Contrary to popular belief, the financing portion of the home-buying process comes BEFORE finding a home. We typically recommend home buyers consult with a lender immediately upon making the decision to search for a home. By working with a reputable lender sooner than later, you will have a good understanding of your budget, and will feel much more confident throughout the home buying process.
It’s also common for a buyer to fall in love with the “perfect home,” only to lose it to another buyer because they weren’t prepared with a pre-approval letter. (In the Seattle market, most sellers will want to see a true “pre-approval” letter before accepting an offer.) A reputable lender will make sure to identify roadblocks well in advance, saving you potential heartache – and in many cases, preventing a closing from falling apart. Please contact us today for a lending referral – especially if you have unique circumstances, such as having recently moved, or changed jobs. We call them our “preferred lender” for a reason!
Getting yourfinancing in place before you look for a home will save time and help ensure a smoother transaction. Meet with a mortgage broker to ask questions about the loan process and arrive at a comfortable price range.
There are two levels of endorsement during this process – pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification means you are potentially qualified for a stated loan amount, assuming full and accurate disclosure, while pre-approval is more appealing to a seller.
To get pre-approved, you must provide your mortgage broker with information for a detailed background and financial check (including tax returns, credit check & income history). You’ll then get a letter from the lender stating the amount of your loan. This commitment is usually valid for about 60 days
Equally important to us is helping you get pre-approved for the best financing for your particular needs and situation – the loan that is the right fit for you. Fixed rate or adjustable mortgage? 30-year loan or 15-year loan? FHA? VA? Conventional? Jumbo? Lenders can show you ALL your loan options. Whether you want to minimize your cash out-of-pocket or keep your monthly payment to a minimum, they can explore and explain the multiple options available to you.
Don’t just get pre-approved. Get educated about your options and get pre-approved for the right financing program. If you don’t have a lender, we can help with that!
Determine your budget for a down payment and amount you are able to spend monthly. Consider monthly expenditures such as your mortgage, maintenance or common charges and real estate taxes, utilities, parking etc.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage, look into credit report, FICO score, type of mortgage, shop for best rates, and programs.
Identify your timeline for moving.
Find a real estate agent who specializes in the area you are interested in.
Determine your needs and prioritize your wants: style of home, size, location, building amenities, condo, co-op or house.
Explore different neighborhoods to determine which ones suit your needs.
Evaluate access to transportation and commuting time to work in selected neighborhoods.
If applicable, research schools and review school reports in selected neighborhoods.
Evaluate building amenities and house rules in terms of your needs. (e.g. washer/dryer permitted, doorman, gym, pet policy, storage facilities, etc.)
Discuss with your agent how much to offer and leave room to negotiate. Your agent will be able to advise based on how long the property has been on the market, condition of home, other offers that have been presented, and how the asking price compares to recently sold similar properties.
Let your agent prepare your offer and apply trained negotiating skills during the buying process. Your agent will advise you of any final negotiating factors that may benefit you in the purchase.
Once your offer is accepted work closely with your agent to gather materials for your mortgage application and/or board package.
Before you move in, obtain homeowners insurance. Get quotes, compare and secure an insurance policy with appropriate coverage
Locate your Abstract of Title or Title Insurance Policy.
Inspect your property before you sell - hire an inspector and if necessary obtain contractor estimates to repair any major problems.
Find a qualified local area real estate agent and to represent your interests when selling your home.
Decide on what types of renovations and staging you would like to complete on your home. Remove and repair all signs of damage and other deterioration, e.g. holes and cracks in ceilings and walls. Restore hardware and bathroom/lighting fixtures as needed.
Keep track of all money you spend in improvements to your home as you may be able to add it to the cost basis of your home and reduce income tax on your gain from the sale.
Have your real estate agent do a Comparative Market Analysis to help you price your home. Knowing how much your home can be worth is one of the first steps in beginning to market the property properly.
Determine your timeline for moving. Depending on how quickly you need to move you may decide to price the home more aggressively.
Have your agent spell out his or her marketing plan, arrange for property to be photographed and decide if an open house should be scheduled.
Prepare your property to show. Remember, the main rule of staging is to “neutralize” the environment.
Remove personal photos, waste cans, cosmetics and personal effects. The potential buyer should walk in and feel it’s a model home, devoid of clutter.
For showings, you may want to leave while your home is being shown so that buyers will feel more comfortable to move around and discuss your property with the real estate professional.