Guide to Buying
Step 1 – Get Educated
It is so important to get educated on the real estate process and industry. We are talking about one of the biggest investments of most people’s lives; a little time to empower yourself will go a very long way. There are several resources you can turn to for information.
The Internet – The internet is truly the information super highway. If it isn’t on the internet, it probably doesn’t exist…yet.
Libraries or Bookstores – There are thousands of books written on real estate. If you are still hungry for knowledge, stop by your local library or favorite bookstore. Try to stick to something that is pertaining to the country or area you reside in, as the laws and procedures can be dramatically different.
Book a Meeting with your REALTOR® – It is important you understand how the current real estate market will affect your particular situation and circumstances.
Step 2 – Initial Meeting or Consultation
After selecting your agent, you will want to schedule a sit down meeting. At this you can officially meet (if you haven’t already).
You don’t want to skip this step. It will be virtually impossible to properly represent you without having actually sat down to discuss things as they fit your unique situation. The real estate market is constantly changing and you must be aware of where you stand. Once you have assessed you situation, this is where you will express you goals and determine an appropriate action plan so you can confidently move forward.
Step 3 – Determine How I Will Pay
There is nothing but options when it comes to financing, but you should have a good idea of how you will purchase your next home before you get too committed to looking. There are three main sources of financing.
Traditional Banks – If you already have a great rapport with your current bank, this is a good option. Usually you will be able to get pretty good terms on your mortgage.
Mortgage Brokers – They have the most options. They can use most of the major banks, plus many other lenders. They will be option for your particular situations.
Creative Financing – The options here are endless and are great for investing, or if you cannot access a mortgage through the banks or mortgage brokers.
Step 4 – Start the Search
Now this is when most of the excitement really starts to happen. You already know the type of home you’re looking for and the price you can afford. A property search will have to be set up to notify you (typically via email) when a new property enters the market that matches you criteria. Once you have identified some potential properties, it’s time to hit the pavement.
This is where you really want to keep the goal you set during the initial meeting top of mind; it will make this process a whole lot easier, not to mention less stressful. During you showings, if you visit a property that isn’t inline with your goal will save you the headache of viewing hundreds of homes and getting discouraged.
Step 5 – Write the Offer
Once you have found a home that will suit your needs, the next step is to prepare and present an offer. There are several steps that have to be taken when you write your offer.
Property Research – This is where you investigate the selling history of the home and also where the price is relative to the market. To do this, an assessment of the current homes on the market and properties which have recently sold will have to be done. This is where you will get most of your fire power for determining your offer price.
Terms – Terms are the clauses that make up the contract. These are the items that are agreed to and will be upheld, otherwise there is a breach of contract. In addition to the standard terms that will be reviewed with you when preparing the offer, you can add in whatever else you need to, however, these are open for negotiation.
Conditions – Conditions, on the other hand, are clauses in the contract that must be fulfilled for the home inspection, or for the buyer to be approved for financing. The buyer or seller is then given a few days to fulfill the conditions (typically 7 to 10). This is what it is meant by a property status that is listed as pending (P) or conditionally sold (C/S).