Buying a Home You Love (Things You Need to Do)
Buying a home is a series of challenges, not a swift process by any measure.
Nor should it be. If buying a home is the right choice for you, there’s no reason to rush this. Going step by step is vital, all the way to closing costs and key-collecting.
First-time home buyers might feel overwhelmed with the process, but that goes away with expert help.
Remember, many of these steps are there to protect buyers and sellers. Home inspections can uncover hidden costs, negotiations safeguard your needs, and the closing process protects your finances (and new property).
How to Buy Your Dream Home
This article will take you around 5 minutes to read. We’ll happily send you the full version - for free. The book was written by California realtors (Bob and Sandy Jamison) with higher-than-average success rates and it’s full of valuable information about each step of the process. We’ll send you a hard copy for free, just let us know where to send it.
Before you decide to buy a home, you’ll have to ask yourself if owning or renting is better.
For many Americans, part of the dream is owning a home. For some, this is a strong aspiration. Around two-thirds of Americans own their own home, though there are certainly more who are trying to.
Renting gives flexibility, especially in the younger years, but there’s no equity generated. Owning allows long-term stability, the growth of an asset, and something to pass on to family members, among many other things.
If you intend to buy a home and start building equity, you’ll need to do these things:
Visualize and List Your Needs
Some home buyers shop for homes by browsing listings, almost letting the market dictate their needs. Instead, create a list of your needs and a semi-specific idea of how this property looks.
List the features you need and think about the size. Creating a clear vision of this home will help in your search and also, give your realtor helpful criteria. This is also a great time to determine your budget.
A gorgeous kitchen in a ready-to-view home - via Ron Brenner
First-time home buyers should remember to think beyond the property lines. What style of neighborhood and atmosphere do you imagine yourself living in? If you’d like nearby shopping, consider how long you’d like to drive to get there. The same goes for schools, workplaces, and medical care.
Start the Search
The house hunt is an exciting period, but there’s no need to waste extra time viewing homes that don’t suffice. After you have a meeting with your realtor, they’ll start sending homes your way. The right one might not be the first home you see, but be patient.
We cover the search in chapter 5 of our free book.
Using an agent gives you access to more listings and makes scheduling viewings easier. A realtor can also give you valuable details about traffic, commuting, local services, restaurants, and the lifestyle of residents. There’s going to be a lot that Google can’t tell you, but the realtor can fill these gaps. You may hear about local construction plans or any number of other reasons and decide to avoid an area.
View the Property and Neighborhood
When you find a property that intrigues and meets your needs, it is time to see it up close. A realtor will make this a smooth process, since they may have done this hundreds of times. You’ll schedule an appointment at the property and meet with your realtor that day. Their experienced eye will be an asset during this first viewing, but also, provide security.
Look closely for issues, even if the home appears to be perfect - via Sherwood CC
Pay attention to everything, including the smell. Mold is particularly damaging and a nightmare for new homeowners if they don’t catch it during the viewing. As we say in Chapter 5 of our free book, “Sellers use clever tricks to make a home more appealing”. Test out appliances, experience each room, and don’t rush.
You may already know the neighborhood, but if not, you’ll want to explore. Do this before or after your scheduled viewings.
The “Our Silences” installation in San Francisco - via Dennis Jarvis
Make an Offer and Negotiate
After multiple viewings and experiencing the neighborhood, you’ll start the homework part of the process. Your realtor will collect the seller’s disclosure and other public information to help with your decision. Ultimately, if the home meets your needs and its story checks out, you have a choice to make. Assuming you can meet the financial requirements, is this the house for you?
When thinking about the offer, you and your realtor will need to discuss the conditions. Perhaps there are repairs or some kind of maintenance to do, which will need to be factored in. Using Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and other relevant factors (market trends, repairs, etc), you’ll pick a number. The first offer is important as it will set the tone for negotiations.
With your realtor, you’ll negotiate to reach the price you want to pay. Realtors can negotiate using the circumstances and their experience to reduce the price, potentially exceeding your expectations.
After you make an offer, you’ll usually start the home inspection process. While they sound thorough and expensive, only one of those adjectives is really true. Compared to the value of your soon-to-be home, an inspection is almost a trivial expense. Many inspections start around $300, though larger and more complex layouts might be slightly more.
Finding hidden repairs or damage is a good way of avoiding hidden costs when buying a home.
At the end, you’ll have a certified evaluation of the home you want to buy. Now you have your own opinions about the property, a realtor’s opinions, and a professional’s evaluation.
Depending on the results, you may start negotiating repairs with the seller. Even if the inspection reveals some issues, there may be simple solutions.
Chapter 10 of our free home-buying guidebook is a long and valuable one. In that, we talk about the closing process from start to finish.
During the closing process, there are some highly important things you’ll need, like homeowner insurance, title insurance, escrow, and appraisal. Home buyers can also look at warranties to protect their new asset. The deal hinges on this part of the transaction and nothing can be overlooked.
Understand the mortgage payments and other costs associated with this home. After signing the closing documents, you’ll be able to move in and start enjoying your new property.
Depending on point A and point B of your move, there might be inexpensive options (or entirely free options).
Have You Ever Heard of a Buyer Satisfaction Guarantee?
We’ll go as far as to guarantee your happiness with your new home. If for some reason, the property becomes a dissatisfaction within the first 18 months, our team will buy it back from you (or sell it at no cost to you).
If you have questions about any stage of the home-buying process, we’d love to help. First-time home buyers can find out a lot, in a short amount of time, by chatting with one of our Bay Area realtors.
More Questions? Follow-up With Us!
If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.