If you intend to buy a house, you may want to employ a home inspector. In fact, there are many reasons why a buyer may hire a house inspector, such as:
1. You want to identify any underlying home problems.
Although you may have walked through a house a few times before you submitted an offer to purchase, a house inspection allows you to receive comprehensive insights into a residence. Once you have a home inspection report in hand, you can assess any underlying house problems and plan accordingly.
A home inspection is conducted by a property expert who will analyze all areas of a house. Plus, you can attend an inspection and walk through a house with an inspector to obtain firsthand insights into a residence's condition. As a result, you can use an inspection to identify any underlying house problems before you finalize a home purchase.
2. You want to determine if you should follow through with your original offer to purchase.
A home inspection may reveal both minor and major issues with a house. Meanwhile, as a buyer, you will need to determine if you want to continue with your home purchase after an inspection. On the other hand, you may want to modify your initial offer to purchase or rescind your homebuying proposal following an inspection.
Ultimately, a home inspection provides insights into a home that you otherwise may have struggled to obtain on your own. You also can ask a home inspector to address any concerns or questions about a house following an inspection. And when you have a home inspection report in hand, you can review the results of this report to determine if a house is right for you.
3. You want to make the best-possible homebuying decision.
A home purchase likely is one of the biggest transactions you will complete in your lifetime. Thus, there is no need to cut corners as you try to accelerate the homebuying journey. Because if you forgo a home inspection, you could suffer the consequences of this decision in the near future.
When it comes to purchasing a home, it helps to gain as much information about a residence as you can. Thanks to a home inspection, you can use a wide array of information to analyze a house. With this information at your disposal, you can make the best-possible homebuying decision based on your individual needs.
As you navigate the homebuying journey, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. In addition to helping you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will guide you through the home inspection process. He or she first will help you find a qualified inspector to analyze a house you want to buy. Furthermore, a real estate agent will attend a home inspection with you and help you assess the results of a house inspection report.
Ready to complete a successful home purchase? Conduct an inspection prior to completing a home purchase, and you can obtain the insights you need to make an informed homebuying decision.
When you purchase real estate, you must put down a good faith deposit. Several factors determine how much you will need to put down, but it could be as little as $100. In order to have a valid contract, the contract must have “consideration,” or something of value exchanged for the contract. The good faith money also shows a seller that you are serious about purchasing the property.
Who Holds the Good Faith Money?
You usually give the good faith money to your real estate agent. The agent puts the money into an escrow account. If you are buying a newly built home, you might give the good faith money to the builder. However, if you are working with a real estate agent to buy a newly built home, in most cases, it’s better to give the deposit to the real estate agent.
Is Good Faith Money Refundable?
In most cases, your good faith money is not refundable. This ensures that you are serious about buying the property and not just “tire kicking.” However, a real estate purchase contract has several exceptions. In addition to the exceptions that might be in the contract, you can add your own as long as the seller agrees. The most common exceptions are your ability to get financing and that the seller did not misrepresent the condition of the home. As long as you can meet an exception, your money is refundable.
How Much Is a Good Faith Deposit?
Most sellers like to see at least $1,000 down. However, a seller might require a percentage of the selling price. Whichever amount the seller wants, it must be stated in the purchase agreement. If you want to change the amount of the good faith money, the seller has to agree to it or you won’t have a contract.
What Happens to My Good Faith Deposit?
Once you close, the real estate agent forwards the money to the seller as part of your down payment. The amount is shown on your closing documents and is subtracted from the final agreed-upon selling price of the home. For example, you buy a house that is $250,000 and you put down $5,000 as good faith money. Your lender requires 20 percent down, so you give the lender $50,000 at closing. Your documents will show that you paid a total of $55,000, so your loan will be $195,000 plus closing costs.
The closing costs could be subtracted from your down payment, the good faith deposit or added back into the loan, depending on what you and your lender agree to. Regardless, the amount of your down payment is $55,000, even if some of it is used for closing costs.
If you have any questions about how your real estate agent handles your good faith deposit, be sure to ask. You should always ask about exceptions to ensure you can get your money back if the loan does not go through or if the house was misrepresented by the seller and/or their agent.
As a homebuyer, you'll want to do everything possible to guarantee a quick, seamless homebuying journey. Because if you're not careful, you may be forced to deal with a nightmare homebuying experience.
Ultimately, there are many ways to ensure that you can avoid a nightmare homebuying experience, such as:
1. Narrow Your Home Search
Although you know that you want to buy a home, it pays to consider exactly what you'd like to find in your ideal residence. By doing so, you can narrow your home search and avoid the homebuying nightmare of pursuing residences that fail to meet your expectations.
Think about which features are must-haves for your new home, as well as which features you can afford to live without.
For example, if you require a home that is close to your office, you can search for houses near your workplace. On the other hand, if you want to live in a small town, you can remove city residences from your home search.
Establish priorities as you search for your dream house – you'll be glad you did. If you separate your home must-haves from your wants, you can simplify your home search and move one step closer to finding your ideal residence.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
How much can you afford to spend on a house? Create a homebuying budget, and you can avoid the risk of browsing available residences that fall outside your price range.
To determine how much money you have available for a home purchase, it often helps to meet with local banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can provide details about a variety of mortgage options and help you select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
Also, you should check your credit report before you buy a home. You are entitled to a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score and take steps to improve it prior to purchasing a house.
3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent
An experienced real estate agent understands both the homebuyer's and home seller's perspectives. As such, this housing market professional can help you analyze a home seller's point of view and negotiate the best price on any home, at any time.
Typically, an experienced real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then will map out a homebuying journey, one that helps you streamline the process of acquiring your ideal house.
Let's not forget about the assistance that an experienced real estate agent can deliver throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can provide expert insights into the housing market and help you make informed decisions, thereby reducing the risk of a nightmare homebuying experience.
Take the guesswork out of buying a home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can minimize the risk of a nightmare homebuying experience.
If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.
1. Define Your Dream Home
Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of "must-have" home features and search for residences that offer these features.
Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.
2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review
Let's face it – searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.
Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won't force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Let's not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.
If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.
Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.
Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.
However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.
Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment
Estimated time: 2+ years
The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.
Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.
Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life
Estimated time 6+ months
One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.
Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.
Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved
Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)
Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.
Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.
Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.
Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.
Step 4: House Hunting
Estimated time: 30+ days
It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.
Step 5: Making an offer and closing
Estimated time: ~50 days
Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.