Buying a Home
Whether you are buying a property for the first time or not, the home buying process is one of the largest purchases you will ever make. The first step in what can feel like a daunting task is deciding what type of property you want and what is the right “fit” for you, your family and your lifestyle. Make a list of your absolute musts and a separate list of what you would like to have in your new home. I call this separating the “negotiables” from the “non-negotiables,” which allows you to keep your criteria loose and your budget on track. Knowing what you're looking for will not only help you focus your search but will also help your real estate broker understand your needs so that he/she can best assist you in the process.
Second, it is important to obtain a pre-approval letter from a reputable mortgage broker or bank. This helps keep your property search in the correct price range as you consider different properties in different locations at different prices. It is important to note that beyond the cost of mortgage on a property comes the cost of taxes and Homeowner's Insurance, all of which should fit into your budget. Your first step in the process of buying a home is to determine how much you can afford to borrow. A basic rule of thumb is that a lender will look to see that your projected monthly mortgage payment be no more than 29% of your monthly gross income. For more help, use Fannie Mae's online mortgage calculator at www.fanniemae.com.
A real estate broker can help you understand the steps you will need to take when choosing the right mortgage program and can refer you to a reputable mortgage broker or service. Local governments also offer special home buying programs to help first-time home buyers and those in lower socioeconomic brackets. Get informed - you may be surprised to discover what you are eligible for. Once you have established a budget and have a solid idea about the property you are searching for, it is time to engage the help of a reliable Realtor who can assist you in locating the right property to fit your needs. Finding the right property can be just as important as finding the right Realtor. An experienced Realtor is able to anticipate your needs and conduct the most productive and cost efficient search. We recommend viewing as many open houses as possible so that you can develop an understanding of the market and get a solid idea of what is available in your price range. Fitkova Realty Group has an exhaustive database of property listings and you can sign up for daily updates through the website enabling you to find the right property faster and easier than ever before.
Once you are ready to make an offer an initial deposit check of “good faith” for US$1,000 is the general rule of thumb in securing the purchase of the property. A property inspection is then strongly recommended by a licensed, independent authorized inspector within ten days of the deposit. If buying a condo, you will have a grace period of ten days to review the condo documents and subsequent budget; most buyers opt to have an attorney review the Purchase and Sale Agreement and/or any related documents throughout this period. The Purchase and Sale Agreement is then signed after the offer has been officially accepted. A standard deposit upon signing the P&S is 5% of the property value down, minus the $1,000 initial deposit. This money is held in Escrow until closing and goes towards the purchase price. Upon signing the Agreement the bank is then required to complete a separate property appraisal in order to approve the loan. Your Lender will also require that you have homeowners insurance to protect both your (and their) financial interests. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs. Before closing on a property, a final walk-through inspection is performed to ensure that the property is being delivered in satisfactory condition. The final stage is the Settlement or Closing period where it is important to have an attorney and your real estate broker present at the closing to ensure that all is in order with the purchase. The title is then recorded signifying that you are officially a new homeowner!
Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. The experience can be daunting unless you are working together with a professional real estate broker who understands the process. If you are thinking of engaging in the selling or buying process, contact us. As a buyer’s agent, we can expertly guide you towards making the best and most educated decisions when it comes to buying a property.