Let’s start at the very beginning

I want to make sure you begin your home buying journey with confidence (so you can make smart real estate decisions)!

You have Zillow open on one device, your Instagram feed on the other. You scroll through and it seems like people are buying houses and becoming homeowners left and right. You know you want to buy a new house too but maybe you feel completely overwhelmed by the process and don’t even know where to start. Or maybe, you’re looking for an organized laid back house hunting system. The good news is that by requesting this e-course, you’ve already taken the first step

SCHEDULE A FUTURE HOMEOWNER CONSULTATION

The buyer consultation is your KEY to having a smooth home buying process! This is where we’ll schedule a time to meet in person, grab a latte dig into all the details! It’s your chance to ask any questions you have and get a complete overview of the entire process.  I have a “no strings attached” approach to my buyer consultations because I want to make sure we’re a good fit before anything becomes official. And guess what? It’s totally free to hire a buyer’s agent. So if we decide to embark on your journey to homeownership as a team, it won’t cost you a dime to have me working for you as your personal home buying advocate!

You’re already getting a head start on the buyer consultation details by going through these resources but that just means we’ll have more time to talk about fun things like your favorite decorating style and your thoughts on the latest episode of Stranger Things and the cryptic trailer for season 4!

SO WHAT DO WE TALK ABOUT AT THE CONSULTATION?

  • The Home Buying Journey – I’ll walk you through all the steps of the home buying process so you know exactly what to expect before you even start house hunting!
  • If you haven’t been pre-approved yet, we’ll talk about how to go about doing this and I’ll share recommendations for who you can contact to get started on the pre-approval process. 
  • Next, we go over the Buyer Questionnaire – This is when we’ll talk about your must-haves, deal-breakers and all the details of what you’re looking for in a new home. This is my chance to learn about you and your home buying goals!
  • Home Buying Q&A – This is your chance to ask me any questions you have about the home buying process! Want clarification on anything? Ask away!
  • Home Buyer Resources – I’ll share my helpful home buyer resources with you that you can take with you when you leave to reference later! 

 

DIVING INTO WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING PRE-APPROVED

I like to call this “getting serious” because without a pre-approval you are not ready to start house hunting or write an offer (gasp)! Don’t worry, we’re going to make sure you’re all set up to house hunt and write an offer when you’re ready and I promise getting pre-approved isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s actually going to help you start the home buying process with much more confidence because you’ll have answers to questions such as: which loan option is best, how much can you realistically afford, how much money do you need to put down and what will your monthly payments look like in different price ranges.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO GET PRE-APPROVED?

Getting pre-approved means you have submitted the required information and documentation to a lender who then runs your credit and verifies the documentation to approve you for a specific loan amount. You’ll then know what price range you can start home shopping in! They’ll need information such as proof of income, proof of assets, employment verification, your credit score and your social security number. 

WHY IS GETTING PRE-APPROVED SO IMPORTANT?

This is important because you’ll need a pre-approval letter in order to write an offer (a seller likely won’t negotiate with a buyer who hasn’t been pre-approved because of the risk that the buyer might not actually be able to afford the house).

It’s also important so that you know what your monthly expenses are going to be based on a specific loan amount.

Often times, buyers don’t want to spend the max amount that they’ve been pre-approved for because they may not want to make what that equates to as a payment every month (in addition to all of their other living expenses and bills). Maxing out your loan amount might mean sacrificing that annual family vacation to Hawaii or your entertainment budget that is important to you.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU START HOUSE HUNTING PRIOR TO GETTING PRE-APPROVED?

Because licensed real estate agents know the importance of getting pre-approved, it’s unlikely that they’ll start the house hunting process without a pre-approval letter from a buyer. In fact, I have a list of trusted lender partners that I team up with to help my buyers get pre-approved. We’re in this together, you don’t have to do it alone. That’s how I make the process less scary and intimidating for my clients. I’ll even go with you to meet the lender if you want!

You also want to run your credit, not only to determine your house hunting price range, but to make sure there aren’t any unknown issues in your credit that need to be addressed. If you haven’t had your credit run recently, you run the risk of finding something that you weren’t aware of that you’ll want to repair prior to getting a mortgage. Being proactive will help position you to get the best loan option and interest rate possible. Many lenders will actually work with home buyers and recommend how they can improve their credit score prior to getting a mortgage. This could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Lastly, can you imagine if you skipped this step only to fall in love with a house that you become emotionally attached to and then realize it’s out of your price range. Or even worse, you figure out that it is technically in your price range from a financing standpoint, but turns out to be way more than you’re comfortable spending monthly (and now you’re stuck buying it)!

Figuring this all out in advance will allow you to start your home search with confidence and set you up for success. You’ll also be able to take the time to find a lender you feel comfortable with and learn about all of your options ahead of time. Remember, the pre-approval process is about getting serious and positioning yourself to make smart real estate decisions (rather than wind up with buyer’s remorse or unwanted surprises along the way)! Once you’re officially pre-approved, the house hunting can begin!

PS: **I’m happy to send you my list of preferred lenders.

 

SETTING UP YOUR CUSTOM HOME SEARCH


Things are getting exciting! It’s officially time to start house hunting but how do you know what houses are even available? No more searching through countless real estate websites trying to figure out which homes are actually for sale and whether or not they have an accepted offer or not. It’s time to set up your custom home search! 

The first step in setting up your custom home search happens when we meet for our buyer consultation. This is when we’ll dig into all the fun stuff like the features you’d love to have in your house, your ideal location and your “must haves”! We’ll also talk about deal breakers and prioritize what’s most important to you in a new home so we can narrow down your house hunting criteria and remove any overwhelm!

FUN BUYER QUIZ


I’ll ask you questions like: “What’s your favourite room in your current home”, “What is a space you don’t have but would love to have?” and “How long do you see yourself living in the home you buy?” I want to learn as much as I can about the why behind the house you’re looking for so I can help guide you throughout the process and make sure you end up with a house you love! (Doesn’t the buyer consultation keep sounding more and more fun?!)

Next, I’ll create a custom home search based on all the criteria we discussed including specific details such as square footage requirements, the size of your yard and the location.

When I create the custom search, you’ll be set up to receive an email with a link to any new or existing listings that match that specific criteria. It can be set up to send to you automatically (which means you may get several emails in one day or it can send you one email a day with any new listings or updates).

Depending on the market and how broad or narrow your search criteria is, I can help recommend what is the best choice. Some buyers will even have me filter through listings first to eliminate any homes that don’t meet your needs outside of the parameters that are included as options when setting up the search. Again, this is all up to you!

The home search filters will help eliminate the major deal-breakers and include the major must-haves. For example, if your deal-breaker is a 1 car garage, I’ll set the filter to eliminate listings with 1 car garages so that you don’t have to be sidetracked by a gorgeous farmhouse style kitchen only to realize with disappointment that it only has 1 car garage and therefore not a contender! 

The custom home search will help keep you on track to find the right house for your lifestyle instead of feeling overwhelmed by sites like Zillow. 
 
Once your search is set up, you’ll be able to see which homes are currently on the market that match the criteria we selected. From here, you’ll look through and determine if any of these are worth touring.

When you find a house you want to see, here’s what you need to know:

  • Typically, if the house is owner occupied, we’ll need overnight notice to schedule a private showing. 
  • When we schedule the showing, we can block off an hour of time to see it. If we’re seeing multiple houses, we probably won’t spend an hour at each one but can also circle back for a second showing if one stood out that you want to see again. 
  • It’s important to be on time for showings and to look at the house even if we pull up and there’s something you didn’t notice from pictures that prevent you from wanting to see it. This is out of respect for the seller and also so that I can provide feedback to the listing agent as to why it wasn’t a good fit! 
  • We’ll want to keep our conversation about our thoughts on the home outside of the house. Whether we’re head over heels because of that gorgeous open concept floor plan or you can’t believe the condition the house is in, we don’t want to talk about this while we’re in the house. Many sellers have cameras these days and it’s important to A. Remain more neutral in case we end up writing an offer and B. Don’t need to discuss specifics that could offend a seller if they are listening. We can always swing by a coffee shop after our showings to talk about details if you are really interested in one of the homes we looked at.
  • Lastly, I always recommend keeping our house hunting max at 5 showings in one day. It can be super overwhelming to extend beyond 5 in one day and the houses will start to blend together. In order to stay on track with only looking at homes that fit your criteria and preventing feelings of overwhelm, I’ve learned it’s best to keep it at a max of 5 showings!

Now you’re probably wondering well, what’s next? What happens when you do find THE ONE! The house that you’re already mentally arranging your furniture in and dreaming up Pinterest boards for every room.

YOU FOUND THE ONE, WHAT’S NEXT?


You toured a home, it checked most of the boxes and you think you want to write an offer. But first, you might want to ask yourself a few questions to make sure you’re making the right decision! Here’s what I recommend to my buyers so they can make smart real estate decisions (no buyer’s remorse included)!

  • How long are you planning on living in the home? You’ll want to consider whether or not this home meets your needs not just now, but potentially 5-10 years down the road if that’s what you’re looking for. So do a double check on that!
  • Are you looking beyond the decor? Remember, things like paint colors, flooring, and even countertops can always be changed over time. Does the location, layout, and size of the home fit your needs? Always ask yourself these questions about the things you can’t change and decide if you’re happy with them.
  • Does the cost of the home reflect how much you want to spend monthly? It’s important to think beyond the big number of the total mortgage amount and break down how the monthly payment (along with taxes) will affect your budget.
 
After asking yourself these 3 questions, you can make a decision with confidence instead of with emotions. This is where we’re going to be entering the negotiating portion of the home buying process and it’s important to try as best as possible to not let your emotions get in the way (again, so you can make smart real estate decisions)!

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED TO DO NEXT:


It’s time to write an offer that we’re going to submit to the sellers. I won’t get into all of the offer details in today’s show but this is something I walk my buyer clients through at our buyer consultation so when this time does come, you know what to be thinking about!

We’re going to decide on things like the offer price, the earnest money amount, the closing date, what you want to include vs exclude as well as your financing terms and any other contingencies to include (such as the home inspection and appraisal).

Once we officially submit the offer is when the negotiating can begin. This is where sometimes buyers might feel nervous but not to worry, I am the one in charge of communicating with the listing agent and handling the negotiating. I will prepare you for who is responsible for which step when it comes to negotiating the various parts of the offer so you understand what’s happening and what your options are! You’ll always be kept in the loop but nothing will ever fall on your shoulders when it comes to figuring out what to do next!

If and when we come to an agreement with the sellers is when we will start moving through the various parts of the offer and making sure we meet our deadlines and satisfy any contingencies.

You’ll be in communication with both me and your lender during the rest of the process and I’ll be communicating with all parties to make sure we stay on track. You’ll get weekly updates from me on the next steps and things to prepare such as scheduling your home inspection, delivering your earnest money, and being aware of specific deadlines. When you’re working with a buyer’s agent who you like and trust, you’ll never be left in the dark with what’s happening and before you know it you’ll be at the closing table signing so many pieces of paper with champagne to celebrate!

As exciting as it is to find the one, this stage of the home buying process can potentially get a little stressful (fair warning)! But I promise you’ll get through it.

You’ve navigated the buyer consultation,  braved the pre-approval process, conquered home searches and house hunting, handled the nitty-gritty of negotiations and it’s finally time to talk homeownership!

Download and print the Reality House Hunting Guide

Before you get the keys, there are a few final steps to take care of:

  1. Within the week prior to closing, we’ll schedule a final walkthrough of the home. Typically we wait until the sellers are out if possible and aim to get in a few days before closing day. We want to make sure there aren’t any issues that need to be addressed prior to closing such as items that were left behind that shouldn’t be, items that should have been left but weren’t, repairs that weren’t completed, etc. We’ll be on the lookout for things like this at the final walkthrough to make sure everything is all set before you sign on the dotted line.
  2. You’ll receive a Closing Disclosure from your lender that details all final numbers for the home purchase. This will include prorations for things like taxes and HOA fees, any seller credits, your down payment amount, how much you need to bring to closing, etc.

FOR CLOSING DAY:

The day is finally here! You get the keys to your new house and officially become a homeowner! Here’s what you’ll need to bring to closing:

  1. You will need to bring your wire transfer receipt or a certified check made payable to the title company or closing company (you’ll be advised by your lender) for your amount due at closing (down payment, closing costs, etc)
  2. You will need a Photo ID (anyone who’s name is going on the title will need their Photo ID).

The settlement/closing goes pretty quickly (30-45ish minutes) and once you’re done signing all of the official paperwork (applicable loan documents, settlement statement), all funds are received and title recorded with the county (sometimes the next day), you’ll get the keys to your new home and officially become a HOMEOWNER!

The home is all yours! It’s time to pop open a bottle of champagne, take photos in front of the sold sign (because it’s YOUR TURN to have the closing day photo) and let the moving begin! Then it’s time to start making your Pinterest boards come to life, paint the walls any color you want while you eat pizza straight from the box and dance all night to your favorite Spotify playlist!

Now you have all the knowledge you need to start this process for real! Your next step (if you’re ready) is to schedule that home buyer consultation! You can use the contact form below, text, or call (435) 773-7552.

READY, SET, HOUSE HUNT!