The Home Buying Process
Buying a home can be a complicated, stressful process. Below are some steps that you should take as you begin the process of purchasing your new home.
Step 1: Check your credit report and score
Before contacting a lender, it’s smart to check your credit report. By law, you can get a free report once a year through Annualcreditreport.com. The report pulls data from the three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Having the information in hand before you talk with a lender lets you dispute any errors in the reporting.
Step 2: Determine what you can afford
You may find that the mortgage payment that you can qualify for based on your income and expenses may be much more than you feel comfortable with based on your current financial situation. Use the mortgage affordability calculator to help determine how much you can afford. Now is a good time to research your housing market to give you a good sense of what your money will get you in the area where you want to purchase. A Mortgage Consultant can also help guide you through the numbers so that you can make a decision that best fits your needs.
Step 3: Find a real estate agent
It is best to have your own real estate agent representing you when you are in the process of purchasing a home. A buyer’s agent is paid commission by the seller as part of the transaction. As a buyer, you will never pay a fee for having a real estate agent represent you in a sale. Your agent is your chief advocate, confidante, and hand-holder in the process so you want to find a good fit. SIRVA Relocation has a preferred list of over 4000 professional, certified real estate agents from top brokerages across the nation that have passed comprehensive requirements and can assist you with your home needs. To learn more about SIRVA’s preferred agents, please visit SIRVA Relocation's website here.
Step 4: Get pre-approved by a lender
In order to determine how much of a mortgage loan you can qualify for, it is best to get pre-approved by a lender prior to beginning to search for a home.
A SIRVA Mortgage Consultant can offer a no cost-no obligation pre-approval over the phone in less than 30 minutes. During the pre-approval process, the mortgage consultant will assess your financial needs to determine your best mortgage option. In addition, the Mortgage Consultant will pull a copy of your credit report, and in the case of a verified pre-approval, will have your income and assets verified and approved by a mortgage underwriter. Once you are pre-approved, your mortgage will then give you a letter that states the amount the lender would be willing to lend you. If you find yourself in a multiple-offer scenario where another buyer wants the same house you'd like to purchase, being pre-approved may give you an edge because the seller will have more confidence that you will be approved for a loan large enough to purchase their home.
Step 5: Start looking at homes/Make an Offer
Most individuals begin their home search by looking at online listings. If you find listings that fit into your price range and are in your preferred location, discuss these with your agent who will arrange for you to tour the properties.
Once you’ve found a home you want your agent will work with you to create and present an offer on your behalf. Remember, the listing price is only a starting point. Your agent will understand the market and help guide you to make the most attractive offer, whether it’s below, at or above listing price. Pay particular attention to contingencies you may want to add to the contract. Typical contingencies include a satisfactory home inspection and appraisal, financing approval, and in some cases the sale of your existing property.
Step 6: Lock in your interest rate
Once you have finalized your purchase contract it will be time to lock in your interest rate by contacting your SIRVA Mortgage Consultant. Your Mortgage Consultant will not only lock in your interest rate but also finalize the product and terms for your mortgage loan. SIRVA Mortgage uses a unique one-stop rate shopping approach that allows us to compare rates and over 200 mortgage products from the nation's top lenders to ensure you are receiving the best option.
Step 7: Home inspection
Your agent should be able to provide you with a list of reputable home inspectors in the area that you are purchasing. The inspector will look over the property and identify any issues that you may want the seller to address before closing. Take your time evaluating everything and gaining a lay of the land as this may be the last time you are in the property until after closing.
Step 8: Your loan processing
After you have locked into an interest rate, a loan processor will have an appraisal ordered, and if necessary, further verification of income and assets will be made. At this point your loan processor will be gathering all of the necessary paperwork to be sent to the SIRVA Mortgage underwriter to be approved. You will also be using this time in the process to select homeowners insurance, initiate utility activation dates, and preparing for your big move.
Step 9: Closing
Once your loan is approved, your SIRVA loan closer will arrange all of the details for your final closing including providing you with a dollar amount that will be needed at closing.
Step 10: Make your house a home!
Congratulations! You are now a homeowner! Whether it's the same day or soon thereafter, your sale contract will give you the specifics on when exactly moving day can be. It is not uncommon for possession to happen a few days after closing. Whenever
it is, you’ve just have completed your home buying process and now it is time to turn your house into a home.