The 9 Steps to Home Ownership

Step 1 - Make the Decision to Buy

It may seem obvious, but it's good to note that the first step to buying a house is making the decision to buy. Consider the reasons you want to own a home and write them down. Determine how long you want to live in your new home. Does buying still make good financial sense? Can you afford a house that will meet your list of requirements? A good rule of thumb is your mortgage payment should not exceed 1/3 of your net monthly income.

Step 2 - Seek Professional Guidance

We'd like to schedule a time to meet with you to hear the reasons you want to buy a house and your plans for the future. We'll talk about factors likely to affect the market today and tomorrow. We will provide you with the Information Guide to buying a home, review how agency relationships are practiced in Indiana, AND show you how you can have a Buyers' agent at no cost to you!

At this time, we will also discuss the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Obtaining a written pre-approval is an excellent early step in your house-hunting process. The fact that you are pre-approved will help us when we are negotiating a purchase offer. Referrals to reliable mortgage sources are available.

Step 3 - Begin the Search

After the initial meeting, we will search the inventory on the MLS and other resources for homes that fit your criteria and e-mail them to you. Then, we'll schedule an appointment to tour the homes at times convenient to you.

As we tour homes, your agent will point out positive features and negative features. We will ask you to tell us what features you like and which features you dislike. You'll probably amend your "wish list" as we tour houses; some things will become more important and others less important. With this new information, your agent will refine the search criteria to narrow in on the home of your dreams.

Step 4 - Know the Market

Our knowledge of the local market is an essential factor in the house search. We'll let you know when the market in a particular neighborhood seems "hot" and requires immediate action or when the market might be "cool" and allow for thoughtful consideration.

As we tour houses, we can let you know their feelings on the asking price compared to other homes in the area. We can also advise you if they feel the house is "priced to sell". Our market knowledge and experience will keep you a step ahead of the house hunting competition.

In a "seller's market" it is not unusual to see multiple offers on a property, full price offers, and even above list offers. On the flip side, during a "buyer's market" there are more houses for sale than buyers. This gives Buyers more negotiating room as houses are taking longer to sell.

Step 5 - Find Your "Right" House

I'm confident we'll find your "right" house. When we do, we'll put together the purchase offer tailored for your needs including appropriate contingencies (such as obtaining financing, favorable home inspection, clear title, etc.).

Step 6 - Negotiate the Offer

It is not uncommon to receive a counter offer when the initial purchase offer is submitted. We will discuss the counter offer and decide whether or not to accept it, continue negotiating by submitting our own counter offer, or reject the counter offer and move on.

Step 7 - Finalizing Your Mortgage Application

During the closing period, you will be working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. Since you completed a pre-approval for the loan before starting your home search, you will be that much farther along in the process. Your Lender will complete their documentation of your finances, order an appraisal, and contact the title company to handling the closing.

Step 8 - The Closing

You will receive a "Good Faith Estimate" of closing costs from your mortgage lender. The estimate factors in an estimated purchase price, prorations for property taxes, and a possible closing date. If the closing date changes, the prorations will change. The title company handling the closing will provide you with you a lender-approved HUD statement prior to closing. This statement will tell you how much to bring to closing. Don't forget a cashiers check (not a personal check) is what is required. Generally the check can be made out to you and signed over to the title company at closing. In Indiana we generally have "round table" closings, this means the Sellers, Buyers, and their agents meet together as the final closing documents are signed!

Step 9

Congratulations! It's time to move in.  Enjoy this exciting time!
Robert VanHook

Robert VanHook

Associate Broker
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