Remember you are not just purchasing a house or piece of real estate, you are purchasing a HOME. This is a place for you to lead a life for you (and your family) to enjoy and live.
You want professionals on your side on all aspects of the transaction and that can work seamlessly together.
Choose and speak with a mortgage professional about the best type of mortgage, the amount of mortgage and monthly payment that you can afford and for which you qualify. This will help you to limit your search to homes that are legitimately within reach. I can recommend honest and fair mortgage professionals who know the business inside and out.
Choose a realtor that you can feel comfortable with and who understands exactly what you are looking for in a home. I can make a recommendation in this regard, with brokers who are familiar with the areas you want to look at.
After you have found the house that interests you, the broker prepares an offer to purchase. They will generally utilize a contract form created in cooperation between bar associations and realtor organizations.
The parties negotiate over the price. One key issue (aside from purchase price) is the closing date. This date needs to provide sufficient time for the mortgage company to process the loan (often around 45 to 60 days depending on circumstances).Also a question may be raised as to your willingness to purchase the home “as-is”. Additionally, any seller concessions on closing costs, etc may be part of the negotiations.
Realtor provides contract to attorney and this begins a typically 5 business day review during which the attorney reviews the contract and makes suggested modifications to the contract. During this time, it is important to ask the attorney any questions you may have about the contract provisions.
With new construction, it is VERY IMPORTANT to have a conversation with the attorney about the provisions of the contract as those contracts are drafted from the builder’s perspective and you need to fully understand your rights responsibilities and potential pitfalls.
During this same 5 business day period, schedule and have a home inspection completed by a licensed home inspector. This process is to look for aspects of major components to the house which may lead to immediate major expenses. These items may include: the roof, the furnace, the air conditioner, etc. Note that the provision relates to major components of the home and not merely cosmetic issues. You will then get a report from the inspector. Have this sent to the attorney and then go over that report with the attorney. You and the attorney should then discuss a reasonable course of action based on any matters.
The attorney then communicates (in writing) with the seller’s attorney to work out any matters raised as to contractual issues and inspection items to reach a finalized agreement between the buyer(s) and seller(s).
Typically upon acceptance, a buyer posts an agreed upon amount of earnest money, a down payment, in an amount agreed upon by the parties. Often an initial check is provided upon initial acceptance. Other times a check or a supplemental check may be provided upon completion of the attorney review/inspection period.
Upon acceptance of the offer, immediately make an appointment with the mortgage broker to begin the actual loan application process for this house. DO NOT WAIT too long on this. Often the lender requires substantial additional information from you and an appraisal must be completed.
The attorney, broker/realtor and mortgage representatives should be in contact with each other to make certain that the process is moving forward and to meet the anticipated closing date and mortgage contingency date (date by which you need a mortgage approval to go forward with the purchase).
Always feel free to reach out to the attorney or other members of your professional team with any concerns, questions or other issues that may arise.
Upon receipt of a mortgage approval, you obtain a “Clear to Close” from the mortgage company. Then, a closing date, time, and place of closing is typically set at the title company that is providing the title insurance for the transaction.
On the day before or the day of closing, a walk through is conducted to make certain that the house is in the same condition, that requested and agreed to repairs have been completed/that the systems and appliances are in working order. For new construction, a punch list is created of matters that the builder must attend to.
On the day before the closing (and sometimes the day of closing), the title company issues its preliminary settlement statement telling you the amount of money that must be brought to the closing. If that amount is greater than $50,000, it must be done by wire transfer. If it is less than $50,000 it may be by certified funds (such as a cashier’s check). The attorney usually gets a copy of this preliminary statement (often late in the day on the day before closing or possibly the day of closing itself). SPEAK WITH THE LAWYER AND/OR THE MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL TO KNOW THE AMOUNT THAT WILL BE NEEDED AT CLOSING. THEN ARRANGE TO HAVE THE CHECK OR WIRE TRANSFER SO THAT IT IS AT THE TITLE COMPANY BEFORE THE SCHEDULED CLOSING.
There are many documents that must be signed at the closing. This includes the closing disclosure statement and settlement statement (which involves the financial aspects of the deal); a promissory note; a mortgage; and other documents that the mortgage company requires signed.
You also obtain numerous documents at the closing including a deed for the property (you keep a copy) and the original is recorded with the county recorder of deeds, a bill of sale for personal property such as appliances, etc.
The attorney is present with you at the closing and goes over and explains these documents and the rights and responsibilities that the documents place upon you.
The attorney also deals with any last minute issues that may come up either in terms of the walk through and making certain that the financial aspects are correct and understood by the client.
I have been handling real estate matters for buyers for over 30 years and charge a reasonable flat fee. This is an important and possibly stressful time for buyers and sellers. Always feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns. I will try to alleviate any stress and provide answers to your questions or concerns. I take pride in providing the best possible service to my clients.