While it is an achievement to just qualify to buy a home, that’s really only the first step. Here are some tips to bring buyers success through the entire home-buying process:
1. Understand your loan type and pre-qualification. Ask your lender to explain your qualification in detail. Know how much money your loan will require you to have at closing for both the down payment and closing costs. Having this information will strengthen your confidence and negotiating position.
2. Many buyers need to sell their home in order to buy another, but realize what you’re asking from the sellers with a contingent contract. The sellers not only need to trust that you’ll be able to get to closing and buy their house, but also that your buyers will also get to closing without bumps in the road. When everything comes together, it’s a domino of success; but if one issue pops up, it can affect multiple deals. Sellers see less risk if there are fewer contingencies in the offer.
3. Be realistic at your home inspection. Unless your soon-to-be home is a new build, the home you’re purchasing has been lived in and hopefully well-maintained by the current owners. Focus on repairs that are considered safety or structural issues. Cosmetic issues are less likely to be remedied by the sellers. Most importantly, know that the home was put on the market in it’s current state and hopefully priced accordingly.
4. If you’re currently renting, be in control of your timeline. Allow for enough time to find a home, plus the amount of time it will take from signing a contract to getting to settlement. Typically, the settlement happens about 30-60 days after the sellers accept your offer. Plan ahead so you aren’t desperate and stressed due to a tight time frame.
5. Consider attaching a written note with your offer on a home. While many sellers treat the sale of their home as a financial transaction, there is often an emotional element involved. If you think it would help to tell them about how much you love their home and how much you hope to call it your home one day, you very well may win out in a multiple offer situation.