Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.
Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.
Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.
Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.
Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.
Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.
In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.
Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.
Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.
No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.
After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.
Sally has been a phenomenal REALTOR for us. She sold our house the FIRST day it was on the market! She gave us a very thorough market analysis and the price she suggested was above that of two other REALTORS, so the quick sale was not due to lowballing us. She saw what others saw as issues with our home as positives: ex. one bedroom on other end of house, she saw as teenager heaven, carport outside of fence, she saw as not having to look at the cars while you enjoy your yard! She has shown us many homes over the years and has been my two sister's REALTOR as well. The best is how much she is still helping them AFTER they have closed!— BUYER & SELLER
I called Sally with 4 houses I wanted to see, and she got me into see all 4 of them right when I wanted to see them. She got me back into see one of them when I wanted. She helped me negotiate the purchase of that house, was with me through a very long inspection of the house, and was just indispensable to me through the whole process. She made it un-stressful, and even pleasant! I would highly recommend Sally to anyone who is looking to buy or sell a house. (Even though I did not have a home to see here in Tennessee, I know several people who listed their house with Sally and were very happy with the results.).— CLDANDO
Sally is a very experienced and versatile REALTOR. She has encountered about every scenario possible and represents your interests to the end. She collaborates wonderfully on tough decisions. She has a "never give up" attitude. She doesn't take an assembly line attitude and is very creative. Sally will always be our REALTOR and we recommend her highly. For those who take this into consideration, Sally is also a community servant and spends countless hours helping others. She generously gives her time and money to worthy causes and makes her community a better place to live.— SCOTT D.
I would highly recommend Sally Isom as a REALTOR. Whether buying or selling she has all the tools to make it as seamless as possible. She responded immediately to any inquiries, and if she was going to be unavailable for any reason she always had people to reach out to in her absence. She came to the table very prepared and gave us educated precise information on comps and values for our home. Sally went above and beyond what is expected of a REALTOR and made our experience with selling our home a stress-free experience.— HAWGEWYLDE
Sally is an unbelievable REALTOR! She sold our home for more than we expected and helped us navigate all aspects of the selling process. We were so impressed with how she handled the sale of our home, we also requested her services for buying our dream home, which we were able to negotiate, with Sally's guidance, a great deal that was lower than the list price! I would highly recommend hiring Sally for any type of Realty deal you have!— ANDERSON G.
Absolutely, the best agent ever. And now a great friend. Sally was incredible at matching our wants/needs with available houses and thoroughly explained pros and cons for any potential buy. Selling our house, she knew exactly what people would look for (staging is key!) and sold our house in a tough market in a week at asking price. She will be our forever agent.— RUSS
No matter which market you're in, you can use the marketing programs and experience of a qualified Memphis, TN REALTOR like me to help sell your home quickly and at the right price. Learn more about my service, see information about recent home sales in Memphis, TN, or contact me to get started today!