Prospective home buyers who want a successful transaction would be well served not to take shortcuts. There is an established process for home purchase, and there’s a reason it is so commonly used. Each of these steps play a part in allowing a family to move into their home feeling confident that there will be no problems down the road.
1) Use a reputable realtor. The home buying process is complicated – finding the right property, negotiating a price with the owner, and preparing all the paperwork that goes with a purchase. Yes, there is a fee for using a professional realtor, but they earn it, and it’s worth the expense. There are a lot of potential pitfalls to home buying, and someone experienced in the process can spot them, and avoid having a problem with the purchase process. The realtor can also guide the buyer through the steps like the inspection, appraisal, title opinion and closing.
2) Get an inspection. Sometimes a defect in a home is so subtle it takes a professional to spot it and assess the impact. That will all be done during the inspection. Is the plumbing in proper working order? Does the roof need repair? How old is the home, and are there structural issues that should be noted or addressed? Those questions will all be included in a report by the home inspector. Often, those items become part of the negotiating process, since they affect the value of the property.
3) Have an appraisal performed. What is the house really worth? That is determined by the real estate appraiser. An appraiser will make a detailed review of the property, and assess comparable properties in the area, in determining the true value of the home. An expenditure of several hundred dollars, when it provides a real value for the home, may be worth thousands of dollars during the negotiating process, since the results of the appraisal factor into the negotiating process.
4) Order a title insurance policy. A search is made of the records which apply to a particular home. Defects in title needing resolution, or to be waived, are determined. A report is prepared certifying clear title to the property. The title company is then liable for and stands behind its assessment. If in the future a title problem occurs, the homeowner has recourse with the company that provided the title insurance, as determined while conducting research for CharlesBarnes.com. With the complexities of land titles, this is a prudent move to make.
5) Read and keep a copy of all contracts. There is a lot of paperwork when it comes to buying a home. Take your time, read each document and have the realtor or closing agent explain what you are signing. You will be provided a copy of all these contracts by the agent at the title company, but make sure you keep them and know where they are located. These documents reflect your ownership of your home, so know what they contain, and if needed in the future.
Written by Becky Flanigan
Becky Flanigan writes freelance for CharlesBarnes.com. She worked for many years as a realtor, and has extensive experience working with home sales and mortgage companies. She enjoys gardening and landscaping around her house, and has been called on by numerous friends to contribute ideas for yard design and improvement projects.