I hope through my website and my help, buying your first home will be very stress free!
Here is roughly how the whole process works:

Step 1)  Evaluate why you want to buy a home.  Homes can be a huge investment!  Homes typically appreciate over time.   A home purchased for $200,000 ten years ago, can be well over $300,000 today. It’s important though to decide why and how long you plan on living at your home.  If you plan on only living there for a year, it could end up costing you when you sell your home.

Step 2) Evaluate what you can afford.  Everyone wants a really nice home, but is it really feasible right now.  The Deseret News just came out with an article that predicted 1 in every 25 homes sold in 2008 will go in foreclosure.  One way to see what you can afford is to meet with a Lender.  I have many great lenders that will work hard and get you the best rate, please feel free to call or email me for lender information.  Another way to know right now what you can afford is by looking at a mortgage calculator.  On the home page , there is a mortgage calculator you can play around with.  *Remember this is just your mortgage payment, this doesn’t include home owners insurance, mortgage insurance, or taxes.

Step 3) Discuss what is important to you in a house.  Think about things such as what areas you want to live in, how many bedrooms you want, how many bathrooms, how many sq. feet, do you need a garage, how large of a lot do you want, do you need a master bathroom, etc.

Step 4) Once you have created your list of things that are important to you, find a realtor that will represent you and look out for your best interest.  There are many reasons you should have a realtor represent you when you buy a home a few of them include: 1) You don’t pay them anything.  When you buy a home all the commissions are paid by the seller.  In Salt Lake County there are over 7,500 homes listed for sale, each of those sellers have already agreed to pay the commissions. There typically is a small transaction fee that almost all real estate companies charge, but it is usually no more than $200.  2) Full-time Realtors know the market.  They should be able to distinguish a good deal from a bad deal, they should have some idea of market trends.  3) Realtors know all the legal paperwork involved in a real estate transaction.  There are obviously many legal documents that if you do not understand could cost you your earnest money, could cost you late fees, or could cost you not getting your dream home.

Step 5) Have your realtor go to work for you and look and research homes that fit your criteria. 

Step 6) Go look at homes that your realtor found for you, and make sure he found homes that fit your criteria.

Step 7) Once you find a home that you will like, you will want to write an offer on that home.  Typically, it takes about 30 days to close a real estate transaction.  So if you wrote an offer today, you shouldn’t plan on moving probably for 30 more days.  There are some important dates to be aware of when writing an offer: 1) Inspection deadline: when you find a home that you like, I recommend hiring a inspector.  It may cost you $300, but a good inspector will be able to find everything that is wrong with the home.  Typically the inspection deadline is 10 days after you purchase the home.  2) Loan/Appraisal Deadlines: Before, you even look at homes, you should know if you have been “pre-approved” for a loan (see step 2).  On the pre-approval visit a lender will ask you basic questions to see if you can really afford buying a home at this time, he should give you a pre-approval letter at that time.  Once you find a home you like you have typically 2-3 weeks for your “loan denial” deadline.  This basically means that you and your lender have 2 weeks to solidify your loan and make sure for certain that you really can afford this home.  3) Settlement deadline: this is your closing date.  Many people think that once they close, they can get the keys and move in, this is not the case!  It typically takes 24-48 hours to “fund” and “record.”  Only when it has funded and recorded can you get keys and move into your home.  I recommend having your settlement deadline on a Tuesday or Wednesday so that you can move in that weekend.

Step 8) Once the offer has been submitted it may be countered and go back and forth.  Once both parties have agreed on a price and closing dates, I would recommend calling an inspector and making sure your lender has everything they need to get you approved.  Typically they will need things such as W2’s, pay stubs, verification of employment, etc.

Step 9) Go to your inspection.  At the very least, go the last 30 minutes and have the inspector tell you everything that is wrong.  Obviously every home will have many things that are “not up to code.”  Most of those things are probably not a big deal, but if there are some things that are important to you and your family.  Tell your Realtor and have them submit a list of items that you request to be fixed.  Chances are they may fix certain things and they may not fix other things.  If they decide to not fix something that is important to your family, you can get out of the contract and receive your earnest money back.  I would make sure the inspector comes at least 1 or 2 days before your inspection deadline that way your realtor will have a day or two to write up a letter of items needed to be fixed.

Step 10) Continue to check w/ your lender and make sure everything is going well with the loan.

Step 11) Come to closing.  Most title companies are open 9-5   When you purchase your home, there are many forms to sign.  You can plan on being at the title company between 45 minutes and 1hour.

Step 12) Call and switch all the utilities into your name.  If the house is vacant and the utilities have been turned off, you may want to call before closing.  You probably don’t want to take cold showers your first couple days in your new home.

Step 13) Welcome Home!!!  Move on in!

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