Preparing to Buy
First, create a green file, as you’ll need this in order to secure financing. Your green file will contain your bank accounts, statements, investments, credit cards, loans, tax returns, insurance, and other important financial documents. It’s recommended to have all of this sorted out before you start looking for financing. Also, check your credit rating with a lending institution to find out what you can afford, as your credit score will have an impact on the type of property you can buy and at what price.Check the different kinds of loans available to find out which one is the best for you depending on your financial situation. If possible, having a pre-approval letter from a lender will help you search for the home you want faster, since you already know exactly how much you can afford, and this letter also tells sellers that you’re a serious buyer because you already have financing.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Now it’s time to look for an agent. Navigating the real estate market can seem like a daunting task for those not familiar with it, but not when you work with a knowledgeable real estate professional. It’s important that you select a real estate agent that’s familiar with the areas where you want to live and has lots of experience in successful transactions. A good real estate agent will not only provide you access to property listings and handle the necessary paperwork, but will also guide you in making the right decisions and steer you away from potential disasters. In general, choose the agent that you feel comfortable with and one who promptly replies to your calls and listens attentively to all your concerns.
If you’re a foreign buyer, choose professionals with the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, as they are trained and qualified to handle matters pertaining to international real estate. If you’re not fluent in English, pick someone who can speak your native language as this will be important during transactions.
Looking for Your Home
You can start your search for the home you want by looking through various online property listings. You can save hours and even days of searching by simply concentrating on the home with the features you need. Making a list of what you really want will help you narrow down your options and find homes faster.
Some properties will be unlisted in order to protect the seller’s privacy, and this is where an agent with a good network of personal and professional connections becomes useful because they will be able to directly recommend those properties and can give you access through private viewings and not the more common open houses.
When you’ve chosen some properties that interest you, your real estate agent will make appointments so you can visit them. Drive around the neighborhoods so you can familiarize yourself with the location of schools, shopping areas, and main roads. Don’t rely entirely on photos and check out the properties in person in order to help you decide.
Making an Offer
When you’ve picked out the home you want, your agent will help you make an offer that the seller will consider. Be prepared for things like counteroffers or even rejections, and remember that negotiations are part of the buying process. Your real estate agent will handle this crucial part of the transaction, drafting agreements and doing the required paperwork for the buyer and seller. Having a good agent on your side will ensure that they can watch out for your best interests.
Time to Move In
When everything has been processed, signed, and filed, and if everything is to your satisfaction, then you and the seller will have reached the end of the escrow process. The funds get turned over to them, the seller turns over the keys to you, and you’re ready to move in.
Congratulations on buying your new home!