You’ve found your perfect home and made an offer. You are anxious to make it yours. The last thing you want is avoidable obstacles. The real estate purchasing process can be quite complex with many stakeholders to deal with lenders, title companies, inspectors, etc.
If you have a great, organized, proactive real estate agent, much of the burden will be taken on by them to ensure a smooth process. However, there are some common key areas that you can be aware of to help minimize any unnecessary slowdowns or hurdles in the closing process.
You will find that many seasoned realtors will be expecting you to have been pre-approved for a loan or at least pre-qualified. The reason for this is that you want to make sure that you understand, upfront, what your buying budget is. This includes understanding what your current credit rating is.
Making contact early can also help prepare you for the documents and information you will need to provide as a part of the financing approval process. Having all of this out of the way helps you focus on finding the right house (one you can afford) and being prepared with a strong offer supported by a pre-approval letter from the lender.
The last area related to financing is making sure that once you have decided to search for a home, you minimize any big financial swings (purchasing a new car, closing out credit cards, etc.). Those are all things that can raise a flag during the mortgage approval process and require more documentation, explanation and sometimes time.
This is another area that a great agent can help with. Before deciding to make an offer on a property, the agent should help you with some high-level analysis to make sure the home is worth what you are paying for it to avoid late-game appraisal short falls. NOTE: there are occasions when a home doesn’t appraise at what you are purchasing it for and it may still make sense to move forward and make up the short fall with more cash. The other thing to consider for the area of appraisal is to bake enough time into your close days to ensure there is time to get it completed.
First and foremost, it helps to understand that sellers are not obligated to fix everything you wish to have taken care of. Take the time to understand how this works for the state/county you are purchasing in. A home inspection is in place to protect the future homeowners to make them aware of any significant issue and ensure that the major components of the home are in working order. In Florida, for example, the seller is not obligated to address cosmetic issues. Establishing expectations on both sides of the deal helps ensure that the train doesn’t come off the track at the final stretch.
I have said this many times throughout this blog but it can’t be overstated, selecting the right realtor is key to a smooth closing. Someone who is knowledgeable and diligent. Someone who is a good communicator and organized. Someone who is proactive and solution focused. Someone who stays focused on your needs!