You’ve read it a hundred times. Buying a house is generally the biggest investment that the average person will make in his or her life.
Buyers, if you’ve made your mind up to buy a home then congratulations, you are about to embark on a very exciting journey. Whether it is your first home or your tenth home, we will make your home-buying experience fun and exciting. We will help you find the ideal home with the least amount of hassle! Sound good?
Many buyers apply for a loan and obtain approval before they find the home they want to buy. Why?
Pre-qualifying will help you in the following ways:
1. Generally, interest rates are locked in for a set period of time. You will know in advance exactly what your payments will be on offers you choose to make.
2. You won’t waste time considering homes you cannot afford.
Pre-approval will help you in the following ways:
1. A seller may choose to make concessions if they know that your financing is secured. You are like a cash buyer, and this may make your offer more competitive.
2. You can select the best loan package without being under pressure.
Find your dream home.
When looking for a home it is important that you scout the neighborhood in person. You live in more than your house.
§ Talk to people who live in the neighborhood.
§ Drive through the entire area at different times of the day, during the week and on especially on weekends.
§ Look carefully at how well other homes in the area are being maintained; are they painted, are the yards well cared for; are parked cars in good condition, etc.
Make An Offer
Once you have found the home you wish to purchase, you will need to determine what offer you are willing to make for the home. It is important to remember that the more competition there is for the home, the higher the offer should be – sometimes even exceeding the asking price. Remember, be realistic. Make offers you want the other party to sign off on!
What Happens Next
Now that you have decided to buy your home, what happens between now and the time you legally own the home? A Title Company may handle the following items.
Earnest Money – An agreement to convey starts the process once it is received at the Title Company. Once you submit the loan application, it is usually subject to a credit check, an appraisal, and sometimes, a survey of the property.
Tax Check – What taxes are owed on the property? The Title Company contacts the various assessor-collectors.
Title Search – Copies of documents are gathered from various public records: deeds, deeds of trust, various assessments and matters of probate, heirship, divorce, and bankruptcy are addressed.
Examination – Verification of the legal owner and debts owed.
Document Preparation – Appropriate forms are prepared for conveyance and settlement.
Settlement – An Escrow Officer oversees the closing of the transaction: seller signs the deed, you sign a new mortgage, the old loan is paid off and the new loan is established. Seller, agents, attorneys, surveyors, Title Company, and other service providers for the parties are paid. Title insurance policies will then be issued to you and your lender.
Title Insurance – There are two types of title insurance:
§ Coverage that protects the lender for the amount of the mortgage,
§ Coverage that protects the equity in the property.
Both you and your lender will want the security offered by title insurance. Why?
Title agents search public records to determine who has owned any piece of property, but these records may not reflect irregularities that are almost impossible to find. Here are some examples: an unauthorized seller forges the deed to the property; an unknown, but rightful heir to the property shows up after the sale to claim ownership; conflicts arise over a will from a deceased owner; or a land survey showing the boundaries of your property is incorrect.
For a one-time charge at closing, title insurance will safeguard you against problems including those events an exhaustive search will not reveal.
If you are purchasing a resale property, we highly recommend that you have a professional home inspector conduct a thorough inspection. The inspection will include the following:
§ Air conditioning and heating
§ Roof and Attic
§ General Structure
A “closing” is where you and I meet with some or all of the following individuals: the Seller, the Seller’s agent, a representative from the lending institution and a representative from the title company, in order to transfer the property title to you. The purchase agreement or contract you signed describes the property, states the purchase price and terms, sets forth the method of payment, and usually names the date and place where the closing or actual transfer of the property title and keys will occur.
If financing the property, your lender will require you to sign a document, usually a promissory note, as evidence that you are personally responsible for repaying the loan. You will also sign a mortgage or deed of trust on the property as security to the lender for the loan. The mortgage or deed of trust gives the lender the right to sell the property if you fail to make the payments. Before you exchange these papers, the property may be surveyed, appraised, or inspected, and the ownership of title will be checked in county and court records.
At closing, you will be required to pay all fees and closing costs in the form of “guaranteed funds” such as a Cashier’s Check. Your agent or escrow officer will notify you of the exact amount at closing.
WHAT IS AN ESCROW ACCOUNT?
An escrow account is a neutral depository held by your lender for funds that will be used to pay expenses incurred by the property, such as taxes, assessments, property insurance, or mortgage insurance premiums which fall due in the future. You will pay one-twelfth of the annual amount of these bills each month with your regular mortgage payment. When the bills fall due, the lender pays them from the special account. At closing, it may be necessary to pay enough into the account to cover these amounts for several months so that funds will be available to pay the bills as they fall due.
Once Escrow closes you have closed on your new home and now you are ready to move in!