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The Steps To Homeownership

What an exciting time–you’re ready to purchase your very own home! How do you get started? Just like any journey, it’s one step at a time. Below is a series of steps you can follow. For the most part, these have to be done in the exact order listed below, for you to have the greatest success! Adept Real Estate’s experience helping home buyers will ensure your journey is smooth and rewarding. Welcome to home ownership!

  1. Talk with a loan officer and become fully pre-approved! While you may think it’s natural to get a home loan through your corporate bank or local credit union, these institutions typically move slowly, and you can become “just another number.” Usually, a better option is to talk with an experienced loan officer at a local lending company, such as Evergreen Home Loans or Fairway Mortgage. Always talk with more than one company, to compare rates, fees, and levels of customer service. Yes, we have recommendations here at Adept, just ask!

  2. Talk with a real estate agent! Broker, Realtor, agent, what’s the difference? In Washington state, all agents are brokers. Realtors subscribe to a higher code of ethics than is required by law (everyone at Adept is a Realtor). Just like attorneys and doctors, not all agents are the same! Integrity, kindness, intelligence, and experience are everything! Look for an agent with these qualities, who you feel good about working with.

  3. Shop for a home. In a fast market, you also need an agent who’s responsive! One who can immediately show you the home that just came on the market. One who knows “what makes a home the right one.”

  4. Make an offer! There are certain elements of a great offer that give you the best negotiating position. Rest assured you are in great hands with us, Shannan’s helped hundreds of buyers write offers that were accepted by the sellers.

  5. Deposit your earnest money at escrow.

  6. Make loan application, then review loan disclosures provided by the loan officer you’ve chosen. Ask questions!

  7. Lock your interest rate. Listen to your loan officer’s advice — they may suggest you wait a few days before locking your rate, or they may advise you to get it locked in right away.

  8. Home inspection. You may have waived the opportunity to get a home inspection or the ability to negotiate once the inspection has been completed–this is becoming more and more common. However, if your offer was accepted with a home inspection contingency, this is the time to get the inspection done and resolve any property concerns with the seller.

  9. Complete your escrow intake information sheet, and return it to escrow right away.

  10. Submit additional requested documents to your loan officer ASAP. Your timeliness in this matter is extremely important, when it comes to “closing on time.” Keep in mind that if you can’t close on time, the seller doesn’t have to extend the closing date, and you might not be able to purchase the home!!

  11. Receive/review your appraisal. Your loan officer ordered it and you paid for it. If the appraised value comes in lower than the sales price you agreed on with the seller, your agent will go to work for you. Sometimes this means negotiating with the seller all over again. Sometimes this means challenging the appraiser’s work. Sometimes it means both!

  12. Make sure you have your funds ready to wire to escrow, for closing. Yes – most buyers have to bring in funds, to cover their down payment and closing costs. Usually, funds are wired – although other options are available.

  13. Sign your Closing Disclosure (CD) IMMEDIATELY. Keep in mind – signing the CD only says you’ve received it. You have 3 days to review it and ask questions before you are legally allowed to sign purchase paperwork. Said differently, you have to let three days go by from the time you sign the CD, before you can sign purchase paperwork!

  14. Set up a signing appointment with escrow. Keep in mind, escrow typically waits for required documents from your loan officer to arrive, before they schedule your signing appointment. This is to save everyone’s time and energy — because until they have those documents, they have nothing to prepare, you’ll have nothing to sign, and having to reschedule is lousy for everyone. Often, your loan officer is waiting on the document department, who may be waiting on the underwriter — again, this is where “choosing a great loan officer” really shows its importance. Rather unfortunately, it’s common for escrow to receive loan documents so late, that you’ll have to sign “that day” or “the next day,” in order to close on time. This not your escrow team’s fault! Be sure to communicate with escrow about your schedule ahead of time, if you have little flexibility.

  15. Wait for the notification that your deed has recorded at the courthouse! Usually this happens the day AFTER you sign papers at escrow. Sometimes escrow will call you with the news. Sometimes your agent will call. Sometimes you’ll receive an email first – but once the deed to the property has been recorded with your name, the home is officially YOURS!

  16. Get your keys! Or entry code. 🙂 Usually your agent is eager to meet you at your new home with the keys! Or perhaps you’ll be arriving back in town at midnight, so your agent will give you a code to a keybox. Once in a while, the listing agent hides the key under a rock or a planter pot! But one way or another, you’ll have access to your Very Own Home. CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’RE A HOME OWNER!

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