Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing a Home

Congratulations on your endeavor to purchase a home! This is a very important step in life that some never make. For many, this is the largest purchase of their life and one of the lengthiest. Purchasing a home can take weeks, months, or even years. Below is a quick and easy guide to help navigate the home buying process.

Preparing to Shop
1. Educate yourself
2. Speak to a Loan Officer
3. Select a Realtor
4. Begin your Search

Make an Offer
1. Research Comparable Homes
2. Find Out Seller Situation
3. Submit your Offer
4. Negotiate

Escrow
1. Deposits
2. Inspections
3. Document Review
4. Lender Updates

Closing
1. Pre-close Preparations
2. Signing & Final Walk Through
3. Home Exemption
4. Re-Key or Change Locks

(detailed summary below…)


Preparing to Shop

If you are thinking about purchasing a home, do your research and educate yourself. You are likely to have questions and lots of them. Seek help from a loan officer and a realtor early on. They can clear up any topics and be an excellent referral source for related services. Speaking with a loan officer in advance can help in determining your purchase power and possibly help you to increase it. A realtor can guide you through the entire process, and also save you time, money, and frustration. It is important to work with people who you like and trust. Once you’re ready, begin your search online, then visit properties and neighborhoods with your realtor.

Make an Offer

When you finally find the right home you’ll have to submit an offer to the seller, but first you’ll have do so some research. Work with your realtor to find out how long the property has been on the market and why the owner is selling. Look at comparable properties in the neighborhood that are currently available and properties that have recently sold. This will help in determining a reasonable offer price, but you must also consider if you are competing with other offers. If you submit an offer and receive a counter-offer, consider yourself fortunate.  The line is now open for you to start negotiating, but keep in mind: The more buyers interested, the less bargaining power you have. The less interest and the longer the property is on the market, the more bargaining power you will have.

Escrow

Once you and the seller reach an agreement you will open escrow and submit your initial earnest deposit to the escrow company. At this point you will have more time to thoroughly inspect the home. A professional home inspection is highly recommended to help you look for current and potential issues and you can use the inspection report to further negotiate for seller repairs or credits.  You will also have a chance to review documents such as the title report, seller’s disclosure statement, and the association documents if available and either approve of these documents or backout from the agreement*. Throughout this process you will also be required to provide the lender with updated documents as requested for them to approve your loan.

Closing

In preparation for your new home there are some items you may want to take care of prior to closing – schedule or setup utilities, cable, internet, or other services, change your address. You will also have one last opportunity to inspect your soon to be new home. If everything looks good, proceed with closing.  At closing or signing, you will review and sign the deed, final loan documents, and submit the remainder of your down payment.  After signing, you will need to wait a few more days for the keys.  It will take a couple days for the loan to fund, and couple more days before the deed is recorded at the Bureau of Conveyances. On the day of recordation you will officially be the new owner and can then get the keys. 

Congratulations!

If this property will be your primary residence, you are now eligible to file for a home exemption to lower your property tax.

To request a comprehensive BUYER’S GUIDE – Contact Jeff at jeffc@betterhawaii.com or (808) 372-2282.

 

*It is typical of a standard agreement to allow the buyer a specified time to approve of certain documents or back out of the agreement if the buyer does not approve.  With that being said, nearly everything in the agreement is negotiable, so terms can differ from one transaction to another. It is best to consult with your realtor regarding the details of your agreement prior to submitting the offer.