upon. The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the seller(s) will sign this statement, as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically into the closing agent’s escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the closing so that you may receive these items at this time.

You are now a homeowner! Call the movers (or your friends) because its time to move into your new home! Your sale contract will specify how soon you get to move in. Sometimes it’s by a certain time on the day you sign closing papers. Sometimes possession happens a few days after closing. Welcome to your new home! You will typically get the keys after 5 pm on your close date.