If you’ve made it this far, then you’re almost there. Here are your final baby steps in the process of becoming a homeowner:
Negotiate. This is where having the assistance of a good agent can really make a difference. Your agent will have a feel for what comparable homes are going for in the area. Using this information he or she will suggest an initial offer amount. If you’re lucky, the seller will accept the offer and that’s that. More likely, however, your offer will be met with a counter-offer. This back-and-forth process of negotiation can last anywhere from a day or so to several days, even weeks. Negotiating a purchase contract is as much art as it is science. Once a purchase agreement has been reached it’s time to take your next baby step.
Home Inspection. Most purchase agreements contain a clause, stipulating that the agreement is subject to a satisfactory home inspection. Also, most lenders will demand a home inspection as a condition of making the mortgage loan. Besides, getting a home inspection is for your own protection. A home might look fine to the naked eye. But a closer look could reveal unobvious problems such as a termite infestation, cracked foundation, mold growth, leaking roof, water damage, unacceptable electrical wiring, plumbing issues, etc. Considering the magnitude of the financial commitment you’ll be making it is essential that any issues be known before proceeding with the transaction. If a problem is found, the seller will have a chance to make it right by having the problem fixed, or adjusting the purchase price accordingly. The lender may require that any problem be rectified prior to closing the loan. If the home inspection looks fine, then it’s time to take you final baby step.
Closing. By the time you reach this stage of the process an awful lot of things have had had to go right. But go right they did and now the appointed day has arrived. If you can afford to have an attorney present at the transaction then it is advisable to do so. An attorney will have able to express in layman’s terminology, which certain legal-speak really means. This is especially important when it comes to the mortgage loan documents. If you can’t afford an attorney, or feel comfortable with using the closing agent, then it’s time to put your writing hand through some stretching exercises because you are about to sign the biggest stack of papers you’ve ever seen in your life. The closing agent will explain the meaning of each document and ask you to sign. Among these documents are the final purchase agreement, HUD-1 settlement statement and various mortgage loan documents. Once you’ve signed everything that can be signed it’s time to baby-step your way right into your new home ‘cause you have now gone from being a renter to being a homeowner, one baby step at a time!
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