Real EDvice

3 Steps to a Successful Home Purchase

 

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Real EDvice—a weekly column written by your community professionals in the real estate industry covering all aspects of the real estate transaction.

ByNancy Zambell

For The Vista

I’ve always loved buying property. That is, I love it when it’s a done deal and I can start redecorating! But I’ve not always been enamored with the actual process. I bought several homes before I ever became a Realtor, and I wasn’t thrilled with the process or how long it took to complete the transaction. That was partly my fault for not knowing the do’s and don’ts, but some of the blame could be attributed to my Realtor for not adequately preparing me on what to expect.

In hopes of making your experience more pleasing, I’ve put together these tips to help you understand the process, and to also eliminate some of the frustrations that come along with the transaction.

Get prequalified for a mortgage. Prequalification means you give your lender an overview of your finances, including outstanding debt, income and assets. The lender then tells you an approximate mortgage amount that you may undertake. This is usually free and doesn’t require running your credit report. Preapproval requires an official mortgage application where you give the lender the details needed for an extensive financial and credit check. It is to your benefit to be prequalified before you begin looking for houses, so that you can zero in on acceptable homes in your price range. And once you make an offer, you only have 3 days in the state of Tennessee to apply for your loan. So, the faster you start the process, the less frustrated you will be.

Do you really want to downsize that much? Many of our customers move from homes that are 4,000 or more square feet, and they tell me, “we want to downsize to 1,500-2,000 square feet.” It makes sense; when you retire, there are a lot of things you’d rather be doing than taking care of a massive house. But, I would urge you to give this some considerable thought, because plenty of folks have overdone the downsizing, and ended up renting storage units to hold those possessions they couldn’t live without—or even purchased a bigger home later.

Have your future home inspected—no matter how old. This is crucial. Even if you aren’t inclined to ask the sellers for repairs or replacements, you need to know the condition of the home you are purchasing. But be aware that a home inspection is not the only inspection you may want. We recommend a termite inspection, too, and if you are obtaining financing, the bank will require that. But there are other inspections you may desire, including structural, roofing, radon, appraisal (usually required if financed), and survey. Your purchase contract will specify how many days you have to complete the inspection and to renegotiate with the seller, if necessary. Those are drop-dead dates—you must comply with them, or you have no legal standing to renegotiate.

There are certainly more steps in the process, including an appraisal, underwriting, final loan approval, and walk-through, but if you can sail quickly through the first three steps, you will be well on your way to a successful home purchase.

Nancy Zambell, Principal Broker, EXIT Rocky Top Real Estate, 931-787-1213, [email protected]