FIRST TIME HOME BUYER’S GUIDE TO BUYING A HOME

Shannon Holmes TUTORIAL Leave a Comment

Buying a home for the first time can be both exciting and a little daunting, so I have created a timeline of what to expect as I guide you through the process:

  • Hiring a Professional with experience as a buyer’s agent is essential. In much the same way that it would be unwise to go to court without representation, it is also inadvisable to purchase a home without having someone to look out for YOUR interests. After all, your new home is likely to be one of your biggest investments. For this reason, I will ask you to sign a buyer agency agreement when working for you. For more information on this, please refer to my post, WHAT IS A BUYER AGENCY AGREEMENT?” by clicking the link.
  • Before beginning a home search, it is best to have been pre-approved by a lender subject to selecting the property. Expect to bring copies of bank statements, tax returns, and recent pay stubs to this meeting. You will also need to have established a credit history.  The lender will be able to let you know the price range of the home you will be able to afford. When making an offer, a pre-approval letter will show the sellers that you are ready and willing to buy.  I am a Realtysouth Agent, and because RealtySouth is part of an umbrella of wonderful services, we have an onsite lender through Home Services Lending who will be happy to help you through this process.  It is therefore possible to stop by the office, sign a buyer’s agency agreement, get pre-approved, and start a serious home search almost immediately.
  • At your convenience, we will begin to look at possible home choices.  Rest assured that I will show you all homes that will meet your needs until you have made your selection.
  • I will then prepare a comprehensive market analysis, or CMA, in order to present a strong offer. This means that I will research what similar homes in the area have actually sold for in the last few months.
  • As your buyer’s agent, I will help you draft an offer that will cover all aspects of the transaction, the goal being to get you the home of your dreams. At this time, you will be expected to write a check for “earnest money” for about 1% of the purchase price of the home.  Depending on the circumstances, it could be less, and may be part of the negotiations. This “earnest money” lets the sellers know that you are serious about purchasing their home. Further negotiations may be necessary in order to come to an agreement.  Once the offer has been accepted and we have a “contract”, the money will be deposited into a special trust account.  At closing, this will be credited back to you.
  • The next step will be to order title insurance.  As a RealtySouth Agent, I have the ability to order this service through TitleSouth, one of our affiliates. Title insurance is ordered to make certain you will be closing with a clear title to your new home, free of any judgements or liens.
  • A survey is the next thing to be ordered if applicable.  This will ensure that no encroachments exist on your property, such as a fence or storage building, and that your property is completely within its boundaries.
  • It is advisable to have a home warranty for the first year in your new home.  This could cover any unexpected repairs, and I will attempt to have the sellers provide one at their expense.  If I cannot, then I can have this expense become part of the closing costs.  American Home Shield is another of RealtySouth’s affiliated services.  The warranty they can provide will cover most of your new home’s systems and appliances.  Your peace of mind is important to me.
  • Homeowners insurance will need to be purchased, and I recommend that you have InsuranceSouth give you a no obligation quote as a convenience.  They are just one more reason why dealing with a one-stop shopping experience can make the home buying process flow smoothly.
  • I always recommend that a home inspection be performed as soon as possible after a contract exists.  This will make certain that any issues that come up after inspection can be satisfied before closing. If you would like, I will be happy to provide you with a list of professionals from which you may choose.
  • Because we live in the South, and are subject to termites, as well as other wood-destroying insects, it will be necessary to order a wood infestation report.  This inspection is designed to find any previous damage, or currently active colonies. This is another service that I will provide.
  • If any issues have arisen upon inspection of the home, an addendum will be written asking the sellers to take care of these matters.  This is especially important should any of these findings relate to health and safety.  Whatever needs to be done, I will make certain that it is accomplished prior to closing.
  • As we get nearer to closing, I will be tracking the progress of all aspects of the transaction, including the wood infestation report, title, and survey.  I will also tell you what you will need to bring with you to closing.  If using TitleSouth Closing Center, we will have the added benefit of a service called SureClose.  With this service, all documents pertaining to the closing will be online, and a passcode will allow you to access your information at any time. SureClose allows monitoring of the closing process 24 hours a day by buyers, sellers, Realtors, and lenders. Access will be granted only to those documents which pertain to your side of the closing, thus ensuring the privacy of all parties.  If at a later date, you need to request a filed document, you need only ask, and it will be retrieved for you.
  • Once all of these tasks have been completed, we will set a date for closing.
  • The transfer of utilities from the seller to you can be easily arranged through another of RealtySouth’s special services called “Get Connected“. A free service available 24 hours a day makes this job fast, simple, and convenient.  Spend only a few minutes, on your schedule, arranging for everything from internet connection to newspaper delivery.  There is a “lowest price” guarantee, and only the providers available for your area will be dispayed on the screen.  What could be simpler?
  • A final walk-through of the property to make sure contingencies have been cleared, and you will be ready for the moving van!

As you can see, there are many advantages to using Birmingham REALTOR® Shannon Holmes when purchasing your first home, moving up, or relocating.  Whether as a tutorial for first-time home buyers, or a refresher course if it has been a while since your last move, I hope you have found this information enlightening. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

SHANNON HOLMES, REALTOR®  (205) 706-3975

RealtySouth

109 Inverness Plaza, Birmingham, Alabama 35242

About the Author
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Shannon Holmes

Shannon Holmes has been featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, as well as many other media platforms, for her real estate expertise. Shannon loves new technology, and is an expert at using that technology to have the most effective real estate marketing possible. Shannon services the Greater Birmingham Alabama areas of the Highway 280 Corridor, Mountain Brook, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, Chelsea, Helena, Pelham, and Alabaster. Shannon can be reached at (205) 706-3975, or by email at shholmes@realtysouth.com.

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