Whether you're a first time homebuyer, are in search of the perfect vacation home, or are seeking the right investment property, we'll walk you through every step of the home buying process, from determining how much you can afford to spend to making sure everything is in order on closing day. We service East Alabama, including Auburn, Dadeville, Opelika, Eclectic, Waverly, and Alexander City. Additionally, we specialize in historic homes, green building, recreational properties, and fine residences.
Steps in the Home Buying Process:
- Determine How Much You Can Afford to Spend - if you don't have a recent credit report, checking your credit score should be the first step in your home buying process. This will help you understand the mortgage and rates for which you're eligible. Then, additional planning is advised to identify not only what you can afford to spend on the home itself, but also what ongoing costs you should expect. There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate your expected monthly mortgage payment (depending on variables like the cost of the home, current rates, your down payment and more). Factor in all costs, including your down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for an attorney, appraisal, inspection, etc.), the costs of remodeling, repairs or furniture, and more. You don't always have to put down a 20% down payment; however, you'll want to talk to a lender to understand what's possible in your unique situation.
- Select a Lender and Real Estate Agent - when selecting the right mortgage lender for you, it's best to shop around, get recommendations from your friends, family and local real estate agent, and check with the Better Business Bureau. Once you have the right mortgage lender, the next step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage, so you have a range of home prices in which you can shop. Getting pre-qualified means that you've met with a lender and have a good estimate as to what you can spend; however, pre-qualifications are not guarantees. That's where a pre-approval is helpful. When you go through the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, the lender will pull your credit score and expect more information from you to determine your current financial situation; however, this allows you to go into making a home offer knowing exactly how much you can spend and typically speeds up the process significantly. Additionally, your offer will look more appealing to the seller than other buyers' offers since your financing has already been guaranteed. When selecting a real estate agent, we recommend going through a similar process as when choosing a lender. Get recommendations from your friends and family, and look for agents with community ties, as both their experience, and connections, will be invaluable to you as you search for, select, bid on and hopefully close on your dream home! To get a sense of what it's like working with our team, feel free to reach out to us for references from our past clients and browse what they've said about working with Homegrown Properties.
- Start Your Home Search! - finding the perfect home that meets your criteria isn't always easy; however, with access to online search tools like a full MLS search (MLS stands for multiple listing service - or the database of property information accessible to you through your local Realtor), history of recently sold properties, and the guidance provided by an experienced local agent, you have several online and offline resources at your disposal to help you determine where you can, and want to, live.
- Make and Negotiate an Offer - making and negotiating an offer to buy a home can be incredibly stressful, which is why most people rely on their real estate agent's guidance throughout this process. Your agent will advise you on what a reasonable offer would be for the home you want, based on a variety of factors such as other houses you've seen and their condition, currently listed homes with comparable features, recently sold homes that are similar to the one you're looking at, market trends such as whether home values are rising or falling, and the seller's unique situation. Often, you don’t have to offer asking price; however, in a market where inventory is tight, lowballing on price may lead to you losing the opportunity to buy. That's why it's so important to have someone you trust with you throughout the initial offer and subsequent negotiation process.
- Home Inspection - home inspections are typically required and are always a good idea, even if the home you plan to purchase appears to be flawless. If the home inspection reveals issues with the house that the seller did not disclose, you'll generally be able to either rescind your offer, negotiate to have the seller make the repairs, or negotiate a discount on the selling price from what you originally offered. At Homegrown Properties, we can recommend licensed home inspections and help you navigate what potential repairs or improvements may be needed.
- Finalize Mortgage Details - your lender will require additional steps to be taken, including getting a home appraisal and completing your mortgage paperwork.
- Closing - on closing day, you're primarily reading and signing agreements. Don't worry, you're almost done! On closing day, you can expect to have to pay for your closing costs, so being prepared with extra checks is a good idea. You should know how much these costs will be in advance, however, and will typically have your real estate agent and lawyer present to make sure you're not forgetting anything.
- Moving Day! - congratulations! You're a proud new homeowner! Enjoy your home.
While the above steps cover the basics of home buying, there's a lot more to it and obstacles can arise. With unmatched determination and professional services tailored to your unique needs, we make it our priority to ensure everything is covered, so you don't have to worry about the details.
Contact us today to get started on buying your new home or with questions. We're happy to help!