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From Search to Settlement


couple looking at homes on laptopLet’s talk home purchases. Whether you’re new to the field, upsizing or downsizing, there are several things you should know about purchasing a home.

The first step in the buying process is to obtain a pre-approval letter from your financial institution or mortgage company. This service should be provided free of charge and will allow you to set a limit on the price of your home. In order to qualify for a mortgage, your credit score should ideally be between 640 and 680.

Next, contact your Realtor to start your search. If you’re not presently working with an agent, I’d be more than happy to assist you. When contacting your Realtor, you should have an idea of where you want to live (i.e, a particular school district, close to work or major highways, amenities offered in a township or borough, etc.). Also consider the style of home you’d like, the number of bedrooms, baths, and anything else that may be of particular interest to you such as an exposed basement, garage, or deck.

Your Realtor will compile a list of homes for you to consider. These are often forwarded by email. Other times, your agent may meet with you in person to review the listings he or she has found based upon your criteria. When you’ve reviewed the properties, your Realtor will arrange for you to visit those that interest you. Try to limit these to five or six maximum at any one time. More than that, and you’ll likely confuse them, having difficulty remembering the first from the last. Narrow your selections to two or three choices and have your Realtor arrange for you to return for a second look.

Once you’ve decided on the home you’re interested in, your Realtor will pull ‘comps’ of similar properties that have recently sold in the neighborhood. Comps will reveal how long a home has been on the market, any price reductions that occurred during that time, and other information that may be relevant in helping you make an initial offer.

Once you have an agreed upon price and terms, contact your mortgage company (ies) for a good faith estimate (GFE). This document will display the actual loan amount along with any charges to give the true APR. You should also schedule your home inspections of the property, as you only have ten days from the date of agreement to accomplish this and determine if repairs are needed prior to settlement.

Make application to the financial institution of your choice. Your Realtor will then turn the file over to a settlement coordinator who arranges title search, title insurance, mortgage payoffs, deposits escrow checks, and prepares the documents necessary for settlement. Your financial institution will order an appraisal and prepare a binder for the mortgage.

The entire process generally takes five to six weeks minimum before settlement can occur. You will need to contact the necessary utility companies to have services placed in your name. At settlement you'll be given the keys for your new home and any other pertinent items.

Congratulations! It’s time to move in and make your house a home!

Jack Kilkenny

Jack Kilkenny
Brownstone Real Estate Co.
HersheyHouseHunt.com
PostOpHomes.com
[email protected]