Blaine, a very nice fist time buyer once suggested it would be handy to have a 'flow chart' for buyers.
I, mentally, keep track, but agreed it would be practical.
Here then is a relatively short and simple schedule of events.
1) See mortgage broker or, if you prefer, your banker.
Ask them to help you determine how much of a mortgage you can comfortably afford.
Important to remember that, although you may qualify for a certain amount, you will not necessarily be comfortable with the payments for that amount. Determine how much you,personally, want to spend each month for a house payment. In considering this remembr the other costs with owning a home:
d) House insurance
e) Property Taxes
f) Yard care
g) Basic maintenance i.e. Leaky water taps
h) Reserve Fund i.e. New roof in five years
2) FIND A COMPETENT, KNOWLEDGEABLE REALTOR
Who will listen to You and what is important to you and your family!
3) Make a 'must have' list and a 'would really like' list.
Determine what, if anything, you are prepared to do to a house before moving in.
Do you mind painting, changing flooring, building an extra room?
Do you have any oversized furniture you need to accomodate?
4) Unless you are on a house hunting marathon and absolutely must make a decision in the next 72 hours, try to view only two to four houses at one time. Any more and you are merely confusing yourself. Ask your Realtor to choose the ones they feel most closely match your criteria.
5) Having found THE home..WRITE THE OFFER
It is quite common to experience 'Buyer's Remorse' after you have written.
Each person has their own 'comfort ' level.
If you are a 'thinker' and need time to 'feel' okay then allow yourself that time and space.
In some 'hot' markets your Realtor may advise you in advance that if you see the 'perfect' house you may have to move quickly.
Decide in advance how you wish to proceed if you do find it and will risk losing it if you don't move quickly.
This is strictly an individual decision.
Think about it calmly before you go looking.
6) With the offer written your agent will deliver it to the 'listing ' agent.
7) The listing agent will discuss it with the seller(s) who will decide if a) the offer will be accepted as written or b) if a 'counter offer' will be written or c) if the offer will be rejected.
b will require your agent discussing with you the same possibilities. You may accept, reject and rewrite or reject.
8) Once an offer has been accepted your Realtor will require the name of a lawyer who you wish to have represent you in this transaction.
9) The listing agent will send copies of the offer to your lawyer.
10) You will require a copy of the offer and a copy of the listing to take to your mortgage broker or lender.
Often your agent will take care of sending the paperwork to your broker or lender.
Clarify this in advance.
11) You may have any number of 'conditions' on your offer.
IT IS OF ABSOLUTE IMPORTANCE that you work as quickly as possible on these conditions and meet the required deadlines!
12) As each condition is fulfilled your Realtor will have you sign a form, known as a waiver form, that indicates you are removing that particular one from the offer.
Now! Conditions are removed. You have bought a home!!
13) You will have been advised of available insurances to protect, or pay for your mortgage under a variety of circumstances. This is commonly called 'mortgage' insurance.
14) You will need to purchase HOME insurance.
This is often done through an insurance broker. There are many reputable companies.
Just as a mortgage broker searches for the best rate for your specific needs so does an insurance broker search for the company that offers the coverage that best meets your requirements.
This insurance,sometimes called fire insurance (it is much more than 'fire' insurance usually) MUST be purchased BEFORE possession date.
It is wise to start shopping for it as soon as all conditions on the offer have been met and removed.
Insurance companies have a number of questions and need time to submit the application and get approval.
a) Post office
b) Utility companies Gas, Hydro, Water, Telephone PLUS Cable, Internet
16) Arrange for movers. If renting a vehicle to move yourself book well in advance. Hint: Avoid the 1st, 15th, 30th and 31st.
17) PACK. Label boxes as to what room they are to be placed in in the new home. Unpacking is less annoying.
18) Moving day. If possible have someone who will take care of children and pets. Less frustrating for all concerned.
19) Give the cook a break on moving day! Pack a lunch, order in, eat out!