1. The first step is finding a good buyer’s agent. This isn’t required to buy a home, but working with a professional with experience in all facets of home buying makes the process easier and generally tips the value scale in the buyer’s favor. Your Realtor can generally provide you with the BEST resources for home loans and obtaining a pre-approval letter.
2. Explore. After discussing the ideal home with your agent, you should be looking at properties online and getting out to see the ones you like.
3. Investigation. When real possibilities pop up, its time to research. Learning as much as possible about the home, its neighborhood, and how it would “fit” your life is important!
4. MAKE OFFER! Making an offer is usually done by writing up a Residential Sale Contract that details the entire process of buying along with all the pertinent details. Price, EARNEST MONEY, Closing Date, and timelines for INSPECTIONS and TITLE WORK are written into the offer.
5. NEGOTIATIONS. Every single detail that was put into the contract is open to negotiations. Usually price, closing date, and closing costs are the key items under contention.
6. UNDER CONTRACT!!! Once the buyer and seller have agreed to terms, the home is under contract. The remainder of the buying process should be outlined in the contract. An experienced agent will usually keep track of timelines and make sure the lenders, inspectors, title agencies, the seller and you, the buyer are doing everything necessary to ensure your agreement is properly executed. While contracts vary, the normal periods are listed below:
• INSPECTION PERIOD
• RESOLUTION PERIOD
• FINANCING CONTINGENCY
• TITLE CONTINGENCY
7. CLOSING DATE. The exchange of money from the buyer (and or lender) for the DEED to the home is called CLOSING. Unlike buying a car or other personal property, the closing isn’t instantaneous. In St Louis, most closings occur at title company offices. The buyer usually comes in to sign loan documents, the HUD1 STATEMENT, and other documents to transfer ownership. The Seller comes in after the buyer is finished to finalize. Sometimes the transaction is not completed until the buyer’s bank transfers the money or the deed is sent. Sometimes closings take more than a day to complete.
Once your Realtor hands you the keys, the buying process is over—just in time for the MOVING PROCESS!