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How to Close a Deal on a New Home: Insider Tips

March 15, 2013
Mortgages
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Even after you sign your contract, after it seems you’ve squared away everything with your new home, it’s possible for a deal to go sour. Take this Anaheim, CA family for example, whom realtor Beverly J. Powell worked with for several months.

They did everything they were supposed to do. With Powell’s help, they targeted a few real estate markets. Then they wrote several offers, one of which found an interested seller.

They even went into escrow, at which point Powell and the loan officer made one critical suggestion: do not make any major purchases until you have key in hand – the transaction isn’t over ‘til it’s over.

And yet he bought a new truck.

He booked a cruise vacation.

He opened a credit card with a $3,000 credit limit.

He racked up a $2,000 balance.

So, despite having signed the loan documents and deposited the closing funds into escrow, the lender forfeited the deal; the bank couldn’t fund the transaction any longer because this would-be buyer’s credit score tumbled with those big charges and the new line of credit.

He’d plum forgotten what Powell had told him.

Clearly, it’s best you follow your realtor’s advice. Err on the side of caution, and turn your ear to the expert. And so, without any further delay, we’ll let the expert speak for herself:

First Steps any Buyer Should Take Prior to Purchasing a Home

1.  Select a qualified Realtor to work with.  

Ask a friend, family member, pastor or co-worker for a recommendation. Do your homework in selecting your Realtor. Ask questions, view their company’s website and the Realtor’s site if he or she has one. Ask for references and look for their heart and integrity when conversing with them.

2.  Make a Commitment.

You only need one professional Realtor. Make a commitment to the Realtor you have selected by signing the Buyer/Agent Agreement.

3.  Secure Loan Approval.

Ask your Realtor of choice if they have lender recommendations or you may use your preferred lender. Make certain your lender can deliver in a professional and timely manner with the terms of your escrow instructions and the purchase agreement. Selecting the right lender is critical. Make certain your approval letter is clear and concise with the loan program, terms of loan, interest rate, purchase price, loan amount, down payment amount. Also have the lender provide you with expectations of what your total (PITI) monthly house payment will be including the HOA if there is one. Acquiring loan approval upfront will ensure that your offers are taken seriously by the seller and it can be one of the one major points that gets your offer accepted.

Lastly, acquiring loan approval helps you know what you can afford to purchase and where.

4.  Ask your lender and Realtor what are the miscellaneous expenses involved in purchasing a home (i.e., appraisal fee, inspection fees, lender fees and points and any additional out of pocket expenses). Also consider the financial responsibility of home ownership (i.e. repairs, light, gas, water and cable expenses, gardener, etc.).

5.  Review areas and cities of interest with your Realtor in which you would like to purchase. Determine your must haves in your potential home and let your Realtor know them.

6.  Determine if home ownership is for you after steps 1-5.

7.  In addition, check with the school board if you have questions about the educational system in the areas of interest.

8.  Listen to the professionals you have chosen to partner with you as no two transactions are alike. What happened to someone else does not determine your transactions outcome.

9.  Ask your questions. No matter how you feel about the question, ask it anyway and work through it with your Realtor.

10.  Be prepared for a competitive multiple offer market on individual properties

10.  Be patient and cooperate with your Realtor.

11.  Enjoy the process and let your Realtor do what only they can do – make it all worth your while!

Happy house hunting!