Home Buying Guide - 6 Steps
Step 1 - Get Pre-Approved
The most important thing to know when buying a home is how much you can afford. A pre-approval states that you can afford a home for "X" amount of dollars, which is contingent upon your credit or income not changing drastically before the closing. There are also other factors such as interest rates or market values that may change your qualifying status. Pre-approval also helps in other ways. Our agents always get the pre-approval letter from the lenders
and attach it to the offer when presented to the sellers. Put yourself in the seller's shoes. All things being equal, would you accept an offer from a buyer that you know can financially afford your home over another buyer that you are unsure of? We know the answer to this question.
Step 2 - Finding a Home
At this point, you are ready to get out and look for a home. This step can be one of the most exciting or the most frustrating depending on how many homes you are interested in. Our Real Estate professionals
are here to help. We can send you listings of the homes that are available based on the criteria you are searching for. We will also schedule all showings with the sellers, meet you at each home with the door open and a smile on our face, supply you with school and neighborhood reports, and buy you an ice cream cone or a hot chocolate.
Step 3 - Make Offer, Go Under Contract
Our Real Estate agents carry all of the forms with them that will be needed when making an offer on the home of your choice. This can be done easily outside of the residence, or at a local Starbucks. After the price and terms have been determined by the agent and the buyer, the forms will need to be filled out and the offer submitted. Once the offer is accepted (possibly after many counteroffers) you are officially under contract. This means that the seller cannot legally accept any other offers and the buyer is contractually bound to purchase the property, barring any contingencies.*
Step 4 - Inspections & Appraisal
After you have gone under contract on a home and before closing several things will happen. The two biggest are the appraisal and any inspection you choose to have. An appraiser is sent to the home by the lender to find its value. There are several ways for appraisers to find the value of a home. This can be a pretty complex process, so if you have any questions regarding appraisals please email or call your zoomUTAH agent. Inspections are much more cut and dry. The inspector will do a full inspection of the home. During the inspection, they will look at the roof, foundation, heating, appliances, electrical, plumbing attic/crawl spaces, etc. If any of these are either in need of replacement/repair or are not up to code, they will be red flagged. Based on the inspection, it is up to the buyers to decide whether or not they will make a request to the sellers to make any repairs. Our agents will always be there to help negotiate these requests with the sellers.
Step 5 - Finalizing the Loan
In order for a buyer to get approved for a home loan, the loan officer will need several papers from the borrower. These include W2's, proof of employment, and credit report & scores. A good loan officer will request all of these near the beginning of the loan process to ensure there is enough time to get the loan approved before closing. The borrower will also need to sign several loan forms. Once all the paperwork has been signed and submitted to underwriting, which usually only takes a day or two for approval or rejection. If it gets rejected it is the loan officer and the borrows job to find out why and do what needs to be done to fix the issue. After it gets approved all final paperwork is emailed or faxed to the title company for closing.
Step 6 - Settlement & Closing
The closing process is very simple. Your zoomUTAH agent will schedule a time for settlement to take place. The buyer will need to go to the title company and sign several forms. The majority of the forms have to do with title insurance
and lending such as the promissory note. Signing these documents can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending mainly on how many questions are asked by the buyer. This process is called Settlement. After all the documents have been signed the title company will collect all the monies owed to and from all parties and disperse it accordingly. It is then recorded in the county records. After it has been recorded, the closing has been completed, and the buyers can officially call the home their own.
Not all transactions are the same. Many factors play a role in how the process will go, but the steps in this guide are based on an average transaction. We have seen many different scenarios, and have creative solutions for you as the buyer. We stand ready and eager to assist you in the home buying process!
If any terms are used that you are unfamiliar with, please consult our Real Estate dictionary.
* The Real Estate Purchase Contract is written to protect buyers. There are contingencies that will allow a buyer to be released from the contract; pending certain scenarios.