Updated: Jan 13, 2020
Now that you have found your Buyer Agent you want to work with, and you have talked to a lender and determined what price you are comfortable at as well as the type of loan you will be getting, the next step is to download this checklist to help guide you through the home buying process!
Buying a home, especially if you have never done it before, or it has been awhile since you bought a home, can sometimes feel like driving in the country for the first time - you are not quite sure where the next turn is coming up and, if you miss it, it may take awhile to find another place to turn around in! So my Homebuyers Checklist will help take some of the uncertainty out of the home buying process!
SET UP YOUR HOME BUYER CONSULTATION WITH YOUR BUYER AGENT
Once you have decided on who you want to use as your Buyer Agent, the next step is to set up a Buyer Consultation Here, your agent will answer any questions you may have and will get you set up with a link into MLS so that you can see what homes are on the market that match your criteria, give you recommendations for lenders (if you haven't already found a lender), and give you a copy of the paperwork you will be signing when you find the house!
PREPARE YOUR NEEDS/WANTS LIST
Every home buyer will have certain things that they absolutely must have in their new home - these are your NEEDS! Some things that are needs - school districts, # of bedrooms, # of baths, distance to work, maximum price point or monthly payment, lot size, etc! Then there are things that would be nice to have but not absolutely necessary for your home to have - these are your WANTS!
SIGN THE BUYER AGENCY AGREEMENT
In Virginia, all buyers must sign a Buyer Agency Agreement. The law says that a buyer agency agreement should be signed whenever there is a substantive discussion. I have found that when I am showing homes to my buyers, we may look at a home and buyers will want to know what I think of the house, including what I think of the pricing. This will constitute a substantive discussion. Therefore, if you want to have your Buyer Agent be open with you when you are looking at homes, you should have a Buyer Agency Agreement signed with your agent.
LOOK AT HOUSES THAT MEET YOUR CRITERIA
Your Buyer Agent probably set up a link into MLS for homes that meet your criteria. You will be notified whenever a new listing comes on the market. When you see something that looks good on paper, you will want to get out and take a look at the house! Remember to always look at homes in person - it is never a good idea to buy a home sight unseen! In this market, if a house looks good on paper, you should see it immediately - in many neighborhoods the house could be gone the next day!
ONCE YOU HAVE FOUND A HOME, CHECK IF PRICING IS GOOD ON THE HOME
Once you have found THE home, you want to make sure that it is priced well! Your Buyer Agent should be able to run some numbers for you so you can see how the home is priced for the neighborhood and the condition! Your Buyer Agent can run a Market Analysis for you on the house!
PREPARE YOUR OFFER
Once you have found the house, the next step is to write up your offer! Sitting down with your Buyer Agent and going over the contract as well as how to structure your offer will help you put the strongest offer on the table. This is extremely important, especially if you are in multiple offers! You want to be comfortable with your offer and the paperwork you are signing!
YOUR OFFER IS ACCEPTED - NOW WHAT
Congratulations, your offer was accepted by the seller. The next steps will include making formal loan application & locking in your interest rate with the lender, scheduling your inspections, having the appraisal done on the house, delivering the earnest money deposit to your Buyer Agent.
FORMAL LOAN APPLICATION
Now that your offer has been accepted, you need to make formal loan application with the lender. This means that you will want to lock in your interest rate with your lender and to begin providing to the lender all paperwork that they request in a timely manner. Your lender will tell you exactly what you need to provide and you should provide that all in a timely manner to them! The lender will do all their due diligence including verification of employment, verification of bank and asset accounts, etc and when they have gathered all the information, it will be sent to an underwriter who will review the file and if approved, will issue a loan commitment letter, in which your lender is committing to loan you the money you need to buy the house at certain terms (interest rate and amortization period).
DECIDE ON AN ATTORNEY TO DO YOUR CLOSING
In Virginia, you are able to have either a title company or an attorney do your side of the closing. You will need to make that decision fairly quickly once your offer has been accepted. Once you have decided on the attorney/title company that will do your side of the closing, the contract will be sent to them and they will begin to do the title search on the home you are buying to make sure there are no liens on the property that shouldn't be there. The settlement agent you choose will also arrange for the survey if you are requesting one to be done and will review it to make sure that there are no encroachments on the property you are purchasing. They will also review the loan instructions from your lender, review the contract to make sure the settlement complies with the contract you have signed. They will also prepare the documents, explain these documents to you at closing and then record the deed and other needed documents at the courthouse, and then disburse funds once the deed has been recorded.
DO YOUR HOME INSPECTIONS
Virginia is a Buyer Beware state. What that means is that it is up to you to do any and all due diligence on the property you are buying. Therefore, in Virginia, inspections are more important than ever, even if you are purchasing the property in it's as is condition & seller is not going to do any repairs. What inspections should you do? There are many different type of home inspections that are done on a property, so here is a list of them: whole house, radon, fireplace, termite, well & septic, roof, HVAC! There may be other inspections that a buyer may choose to do - most times it is dependent on what is found during the whole house inspection! Once inspections are done, depending upon the findings and what the contract says, you may now have to negotiate the repairs on the house!
GO TO CLOSING
By this time, you have gotten loan commitment from the lender, you have done inspections and negotiated the inspection addendums and gotten agreement, your lender has done the appraisal and the house is worth what you are paying for it, and the attorney has gotten your title work and everything seems to be good. Now you will go to closing! Closing normally is about 30 minutes - you will sign the paperwork, take whatever funds you need to closing and receive the key! You are now the homeowner!
Buying a home is exciting, but the process can sometimes feel overwhelming! A good Buyer Agent can help guide you through the process!
Feel free to call me at 804-869-1191 if you have any questions.