The Home Buying Process Buying a home is one of life's most important and exciting experiences. Given the complexity of the transaction and the financial commitment involved, it is imperative that you pay careful attention to the following areas of the transaction.
1. Becoming an educated buyer. This information will help you begin this process. In addition, there are hundreds of books, other websites, and lots of well-intentioned friends and relatives with advice to offer. Unfortunately, sifting through all of this information presents its own set of problems. Real Estate laws vary greatly from state to state and procedures change on what seems like a daily basis. As a result, it's difficult to tell the good advice from the irrelevant or out of date. You can solve this dilemma by establishing a close working relationship with one Real Estate Agent. As a professional in the field, he (or she) can use his (or her) education and experience to help you understand this complex process.
2. Covering the market. Given the importance of a home purchase, you'll want to make sure you explore every option. In other words, see all of the homes that best suit your needs.
Some buyers use the various advertising media (newspaper, internet, magazines, etc.) to find appropriate homes. This is a hit or miss system since homes are usually advertised on a random or rotating basis. The best home for you may not be advertised when you are doing your search. In fact, the hottest properties often sell before the first ad appears. Your Real Estate Agent has access to complete, current information on all of the homes listed by every company in the Multiple Listing Service. Using the MLS computer system your agent can identify all of the appropriate homes and update this list when new listings appear.
Sometimes home buyers decide to work only with For Sale By Owners (FSBO) because they hope to save money. This course of action shrinks their choices to a very small fraction of the homes available since most homes are listed with Real Estate Companies. When a home is listed, the seller has already agreed to pay the sales fee. There is no additional charge to the buyer.
3. Reaching agreement with the seller. Once you've located the home you want, you'll need to sign a contract (Purchase and Sale Agreement) with the seller. At this time, negotiations between the buyer and seller will settle issues of price, possession date, repairs, and who will pay for what. This critical document spells out the rights and obligations of both buyer and seller. It is binding on both parties. Furthermore, issues overlooked by the contract are not binding on either party. This is not the time to "save" money. If you are not working with a good Real Estate Agent, you'll need to hire a good real estate attorney. By the way, attorneys seldom, if ever, see the house. It's not their job.