Once you’ve found your dream home, have negotiated a price with the seller (or rather through the seller’s real estate agent), and signed the real estate purchase contract, what do you do?
You’ve already indicated that you intend to purchase the house, and the seller can’t accept any other offers once you’ve both signed, so now is your opportunity to take a look at the house and make sure everything is in order for purchase.
1. Get an inspection
Within the first few days after signing the contract make sure you have a detailed inspection of the house. Choose a trusted home inspector that is on your side and will list any potential problems or existing damage to the home. Many realtors will simply want to get the house sold and may rely on home inspectors that emphasize speed rather than quality. For this reason it is best to get an independent home inspector.
Once you get the home inspection report, look over it in detail and make sure there aren’t any major problems with the home before you buy. If you have concerns, raise them with your realtor. You may get the homeowner to pay for repairs before you move in—which is far better than paying for them yourself after you move in.
2. Pick a title company
Most realtors have a title company they use regularly, but make sure you choose a title company that charges reasonable rates for their services and will get you all the legal documents you need for final signing.
3. Walk through the house
Before you go to your final signing, make sure you take a detailed final walkthrough of the home. This is your last opportunity to raise any concerns about damage or potential problems, so take the inspection report with you and review any red flags that may have been raised. If you don’t feel right about any aspect of the report, bring it up with your realtor; you can still halt the purchase process at this point if something is amiss.
4. Don’t switch jobs or buy anything expensive
While you are in home-buying limbo, don’t make any big changes to your finances. That means you should hold off on switching jobs or deciding to become self-employed. I know you want a new car and a big bedroom set, but wait until after you purchase your house to incur any big debts. If your lender find out you’ve incurred extra debt or that your income has changed, they may have to readjust your loan amount of interest rate. To make sure there are no delays or hiccups in the home buying processes, be patient and wait until after signing to make any other big life changes. Photo by Zach Taylor.