Home Buying Guide

by | Dec 30, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The home buying process can be daunting, especially for First Time Home Buyers or anyone who has not bought a home in a long time. The road can be confusing and, at times, feels almost impossible. I know this article is long, but it’s also comprehensive and worth the read if you’re serious about purchasing a new home. Whether or not you’re planning to sell or purchase in Tampa Bay, you are always welcome to reach out through our phone number or contact sheet with any questions you have. We will always do our best to answer your questions, and we are happy to find you a reliable Realtor to help guide you in your area! Now, into the guide!

 Planning and Prequalification

 

Before you even speak to an agent, let alone find your dream home, you’re going to need to work on your financials! You need to be prepared for not only the mortgage, but the taxes, insurance, and maintenance that comes with home ownership. So, let’s break down the financials and see what needs to be done first!

 

Take a look at your savings

Most people think they need 20% down to purchase a home, and that is simply not true. It is especially not true if you are buying your first home. Conventional loans require as low as 3% down on a primary residence home loan, and FHA loans are as low as 3.5%. These are both the most common loans you will be taking out for a home. There are even some local programs that will work to cover this cost for you depending on your income and the purchase price you’re looking at. A good local mortgage broker will have information about the programs that cover the areas you are looking in.

You will also have some other costs associated with closing to consider. Those costs include title search, taxes, loan fees, and more. All in all, expect to spend another 2% to 4% on your other purchase services. That means you will typically need 2% to 7.5% of the purchase price to close, depending on any First Time Home Buyer or local down payment assistance programs. Keep in mind working with a real estate agent is almost always FREE for the buyer!

 

Still don’t have enough for a down payment?

Ask your lender about USDA loans! These loans have a 0% down payment requirement and can be the guiding light for some first-time home buyers! Many areas are offered loans through the USDA to encourage people to move outside of major metropolitan areas. You may be surprised at what areas are considered rural enough to qualify for this loan type! You can check out the map provided by the USDA to see what parts of your target area qualify. Keep in mind there are income limits and some fees associated with this program, so you will definitely want to speak with your lender to make sure you qualify!

Another option for a zero down payment loan is a VA loan. If you were in any branch of the military you may qualify for this type of loan. If you qualify for this type of loan, it is often your best option! VA loans offer competitive interest rates and have no PMI requirement. This means you can keep your home payment as low as those who do put down a full 20% with stellar credit! Speaking of credit…

 

How’s your credit?

This is another area new home buyers tend to preemptively shut themselves down. Even if you know your credit isn’t the greatest, you CAN get financing with less-than-stellar credit! The first step is knowing what you are up against with your credit. Go over everything on your credit report and make sure you recognize any charges. High balances on your credit cards can be detrimental to your purchasing power since they add to your monthly bills, and subtract from your debt-to-income ratio. This is another thing to discuss with your mortgage broker. Depending on your personal situation, they may help you come up with a strategy to pay down your balances before trying to qualify for a mortgage. The more information you have ahead of time, the easier the process will be, so definitely get familiar with your credit report! You can check your credit report for free with an account on Credit Karma, and it won’t hurt your score at all to look!

 

Reign in that spending!

Does your bank account seem to have a hole in its pocket? That’s okay, many people experience this same strange phenomenon. One of the best cures for this that I have found is the Mint App. Mint is a spending tracker app that will help show you where your money is going each month. This can help you see where you can cut back, and add that money back into your savings or pay down your debts.

 

Watch your debt-to-income ratio!

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a major factor in determining how much a lender will qualify you for. It is calculated by dividing your monthly debts by your gross monthly income. For example, if you make $6,000 a month ($72,000 a year) and have $2,000 in debts (credit cards, car payments, loan payments, etc.), the bank will calculate your DTI with $2,000 / $6,000, which is 33%. In most cases, you need a DTI below 50% to qualify for a mortgage. Knowing this number up front can help guide your conversation with a lender, and allow them to share more accurate options that are available to you.

 

Speak with a (few) lender(s)!

There are an infinite number of lenders out there looking for your business, and they don’t all work the same way. Typically, you’re going to get the best rates by working with a mortgage broker. These are the guys who know every in and out of the industry. When they do their job right, they can usually save you more money than a big national branded bank would. Much like real estate agents they also work for FREE for you! They are paid by the lenders, who charge you the same fees regardless of whether or not you worked with a broker. Most of the time, working with a broker will get you a more competitive mortgage rate and an over all lower monthly payment. We have brokers throughout the Tampa Bay Area that we trust and love to work with. They have helped our customers move into their dream homes and always push to get our customers the most for their money! If you’re looking for a mortgage broker in Tampa Bay, we can point you in the right direction!

 

Prequalify and budget!

Now that you have a solid idea of your finances, and have spoken with a few mortgage brokers or lenders about your mortgage options, it’s time to pre-qualify! Most agents won’t be able to show you homes without some kind of proof of funds. This either needs to be a bank statement for cash, or a pre-approval letter for a loan.

Decide What You’re Looking For

Now that you have a good idea of what you can afford, it’s time to start dreaming about that perfect new home! Take a look through what’s available in your area and familiarize yourself with the going rates in that market. You’ll want to get some basic answers settled before you reach out to your new real estate agent.

 

      • How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you want?
      • What area are you looking to buy in? (school zones, taxes, flood zones, value trends etc.)
      • What kind of property are you looking for? (condo, single family, multi-family etc.)
      • What are your “must have” amenities? (pool, fenced yard, nearby public transport etc.)

These questions may seem basic, but try to put some thought into them. Do you really need 4 bedrooms, or would 3 bedrooms and a den work? If you’re looking for a single-family home, do you want multiple stories, or are you not fond of stairs? Try to nail down some details of your perfect home before reaching out. Your Realtor will thank you!

 

You probably won’t get everything on your wish list

Let’s face it, if we could all afford to live in mansions by the sea we probably would. But while you’re looking for your next home, keep in mind the budget you have set for yourself. Don’t try to go look at million-dollar houses with a budget of $400,000, and keep in mind that a $400,000 home will not have all the same amenities of a million-dollar home. You will likely have to pick and choose what is most important to you. That’s why your “must haves” list is so crucial to a successful home search.

Finding A Rockstar Realtor

 

Well, that’s the easy part. You’re here, so you’re done with that! I kid, I kid (sort of). It’s important to find yourself a great real estate agent no matter what kind of transaction you’re working on.

 

Don’t just take the first person who turns up

This is the step a lot of people go wrong on, and it can have a domino effect through your entire experience. Most people know someone who has their real estate license, but there are major differences between people who pour themselves into real estate for a living, and someone just trying to make some side cash. A full-time real estate agent is going to know the ins and outs of the market. They’re going to have experience with more crazy situations, and have solutions prepared for things that pop up (and things ALWAYS pop up). Your real estate agent needs to be able to do more than unlock some doors for you. They are there to guide you and help you make the most beneficial move as smoothly as possible.

 

Buyer Consultation

Your agent should make time to meet you in person. If anyone wants to only meet over the phone, they likely don’t have time for you, or don’t have the attitude you want in a rockstar agent. When you initially contact a prospective agent, the agent may ask a few questions to get to know what you like. This will help them make the most out of your time and give the agent an opportunity to study your area of interest a little deeper.

At this point, you should have a few buyer consultations set up with agents in your area. During this buyer consultation, you are interviewing each other to see if you are a good fit. It’s important to work with an agent you feel confident in and comfortable with. They will be helping you make a major financial decision. You’re hiring them for a big job, so make sure to ask some tough questions.

One question I like to ask is if the agent has a recommended mortgage broker. If they don’t have someone off the top of their head, they’re not doing enough business. This is one of the closest relationships your agent is likely to have, so they should be able to recommend someone. That being said they should also tell you to do your research and get multiple quotes from different brokers.

 

Ask them questions about their experience!

Most real estate agents will want to focus the conversation on your needs and wants, but this is a two-way street and you should feel confident asking the agent about their experience. The questions below are some examples of good questions to ask. They should all have relatively simple answers and a prepared real estate agent should be able to answer them quickly and efficiently.

Are you a full-time agent?

This question is one of the most important questions. Is this just a side hustle for your real estate agent, or do they make their living off of real estate? A full-time real estate agent will likely have a more open schedule, which is incredibly important on the buyer side. If your real estate agent is at their day job, that means they can’t take you out to view houses. Sometimes that makes all the difference

Are you a Realtor?

There is a difference between a real estate agent and a registered Realtor. A real estate agent is simply someone who has received their license. A Realtor belongs to the National Association of Realtors. This is a standardizing association that holds its members to a higher standard of service. While you can certainly find a non-Realtor agent who has high standards, those who have made the commitment to their service, and joined the National Association of Realtors have committed themselves to a higher code of ethics, and are more likely to have your best interests in mind. Their Code of Ethics includes not exaggerating or misrepresenting, and promoting their client’s interests before their own.

Do you have referrals from your past clients?

When you ask this question, most real estate agents will direct you to their reviews page on their website, on Zillow, or on Google. Some may be willing to share references with you if you would like to reach out to them, but it’s not a huge red flag if they don’t. Some agents are more reluctant to give out client information since it’s private and they don’t want people calling to bother their clients. It can be helpful to speak with another person about their experience with the agent if you can arrange it.

Have you worked in my target area before?

This is a big one. You want an agent who is familiar with your target area to buy. They’ll know the ins and outs of some of the local HOAs and may have more inside information about the individual neighborhoods. That being said, an agent who does not have experience in the area, but shows they have studied the area before your meeting, will likely have similar and more up-to-date knowledge than someone who occasionally works the area. This is a less important qualification for buyers than it is for sellers.

How long have you been a real estate agent?

Honestly, this question is the least important of the bunch. If you are speaking with a part-time real estate agent with 20 years of experience, they’re not going to be able to hold a candle to a rockstar agent with 2 years of experience. It can be helpful to know though and may make you feel more confident in your decision.

 

Experience isn’t everything though…

What is your availability like?

Sometimes, agents don’t have as free of a schedule as you may be expecting. And in a fast-moving market, this can be incredibly detrimental. Your agent will need to accompany you to any properties you are interested in viewing, or at least arrange for another agent to take you. Agents who work full time jobs outside of real estate likely not only have less market knowledge, but also have less flexibility in their schedules. Ideally you want to work with a real estate agent who is fully committed to their business, but isn’t so overwhelmed with clients that they can’t make enough time for you.

Do you work with a team?

Some brokerages like Keller Williams offer the option of working on a team to their agents. This can be a pro to some and a con to others. If you are speaking to an agent who runs a team, it’s best to clarify if you will be working directly with that agent, or someone on their team. If they don’t run the team, it’s important that you ask for referrals and testimonials for that agent specifically. Teams typically allow agents to be more specialized in the area they are working with, but it may also mean you will be represented by different people for each stage, so you likely wont build as strong of a relationship with your agent(s) as you may have otherwise.

What resources do you have available to you?

There is a major difference in resources available between different brokerages. An agent who works for a company like Keller Williams has access to their training, their paperwork, and their support staff; not to mention the wealth of knowledge they can turn to from the other agents in their office. Some agents decide to sign with brokerages that offer less support because the agent will make more money per transaction. Unless these agents have many years of full-time knowledge, and keep up with an almost unheard-of amount of real estate news, they likely are not as up to date or effective as an agent with more resources through their brokerage.

What does your gut say?

The last, but certainly not least important, thing you should consider when choosing your agent is what your gut tells you. If the agent you spoke with gave you a negative feeling, or made you uncomfortable, does it really matter how many homes they’ve sold? If you aren’t comfortable with the agent, wait and find one you ARE comfortable with. Your agent should treat you with respect and happily answer any questions you have. This is not a decision you should rush.

Home Shopping

 

Now that you have your rockstar real estate agent, it’s time for the fun part: shopping! If they have not already, your real estate agent should run through a checklist to determine your criteria for your new home. This will include things like how many bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, etc. you are looking for. If you have any examples of the homes you like, now would be a great time to share those with your real estate agent.

 

Finding the right homes

Your agent should set you up on a search with the MLS using criteria they have asked you for. This will help narrow down your search tremendously. This will usually come in a daily email to you with new listings that have just hit the market. As noted, it’s important that you act quickly in any market. Many times, it’s the first offer that comes in that gets accepted, so you always want to try to be as quick as possible!

As these listings come in to your email, communicate with your agent to narrow down your likes and dislikes. Your agent may be able to adjust the filters set to give you a more targeted list of homes to view. This will also help your agent keep an eye out for listings they think may suit you. The more details on what you’re looking for that you share with your agent, the less time you will waste looking at homes that aren’t for you.

Viewing homes with your real estate agent

Once you find some homes that you’re interested in, your agent will set up showings. DO NOT GO VIEW HOMES WITHOUT YOUR AGENT! Even with vacant properties, this is called trespassing! In the very best-case scenario, the owner is home and will let you tour the property even though your sudden appearance has disturbed their day. They can (and will) point out all the good stuff and gloss over the bad stuff. The owner does not have your best interest in mind, but your Realtor does. Most of the time, the home will be set up on a lockbox so your Realtor can access a key. The Realtor will not give you a code to view the property yourself. This is extremely unethical and illegal. It could get your Realtor in massive trouble and cost them their license.

With all that doom and gloom out of the way, viewing homes is a good time to express your likes and dislikes in a physical way. Maybe you didn’t realize you hated brown cabinets. Are you open to painting or any repair work that may need to be done? Maybe you told your Realtor you wanted to renovate, but this project is way too much for you. Whatever the case may be, now is a great time to discuss these things with your Realtor!

It is important to view properties in person if you can prior to writing an offer. In some markets, and some cases, you will not have time to view the property. You are able to make an offer sight-unseen, but you will want to get in to view the property as soon as possible after making the offer. You have a short period you can withdraw in if you decide it’s not for you. If you cannot physically be present to view the property, your Realtor will be able to do a virtual walkthrough with you.

You don’t need to see every home you like

Let’s say for example that you have three homes you sort of like, and one home you LOVE! Do you really need to go see the other three, only to be wowed by your favorite? Probably not, right? If you find the perfect place online, try to schedule that showing first. If it lives up to your expectations there’s no reason to go see the other ones that you already know you’re going to like less. If the one you love is not as great as you thought, you can continue with the other showings. That way you aren’t wasting your time driving around for no reason. While you’re out driving around, someone else may be making an offer on your perfect home. If it’s perfect to you, it’s usually perfect to someone else too!

Keeping track of what you’ve seen

When you are browsing houses, eventually everything starts to run together. Here are some tips to keep track of what you’re interested in, and to narrow down your list. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend downloading the Keller Williams app. Due to direct MLS integration and proprietary algorithms, the Keller Williams app shows the most up-to-date listing information out of all of the home search apps, so you can be sure you’re seeing the newest information available.

While you’re browsing the app, favorite anything you are genuinely interested in. I recommend starting your search in your ideal location. If there are any deal breakers at all, don’t add that property to your list. Once you have several homes on your favorites list, go back through and decide which are your top three or four. Ask your Realtor to set up a showing for those as soon as possible.

When you arrive for each home showing, take a photo of the outside of the house. This will help you keep track of which photos are for which house. Once inside, take a lot of pictures! Anything you like and dislike should be photographed. Your Realtor will likely have print-outs of the listings for you to keep as well. Keep a pen with you so you can take notes on these! If they didn’t provide you with a print out, make sure you take notes on your phone, or have an extra notebook with you.

Writing An Offer

 

You have searched high and low, and now you have finally found the home of your dreams. It’s time to make an offer! This is an exciting time for you, and you may be nervous to take such a big step. Now is the time to lean in to your Realtor’s advice and to keep some key points in mind.

 

Listen to your Realtor’s opinion of the market

Are you currently operating in a seller’s market, a neutral market, or a buyer’s market? In most cases, your Realtor will be how you get this information. If you selected a rockstar real estate agent, they will have the market statistics to back up their opinion of the market. If it’s a buyer’s market, you may be able to get some better deals and have more wiggle room when it comes to concessions. When you’re in a seller’s market, you may be dealing with multiple offers, or properties going above asking price. This makes a huge difference on your options, and you’ll need to discuss your specific case with your Realtor.

 

You may not win your first offer

Just because you wrote an offer doesn’t mean you got the house. The seller may have other offers come in, or they may not like what you had to offer. It’s important to treat every offer like it is the last chance you have to get the house. If you offer too low, and someone else has a reasonable offer, the seller very well may accept the other offer without giving you a chance to counter. You don’t want to lose the perfect house over a couple thousand dollars. Even if you have a great offer, you still might not get the house. It’s important to remember this is a common occurrence in purchasing a home, and as frustrating as it can be, you should not take this out on your agent. You and your agent can both do everything right and still not win the offer war. There doesn’t need to be blame thrown around when none exists.

 

Counter Offers

Sometimes when your offer isn’t quite good enough for a seller, they may write you a counter offer. This counter offer could be a request for more money, or to change the conditions of the offer; it really depends on your specific situation. If you receive a counter offer, there is a good chance the seller is interested in the offer you have presented. Carefully examine the situation and discuss your options with your Realtor.

 

Your Realtor has your best interest in mind… Take their advice to heart

Your Realtor is there to act as your fiduciary and keep your best interest in the forefront. If you don’t agree that’s the case, you need to work with a different Realtor. The National Association of Realtors code of ethics requires your Realtor to put your needs before their own. This isn’t just a suggestion, it’s literally the FIRST RULE.

Speak with your Realtor to get an idea of what you should offer on a home. Just because it is listed at one price, does not mean it’s worth that. In some cases, homes can be so over priced you wont even be able to get financing on it. Your Realtor should be able to compare other sold homes nearby and get an idea of the rate for the property.

I know we all want to get our dream homes for less, but sometimes the property is worth much more than the list price. This is a strategy some seller agents use to create a bidding war around the home, and drive up the price.

 

Earnest Money Deposit

Hooray! You’ve written an offer and the seller has officially accepted! It’s time to break out the bubbly and gather some funds! Up next is your earnest money deposit!

The earnest money deposit (or EMD) is a good faith deposit that shows you are truly interested in purchasing the home. This deposit is usually 1%-2% of the purchase price, but it can really be anything. This is a deposit towards the down payment and closing costs if you purchase the home. Lowering the deposit too much can raise a major red flag though, so try to keep your offer around that standard.

This money is there to protect the seller should the buyer back out of the deal. Except under a few circumstances, should the buyer decide to walk away from the deal, they would typically forfeit their earnest money deposit. Typically, the buyer will be returned their earnest money if they back out of the contract due to pre-defined contingencies, a failed home inspection, or a low appraisal. These contingencies should be included in the original contract. They are common and can help the buyer recover their earnest money deposit if they need to back out for a genuine reason.

Your agent will ask what you would like to include for earnest money prior to submitting the offer, but you don’t have to make the actual deposit until after your offer has been accepted. Typically, you will need to send your earnest money in to the title company within three days of an accepted offer. Your Realtor will tell you the exact date for your specific contract.

Your Realtor will NOT take a check from you. This money goes directly to the chosen title company. The title company is typically chosen by the seller, and the seller will pay their fees. If you would like to choose the title company, you may be able to negotiate that. However, you would now be responsible for the title company fees.

Getting A Home Inspection

What is a home inspection and why should you get one?

Now that you have a fully signed and accepted offer, and you have put down your earnest money deposit, it’s time to schedule the home inspection! He home inspection is a noninvasive, visual inspection of the home you intend to buy. This inspection is intended to unearth any problems going on with the home, and is usually extremely detailed. If you don’t have an inspector in mind, that’s fine. Your Realtor should be able to recommend a quality inspector that they have worked with before.

Home inspections are designed to protect the buyer. The inspector will do things like testing wiring, checking the roof, inspecting the foundation, and a whole lot more. They do a deep dive into all the hidden secrets of your intended purchase, to prevent you from making a mistake. In some cases, the discovered issues may be costly to repair and you may want to reconsider purchasing the home. After closing, any repairs that are not done are your responsibility.

What should you expect on inspection day?

On inspection day, your inspector will arrive at the home to begin his report. The seller may or may not be present for this, but if you’re available, you should try to attend. Your inspector is the expert, but you will still benefit from being able to ask them questions directly about things that may concern you. They can also help you determine what may be major issues, compared to small and simple repairs. If you are unable to attend, your Realtor should attend for you. Depending on the size of the home, the inspection could easily be a multi-hour project. These inspections are extremely thorough!

At the end of the inspection your inspector will complete a report for you. This report will include every single thing the inspector found wrong with the home. It is typically an extremely lengthy report, but your inspector should explain their findings to you outside the report as well. Don’t be concerned with how much they find. There is always something wrong on these reports. They are being paid to find every little thing, so that’s exactly what they do.

Negotiating with the seller

Ahh, so you thought negotiations ended on the contract? Nope! Here is a good place to get a few bonuses thrown in! When your inspection report inevitably turns something up (and it will), this is your chance to ask for the seller to cover those repairs. Alternatively, you could ask for a credit towards your purchase price to complete the repairs yourself. Most of the time sellers will work with you on things that turn up during inspections. If the issues were accounted for in the initial listing, or you have agreed to purchase the home as-is, you are much less likely to be able to negotiate anything with the seller. If you are not satisfied with the agreement after negotiations, you are able to cancel the contract and keep your earnest money deposit.

Getting an Appraisal

What is an appraisal?

An appraisal differs from a home inspection in a few key ways. The appraiser isn’t looking for issues with the home. They are there to determine the value of the home compared to similar homes that have recently sold. Appraisers do not take into account things like paint color, or other aesthetics that may still affect the over-all salability of the home.

How much does an appraisal cost?

Typically, an appraisal will cost between $300 and $600 for a full report. Several factors play into this, including size of the home, and the area you’re purchasing in. Homes that are closer to major cities or that are larger than average tend to be more costly. You can also expect a home with extensive damages to have a more costly appraisal. This is an expense you should be aware of as a buyer. You are responsible for this cost before closing, so make sure you have some extra money set aside for this.

Why even get an appraisal?

If you’re planning on getting a mortgage for the property, an appraisal will be required. But it’s also a good idea to get an appraisal regardless. Appraisals give you a more direct idea of what the property you are buying is worth. Sometimes homes are put up for sale for more than they are actually worth. As long as you have an appraisal contingency written in your contract, you may be able to negotiate for a lower price on the purchase. This can work both ways, and in both ways, favors the buyer. You may have an appraisal done and find that the home was priced low. Your contract is still set for the price you signed for, and the seller has no basis to negotiate to pay higher. Anything extra in appraised value is just “instant equity” you have in the home after purchase.

Pre-Closing

Repairs and Credits

When things come up during your appraisal and your inspection, this gives you an opportunity to negotiate with the seller to address some of these issues. Many times, sellers will be willing to work with you to a point on things that come up during these inspections, especially because (provided you have the options in your contract) you can walk away at this point and get your earnest money deposit back! Besides, anyone who would go to purchase this home if you walked is likely to ask for concessions for the same issues, so they may as well be open to negotiations with you instead.

Depending on the issues you may want to negotiate a lower over all price, or for repairs to be completed prior to move in. Your real estate agent will act as your go between and your negotiation expert. They will also recommend which issues to push for, and which to let slide. Regardless, the seller has the possibility of denying your requests. At that point you have to decide if it’s worth continuing on with the contract, or walking away.

Final Walkthrough

Before you sign those closing documents, make sure your agent takes you back by the home to do a final walkthrough. This allows you time to verify everything is still as you expect it to be. Once you sign the closing paperwork, any issues with the home are yours. This includes not only things like vandalism or newly broken things, but old furniture or trash you expected to be out of the home prior to closing. It also gives you time to check that any repairs you and the seller had agreed on have been completed to your satisfaction.

This is also a good time to test things like the appliances, air conditioning, and any other systems in the home to make sure they are working just as well as you expect. You should do this final walkthrough as close to your closing time as possible to minimize the time between walkthrough and closing.  

Review your closing disclosure

At least three days prior to your closing, your lender is required to provide a copy of your Closing Disclosure. This is a document that summarizes all of your loan details and tells you what you will need to pay at the closing table. Make sure you review this document prior to closing and compare it to your original Loan Estimate. They likely won’t be exactly identical, but you should check for any major changes so any issues can be resolved prior to closing. The amount you are required to bring to closing may need to be completed through wire transfer, cashier’s check, or money order, depending on the title company’s requirements. Although a few companies will accept cash, credit/debit cards, or personal checks, but for many reasons those payment methods should be avoided.

Prepare to move

Once you sign the closing documents, you will get your keys and be able to move in right away (unless otherwise discussed and allowed for in the contract). That means you should be packed up and ready to go before closing! This is especially true if you are doing a back-to-back closing where you are selling one property to move to another. Once a property is sold, you won’t be able to go back in and pack more stuff. So, make sure you’re prepared. This is less important if you’re moving out of a rental unit and have a set move out date. In that case, you may have more time to get through this step. Just make sure once you turn over your keys, you are completely packed and out of your old home!

Closing

The closing meeting

Here it is! The moment you’ve been waiting for! The culmination of all of your hard work! And it’s… anticlimactic ideally. Honestly once you get to the closing table most of the stress is over. Closing is pretty simple. You pay your part based on the Closing Disclosure you received from your lender, and you fill out some step-by-step paperwork that the title agent will walk you through. Your real estate agent is probably there, but they’re mostly around for moral support and celebration at this point. This meeting is usually over within an hour even for a more complex closing. After signing the documents, handing over your closing payment, and receiving your keys, you officially own the property!

Moving in to your new home!

Congratulations! You made it through this tough process (not to mention this lengthy article)! It’s time to unpack the truck, move in those boxes, and celebrate a little! Don’t forget to leave a great review for your Realtor, and refer them out to your friends! Their business runs on word of mouth, so they will greatly appreciate your support!