The Home Buying Process
I prefer to meet with you in person to define your real estate needs and create a picture in all our minds of your dream home. To begin the home buying process, I will enter your criteria into the computerized multiple listing service to find all the available Philadelphia properties that fit. We may identify a few homes for sale to look at right away. All the matches will be emailed to you for your review at your leisure. As I receive daily updates of new property listings that meet your criteria I will send them along to you and call you about anything that looks like a good match so we can schedule a showing right away.
At that meeting we will discuss your mortgage pre-approval. This is an important step because many sellers prefer to have only pre-approved buyers viewing their home. I can connect you with a lender, though you are free to choose, I do have preferred lenders with whom I have worked successfully for many years. Your pre-approval will be held in your file so that when we find a home that meets your needs we are prepared to make an offer.
A sample closing cost estimate will be done based on the cost of the home you wish to purchase. I will explain all expenses included in purchasing a home. This will give you a clear understanding of each service involved and what you can expect to pay for it.
We will match our calendars and schedule our first showing. Plan to see from one to six or seven houses on each tour which may last as long as two and a half hours. During the house tour, I will point out each house’s benefits and concerns. If you are very interested in a particular house, we will go into more detail and examine systems more closely. If there is an issue that requires special expertise, I will recommend the appropriate expert to consult.
MAKING AN OFFER
Once we have identified the house you want, I will help you write up the offer, explaining all of the choices in a contract, and tailor the offer to suit your needs as it relates to that particular property. Remember that as we write up an offer, your first earnest money deposit is required. This check accompanies the offer and will be deposited into an escrow account if the offer is accepted. This process is done in the office and can take some time. It is important that you understand every aspect of the contract before all the papers are signed. You will receive a copy of all your documents.
NEGOTIATING THE CONTRACT
I will negotiate the contract with the seller’s agent and ensure that your interests are promoted strongly. I will advise you about your options in that negotiation, always allowing you to make the final decisions.
POST CONTRACT ACTIONS
Once your offer is accepted, we begin a very busy time. In the first couple of days you will need to line up our Home Inspection, begin getting quotes for Homeowners Insurance and make your formal Mortgage Application.
I will keep you posted on all of the upcoming activities and deadlines. I will provide a list of home inspectors and other professionals that you may need to evaluate the integrity of this property. You and I will accompany any professionals on their inspections of the property, whenever possible. Remember that the home inspection is a very informative period of two to four hours where you will learn all of the operating and maintenance details of your future home.
As a result of the home inspection, there may be additional issues and actions to negotiate. We may need to call in additional specialist for advice and estimates. I can provide these contacts as well as pay close attention to timing issues so that your interests are always protected. I will advise you on your rights and options as we finalize these negotiations.
I will encourage you to make your formal application to the loan officer who issued your pre-approval. The loan officer may need further financial documentation from you. An appraisal will be ordered by the mortgage company and there is a fee for the appraisal, income verification and credit report. The Closing Cost Estimate that you will have received itemizes what you can expect in origination fees from the mortgage company.
I encourage you to contact your present insurance provider for a quote on your homeowners insurance. Elfant Wissahickon can also provide you with a quote from an insurance company with whom we frequently work. I can provide you with additional insurance company contacts. Your decision about your homeowner’s insurance will need be finalized before the mortgage company will commit funds for your loan.
ESCROW PERIOD / TRANSACTION MANAGEMENT
Once that busy post contract time is underway, there are many behind the scenes activities that will be taking place. Although you as a buyer may not have actions you need to take, The Elfant Wissahickon team and I will be monitoring the progress. These activities include title reports, mortgage documentation, and municipality use and occupancy documentation. If there are citations from the municipality, the seller must take action in order to obtain the proper certificates. We at Elfant Wissahickon Realtors will make sure that all your paperwork is in order and required actions are completed in a timely manor.
THE WEEK OF SETTLEMENT
During the week prior to settlement I will prepare a final Closing Cost Estimate so that you know exactly what funds you will need to provide in the form of a certified check to the Title Company at settlement. I will advise you to have the utilities changed over into your name as of the settlement date.
THE DAY OF SETTLEMENT
This is a very exciting day and we will do a pre-settlement walk through to be sure that everything we agreed that would remain in the house is there, that all agreed-upon repairs are made, and all of the personal property of the seller is gone. We will also check to be sure that all of the systems are operational and that the house is in good shape. I will accompany you to settlement to coordinate with the closer (the title clerk), the loan officer, the seller’s agent and the seller. I will explain all of the documents that you will be signing and I will facilitate a smooth transaction. At that time you will receive the keys to your new dream home.