Congratulations on your decision to buy a home! It’s very exciting to get out and look at houses, but don’t put the cart before the horse. Woodstock is a hot market with low inventory and bidding wars on the best inventory are becoming more and more common.
1. Get Pre-Approved
Submitting a pre-approval letter is of the utmost importance when you present an offer. I have several lenders that I can refer you to if you don’t already have a relationship with someone you trust. The truth is that even if you have a lender you’ve used before, it’s still a good to shop around and compare rates and closing costs to make sure you are getting great service and great rates! Be prepared to share your income and financial information so that your lender can help you identify the price range for which you are qualified.
Some of the documents your lender will need to get started:
- Pay Stubs
- Job Offer Letter(s)
- Tax Returns
- Bank Statements
- Letter’s of Explanation for any Derogatory Credit
- Credit Report
Be prepared to provide lots and lots of documentation. Don’t pack it away just yet…keep all financing/personal information available until you close…you never know what a lender may ask for last minute!
2. Needs Analysis
You may have used our search tool or identified some homes you wish to see on another resource such as Zillow. Technology is fantastic, but it doesn’t eliminate the need to sit down and review your goals. I will sit down with the decision makers and we will openly discuss all of the things you need and want in a home. This consultation process helps all parties firm up exactly what is important. Sometimes when I go through this process I find that the decision makers are not always on the same page and this can cause a lot of stress through the shopping process. It’s much better to firm up needs vs wants at the local coffee shop before hitting the road.
3. Home search!
With your specifications in mind, I will use my resources to scout the marketplace on your behalf. When I find houses that meet your criteria, we can review them and schedule a tour at your convenience. If we can’t find anything that meets your criteria, we can identify target neighborhoods and I can put out a mailing or even knock on doors to find your next home.
- When possible, all decision-makers should be available for home tours.
- Always be candid–I represent you and I need to know what you like and don’t like. You are not going to hurt my feelings by being honest…in fact, I will likely get frustrated if waste time looking at homes that you don’t like.
4. Prepare the offer
Once we have found the home of your dreams, I will coach you on developing an offer price by reviewing the Seller’s Disclosure Statement, market trends and similar home sales. I will then draft a written offer on a Georgia Association of Realtors Standard Purchase and Sale Agreement. This will outline the offer price, request any seller concessions, due diligence/contingency periods as well as the responsibilities of both parties during the transaction. If the seller accepts your offer, it becomes a binding contract. It is imperative that you carefully review the contract and clarify any aspects that are not clear to you prior to offering.
- If negotiations are necessary, we will work together ensure that you and the seller agree on all terms.
- I will then submit your binding agreement to your lender for them to begin their process which includes ordering an appraisal, hiring a title company processing your loan and final underwriting.
5. Inspection of the property
In order to ensure your safety and the value of your investment, it is important to have the proper personnel thoroughly inspect the house after the offer and loan terms have been finalized.
Georgia doesn’t have a license for home inspectors, so it’s important to hire an inspector that is properly qualified. There are many home inspection certifications available for individuals to obtain. My recommendation is that you employ an inspector from a well known organization such as ASHI or GAHI. You also have the option of hiring licensed contractors from each specific field to perform specific inspections in his/her specialty.
Depending on the property type and location, I may also suggest additional item’s to be inspected:
- Landscape/Retaining Walls
6. Survey of property
While not required, it is always suggested that you obtain a survey of the property and property lines. A surveyor will mark property boundaries as well as provide you with a plat (drawing) showing you where buildings and structures are located on your property. This will ensure that the house you are buying is within your property lines. It also ensures that nobody else’s buildings were accidentally (or intentionally) encumbering your property.
7. Final details
It always feels like everyone waits for the last minute, but there are a tremendous number of tasks that are being done behind the scenes. Your lender has your loan package in underwriting, the underwriter is verifying all provided documentation as well as the validity of the appraisal. The closing attorney is clearing the title and preparing closing documents and making disclosures. I, your Realtor, will be tracking as many details and working to coordinate the team to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. I will also act as your liaison to schedule the closing date/time provide you with all other necessary information to make for a smooth transition.
8. The closing
This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Once the lender has completed and approved the loan and the seller has completed any required repairs, the final transaction will be consummated at the closing. Prior to your final commitment, I will schedule a final walk through of the property for you to make sure it’s condition hasn’t significantly changed.
If you are not paying cash, the closing attorney will be representing the lender. If you are paying cash, the closing attorney will be representing you, the buyer. The new TRID laws require lenders to provide a disclosure 3 days prior to your closing, so you will not have any surprise changes in terms of your loan….specifically, you will not in advance how much money is needed at closing and you need not worry about a change in your interest rate or monthly payment.
At the closing, the attorney will walk you through your loan package where you will sign many, many documents. These documents spell out your loan terms and ultimately transfer ownership of the property.
9. After closing
After you are settled into your new home, I hope you will stay in contact and take full advantage of my vast real estate knowledge and network of local vendors. As a professional, it is my goal to be more than just your Realtor during the sale. You can count on me when you need a referral to plumber, a roofer or if you need remodeling advice. I can even help if you require a professional opinion of your homes value to dispute a tax assessment. The bottom line is that I want to be your Realtor for life and I value you as a new neighbor and a customer.
Congratulations on your decision to buy a new home. I look forward to working with you!
AKA- Mr. Woodstock