First time home buyers might feel
better to know that they're not the only ones who feel confused
about the home buying process. Nearly all home buyers feel the
same way, even if they've bought a house in the past, because
it's easy to forget the steps you took to get into a home once
the event is behind you.
Get Prepped in Home Buying Basics
Before you begin, get educated
about the home buying customs where you live. Relatives
or friends who live in another state might have some good
general advice for you, but chances are the process is very
different in their area, so avoid the mistake of relying solely
on their advice to make important decisions
So How Do You Learn the Basics?
Talk to a real estate agent about
the typical home buying scenario. This is not a meeting
that should lead to an agreement for the agent to represent you.
It's simply a general discussion
about the real estate customs in your area. An agent who won't
take fifteen minutes to help you understand what to expect when
you're buying a home isn't much of an agent, so if the first few
calls don't produce someone who will help, keep looking.
If you don't want to talk with a
real estate agent, how about a bank loan officer or mortgage
broker? They look at home buying from a different perspective,
but can usually give you a basic overview of the process.
Home Buying Questions to Ask
If you decide to work with an
agent, will the agent help you compose your offer to purchase
a home? If not, who does help?
If the agent uses
fill-in-the-blank forms, ask for a blank sample copy to take
home and study.
What types of disclosures are
sellers in your area required to give to buyers? Can the agent
give you a sample copy of typical disclosures?
What types of home inspections
are standard in your area? Are there other inspections that
the agent recommends?
How much do the inspections
usually cost? Are they regarded as a buyer expense?
When are inspections done?
Is a survey required for most
transactions? If so, who typically pays for it, the buyer or
Who does the title search to
verify that the deed is problem free, attorneys or a title
company? What's the average cost for that service?
Who acts as settlement agent, the
person who puts together final paperwork for you to sign?
(attorney, title company personnel, real estate broker,
Other than loan costs, what's the
average total cost for other closing fees?
Taxes, settlement agent fees,
How long does it usually take to
close on a home once an offer is accepted?
That's a good start. After you have the answers to those
questions, you'll have a better feeling for the basic customs in
Always Keep a Cool Head
Even simple problems can be a
burden when you have so many details to take care of, so don't
over-react if you hit a few snags on the way to closing. Keep a
cool head and work with the people helping you through the
transaction to resolve any issues that pop up.
Now Dig In to the Home Buying
At this point, your remaining steps
are no different than the steps nearly every home buyer must
take. It's time to start digging into the details you need to
get through the home buying process.
A good place to