Step 1 - GET YOUR FINANCES STRAIGHT
Check your credit score and report and make sure it's accurate. Talk to a lender to find out what costs will look like. Get a pre-approval so that you are ready to go if you happen to find "the one" Due to low inventory, it is very common for good homes to disappear before you will have time to do this if you don't do it in advance.
Step 2 - REFINE YOUR WANTS VS NEEDS
Make a list of 3 things. Things you must have, things you would like and things that you will not live with. This will help you to best qualify which homes meet your needs and which ones might give you a case of buyers remorse.
Step 3 - GET A SEARCH SETUP
Contact our team and let us know what you are looking for. It is usually best to be fairly broad when setting up a search online. This is because it is common for listings to be missing some details. Usually you want to set up your search by area, bedrooms, price range and acreage requirements. We can set up a search that comes right from the MLS and doesn't show you homes that are already sold (like some of the big real estate sites)
Step 4 - TAKE A LOOK IN PERSON
Tell us which homes you want to see in person. It's best to drive by some and make sure the neighborhood is good for you first if you aren't familiar. Usually if something looks like it's too good to be true, it is. We will take you to the homes that you want to see and can arrange to show you multiple homes on the same day. Have 3 you want to see? Go see them on the same night so you can compare. We can handle the logistics for you, all you need to do is give us the addresses. If something new hits the market that you think would be perfect let us know and we'll get you in before it's gone!
Step 5 - WRITE AN OFFER
Now you're pre-approved and you have found the home you want, it's time to make an offer. We will discuss a lot at this time, pricing, contingencies, close date, warranties, title companies and more. We can guide you through all of this. It's important to remember at this phase that there are contingencies. What this means is that if certain things come up at inspection or during appraisal that we weren't aware of prior to writing the offer you can choose to renegotiate or even exit the deal. You will usually commit to making an earnest money deposit (money held by the brokerage or title company) to indicate good faith. Typically this varies from 1,000 on up.
Step 6 - NEGOTIATE OFFER
At this point you usually will have some back and forth on price, close dates and inspections. You won't always win at this stage as there are sometimes others negotiating with the same seller. Sometimes your search ends here and starts over at step 4.
Step 7 - INSPECTIONS
Assuming you got your offer accepted you will usually have between 5-7 days to complete your inspections that you specified in your offer. Most people start with a general home inspection but people frequently add on Radon, mold or pest inspections as well. This is usually specified when negotiating the offer. The inspector that you hire will give you a written report, similar to this: https://www.spectora.com/home-inspectors/north-ohio-property-inspection/sample_report that will identify issues in the home. It is important to understand that home inspectors have a specific list of items that they are looking for. After the inspections, we will review the report and see if there are any important items that you wish to renegotiate on, ask for repairs to or in extreme cases if you want to exit the deal and look for another report.
Step 8 - APPRAISAL
At this stage the bank will send out a neutral third party to assess the value of the home. It is important to understand that appraisers are simply trying to determine that the property is worth enough to loan you the money. Don't get too hung up on the amount that they place on it. A home is worth what the market will pay.
Step 9 - CLOSING
You've made it! Now its time to sign the papers, get the keys and move in!