Home Buyer This One’s for You!

Have you or are you currently on the hunt for a new home and just couldn’t quite get to a starting point. Or maybe you are like I used to be, you grab the publications out of the grocery store entrance then come home look at them all only to discover you’re no further along in the search than when you didn’t have the publications. So your next step is, you drive around looking at homes with For Sale signs in the yard. You find one you want to see, called the number of the sign and hear “Sorry that house is under contract and we are not taking backup offers”. <<<<<<< Put's you back at square 1 all over again…(Long Sigh).

Let’s just say this is a big decision and doing it the long way will only serve to slow you down. Stop that back and forth. I am writing this to give you a surer way to start your search, make a list of must haves vs wants in your next home, what steps to take before you being that house hunt and then how that timeline will progress once you find the home you want to call your own.

As I am sitting here writing this, there are over 3000 “active” listings in just St. Louis County along, not including St. Louis City or St. Charles. What does that equate to you? Stop driving from house to house, sit down and make a list of houses you want to see, you can start on my website, Homes in St. Louis you can even set up alerts so that you know the moment the houses that meet your criteria comes onto the market.

But on to the meat and potatoes!

Here is a list of the way your path should begin:

  1. Find a Real Estate Agent
  2. Make a list of wants vs needs in your next home
  3. Obtain a Pre-Approval not a Pre-Qualification (most sellers want to know that you can obtain financing not that just your income says you can)
  4. I will give you access to view houses that are currently on the market and will setup appointments for you to view them based off your schedule
  5. You have located the “One”, now it’s time to write an offer
  6. If you offer is accepted, you will provide an Earnest Money Deposit
  7. If your offer is rejected, you may receive a Counter Offer from the Seller. You can negotiate until you both arrive at agreeable terms and have both accepted the new terms. 
  8. Here is where you will setup Inspections (termite, pest, survey, title, home), this is where things are uncovered or learned about the house. Not all of them are required but I do suggest them so that you know fully what is there with the Seller’s Disclosure  (if provided)
  9. You then progress to removing each of the contingencies that were called for in the contract or you may amend the original contract if you disagree with things learned.
  10. Start looking into Insurance, you may need Hazard and/or Flood, depending on where your house is located. You want to make sure this is all done and ready by the time you make it to the last phase, closing.
  11. On to Financing, this is where you will actually apply for the mortgage. The lender will pull your credit report, order appraisal on the house, and verify information from your application. 
  12. The mortgage application is sent through Underwriting, this is where your application is triple checked and the Lender may come back with conditions that must be met before a final loan commitment is given. (This is where you may have to explain or write letters as to what’s on your credit report, or may have to pay some things off on your credit to move forward).
  13. Once all of this is done, the Lender can reject or approve your loan. If approved, you are issued a Loan Commitment. 
  14. All information is then passed along to the escrow, title or closing agent that will handle your final closing. That means the lender will send over their information, insurance sends over theirs, Home Warranty is ordered (if seller offered or buyer purchased). Closing date is scheduled and time slot picked for closing.
  15. 24 hours to 48 hours prior to closing, you will get what is referred to as a HUD-1, this details all costs with final numbers and should be checked for possible errors or omitted costs. You can then proceed to getting your certified funds check or setting up a bank wire transfer (personal checks are not accepted).
  16. During the last 24 hours before the closing, your final walk-through will be scheduled. This is where you would go to the house, check to make sure that things that were offered in the contract were left behind and that there is no damage to the house or that it’s in the same condition as when you first viewed it (minus the seller’s personal possessions if it was occupied when you viewed it).
  17. THE FINISH LINE:  Congratulations you are at the closing, this is where you do the bulk of the work, you will be signing documents left and right. But you know that you have made it through the toughest parts.
  18. You are handed your new keys at this point and can get the moving van rolling on your possession date! (Sometimes its the same day as the closing, if you negotiated that during the contract).
Here is a Home Tour Comment Sheet to carry with you when viewing houses, it helps you sort through wants and needs and take notes on the properties that you have viewed. Print out several copies to have one for each property to sit down and reference when you’re ready to decide on the one that you want to put the contract in for.