Buying a home: an overview

Purchasing a home should be an exciting experience.  Here is a brief overview of some of the common components.

For the buyer, the journey begins with the decision to buy, and a determination of what is affordable.  A quick consultation with your bank or lender can get you focused on the right price range, so that your search is efficient as possible.

The next step entails some reflection on what is important to you.  One factor is the type of structure — single family, townhouse, small condominium, and high-rise buildings all have different benefits and limitations.  Other considerations may include the age of the building, location, schools, transportation, view, parking, property size and features, and anything else you want to prioritize.  Your real estate broker should be able to help identify properties that are suitable candidates.

When you are ready to make an offer on a property, determine your strategy and the upper limit you are willing to pay, and prepare your first offer accordingly.

Once the seller accepts your offer, several important clocks start to run.  The shortest of them is for the inspection and attorney review periods.  The inspection period allows you to schedule a walk-through with a licensed home inspector to identify any defects with the property.  Your broker should be able to refer you to a home inspector.  Also, the seller is required to provide various disclosures about the condition of the property to you.  If you have any questions, or any significant defects are disclosed, you may want to review them with your inspector.  Attorney review allows for certain changes to the contract where appropriate.  Both of these periods usually last only a couple days, so it is very important that you are ready to act quickly and keep your attorney informed.

Unless you are paying cash, you also will need to apply for a mortgage by selecting a bank or lender, filling out an application, and providing various records in support.   Decide how you will hold title to the real estate so that you can apply for the loan accordingly.  If you have questions about different ways to hold title, ask your attorney.

If there is a homeowner association, such as with a condominium or townhouse, the seller will be required to provide certain documents, such as the Declaration and Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, budgets, and certain disclosures from the association.  You will have a certain period of time – again, usually just a few days — to review these documents and decide whether the property is appropriate for you.

Once you get through these items, contact your insurance agent to obtain an appropriate policy.  Many lenders require proof of insurance as a lending condition.

Finally, you should stay in touch with your lender throughout the process to make sure that they have everything they need from you.  Once the lender approves the loan, the closing can be scheduled, and you will be well on your way to a new home.

We are available for our clients throughout the process to review the contract, resolve any defects disclosed during the inspection, help you with any questions in your evaluation of any homeowner’s association, review the documents produced by the seller, and help you through closing.  In short, we are here to make it as enjoyable a journey as possible.