STEP #1 - GETTING PRE-APPROVED TO PURCHASE!
Unless you are lucky enough to be able to pay cash, you will need to get a mortgage! If you do not have a lender already, please feel free to contact my preferred loan consultant, simply CLICK HERE!
STEP #2 - FINDING THE RIGHT AGENT TO WORK WITH!
You will need to make certain that you select an agent who is familiar with the area you are moving to as well as the home values in that area! Additionally, you want to make sure that your agent is available to meet with you at times most convenient for you (more than likely this means weekends and evenings). Once you select your agent you will need to develop a plan of action that meets and even exceed your needs!
STEP #3 - PREVIEWING PROPERTIES, SCHOOLS, & NEIGHBORHOOD INFORMATION ONLINE!
You should be able to ask your agent to email you home listings that fit your criteria so you can start to get comfortable with the prices of the homes in the different areas you are considering moving into (See My Listings Notifier). Additionally, your agent should be able to provide you with more specific information about the neighborhoods you are considering. Once you know about which schools are designated to the home or neighborhood you are considering you can use www.schooldigger.com to research specific statistics about your schools compared to others around the same area!
STEP #4 - GETTING COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENT!
Chances are if you have pretty good credit, the bank will probably be willing to give you more money than you may actually be comfortable with. I have a few different MORTGAGE CALCULATORS that can help you out with this right here on my site! Simply put in your interest rate, loan amount, loan term in years, approximate yearly Home Owners Insurance amount (if escrowing), and approximate yearly taxes (if escrowing), and it will get you close to the penny of what your actual payment will look like!
STEP #5 - TOURING DIFFERENT AREAS!
Make sure to let your agent know when you will be coming into town to start touring different areas that you are interested in! Touring different neighborhoods is an excellent idea to help you go out and actually see the different amenities that each of them have and how close the stores, malls, schools, parks, and more are to the homes and neighborhoods you are considering. Once you find a few areas that are of interest to you then your agent will be able to start setting up appointments in those neighborhoods to get you into the homes! If you plan on doing all of this in one weekend (this is often the case when I work with people who are moving from far away), I recommend taking the first day to tour and the second to start viewing the homes!
STEP #6 - VIEWING PROPERTIES AND PRESENTING AN OFFER!
Your agent will be able to set up the necessary appointments to get you into the homes that are of interest to you. Once you find a home that fits ALL of your needs, then it is time to start getting ready to prepare your offer. Before preparing your offer to purchase, your agent should complete a comprehensive statistical market analysis report for homes that have SOLD in that neighborhood within the last 6 months (the more recent, the better the comps). After reviewing the comps, then it is time to put your offer together and you will decide how much you want to offer, if you want a home or other inspections, the settlement date, and any other special terms that you would like to put in your offer! Your agent will need a copy of your PRE-APPROVAL Certificate as well as a deposit check (the check will not be cashed until the contract is completely executed and all required signatures and initials are in the appropriate places).
STEP #7 - IT'S TIME TO NEGOTIATE!
This is the step where your agent will definitely earn their money and if you selected a GREAT AGENT, who is skilled in the art of negotiating, this could be a relatively easy step for you! However, if you select an agent who is not skilled in the art of negotiating, you could be in for a very stressful experience. The most important thing to remember about negotiating is that you do NOT ever show your cards about your specific situation until you absolutely have to! Another important aspect is to make sure that you keep your EMOTIONS out of the negotiations. It is not always important to completely win the negotiation and usually turns out better in the end if both parties gain something from the negotiations. If not, settlement may not be that fun, because chances are you may see the other side at settlement and they may still be upset that you "took them to the cleaners."
STEP #8 - COMPLETING THE INSPECTIONS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS!
Generally speaking, most people ask to have the opportunity to have a home inspection completed on the property prior to going to settlement to make sure that there are no serious issues affecting the property that they may not otherwise know about! Most of us are not certified contractors, so I highly recommend that you get the inspection completed! Once the inspections are completed, more negotiating may take place in reference to repairs you may request after noticing that there may be more problems than you originally thought (Don't worry this is not uncommon). Usually there are also lots of other things that happen before settlement: Appraisals, Termite Inspections, other specific inspections, possible re-inspections, and more!
STEP #9 - PREPARING FOR THE MOVE!
There are several things that you will want and have to do prior to moving, especially since you are relocating. Chances are that you will be using movers to help you and you will need to contact them in advance to set up specific dates and times that you will be meeting with them. Also, you will need to contact the local utility company to ensure that they keep the power and/or gas turned on so you will have lights and television the same day you move in! Some people also may want to contact certain contractors and/or handymen to have new carpet installed, fresh paint on the walls, or even have the kitchen remodeled prior to moving in. Your agent should be able to provide you with contact information for any needs you may have (since they currently live in the area and chances are you may not know many people when first moving into your new area).
STEP #10 - SETTLEMENT DAY!
AHHH, It's finally here, the day you have been waiting for, but NOT YET! You still have to complete your final walk-thru of the property right before settlement to ensure that there are no surprises such as a leaky basement or a failed hot water heater. The final walk-thru is your last chance to check out the home to make sure everything that was supposed to be done is done and everything that was supposed to be out is out! Once you sign those papers, the house and everything in it is now YOURS! Once at settlement, you will need to make sure everyone who will be on the title has their driver's license readily available for the closing officer! AND DON'T FORGET YOUR CASHIERS CHECK! Then all that's left is signing the papers and getting your new keys to YOUR NEW HOME!