I'm frequently asked "What does it take to buy a house?" When attempting to determine if buying a home a right for you right now, it helps to get an overview of the home buying process, costs involved, and how to assemble a winning team.

Here is a quick overview of the home buying steps and when you'll be expecting to get out your checkbook:

Step 1: How much can I afford?

This is a critical first step in buying a home. Whether you are planning to stay in your new home for 1 year, 5 years, or this will be your forever home, knowing what you can afford is crucial. Choosing the 1st member of your team, a lender, gets you moving in the right direction towards owning a home. The lender will look at your credit score, work history, income, the amount of debt you have compared to your income, etc. As your lender gets you "pre-approved", they will be able to help you come up with a price range that will be comfortable for you. They will also help you determine the type of loan that will work best for you, down payment required for that loan, and how much your closing costs will be. When shopping lenders, be sure to look at the whole package not just the interest rate. It is important to look at all 3 of the previously mentioned items in addition to the rate.

Need help finding your 1st team member? Head on over the the Start Your Pre-Approval tab for a few lenders that our clients have raved about.

Step 2: Hire ME to work on your behalf

It is a common misconception that you should always work with the agent that has the house listed because they can get you the "best deal". While this may be true in some cases, it may be equally as important to you to have your 2nd team member in your corner negotiating strictly on your behalf. When you hire me as your REALTOR to work as your buyer's agent, I will work hard on your behalf to help you negotiate every detail and help ensure that everything stays on track for a smooth trip to becoming a homeowner!

Hiring me is a smart choice! Not only do I have 12+years of experience helping hundreds of buyers get their dream homes at great prices, I also have a full-time staff that works closely with you, your lender, the listing agent, and all other affiliates to ensure a timely and successful closing.

Ready to hire me, give me a call at 251-367-1318 or just click the contact button to contact me directly.

Step 3: Find your perfect home!

We will work closely with you to find your dream home that meets your needs and wants and keeps you within your desired budget. Check out this video on how to separate between your wants/needs. Be sure to share you list with me so I can keep my eye on the inventory to help you find the perfect fit!

Step 4: We've found your dream home...Now What?

Now it's time for us to get together with you your lender and create the best strategy to submit an offer. We'll all work closely and make sure we are negotiating the best price and terms for you. We'll also be sure you have plenty of time to have the home professionally inspection, negotiate the best date and time for closing, and help you negotiate things like a termite bond, home warranty, and survey.

Step 5: Congratulations...Your offer was accepted!!

It is normal to feel a bit overwhelmed and also really excited at this point. You'll be working closely with me and my closing coordinator, Theresa, to get your earnest money to the title company and your inspection(s) scheduled. You'll also be working with your lender to sign off on their disclosures and finish getting any missing documents to them. It's also smart to go ahead and start working on obtaining affordable home owners insurance to make sure you are still comfortable with your final payment. Your lender, myself, and my team are all happy to send your recommendations for insurance agents. Once we have negotiated any repairs for the home inspection, we'll let the lender know to order the appraisal. Then your file is off to underwriting for approval and we'll be working with the listing agent to get the termite inspection and bond ordered, and any negotiated home warranty or survey ordered. 
**It's extremely common for your lender to ask for additional items to add to your file. Just remember to get them everything they need as fast as you can and we'll stay on track for closing day!

Step 6: You guessed it... CLOSING DAY!

Once we hear the magic words "You are clear to close" from the lender, we'll be ready to schedule a final walk thru the house to be sure the house is in the same condition as when you made the offer and any negotiated repairs have been completed. It will also be time to schedule a date and time that works for both you and the seller to sign the paperwork. Closings take place at a local title company or closing attorney during normal business hours Monday-Friday. Any money that you need to bring for closing including your down payment and any closing costs/prepaids will usually have to be wired from your bank to the title company. (We'll be sure you have all of that info before closing.) Once both you and the seller have signed all of the paperwork and the closing company has received all funds for closing, you are officially a HOMEOWNER!

Step 7: I've bought a house. What do I do now?

Most of the time, we are able to negotiate for you to receive possession of the house at closing. That means you get the keys as soon as you sign and can move right in. You'll want to be sure that you schedule all utilities to transfer into your name for the day of closing (or possession date if you aren't getting the keys the same day.)
You'll also want to forward your mail and change your mailing address on any bills, subscriptions, and on all of your accounts.

When you receive your original deed from the closing company about 6 weeks from closing, take it to the tax assessors office and claim your homestead exemption to keep your property taxes low. Here's a direct link to the tax assessors office to see what else you need to bring and office locations/hours: Exemption Questions

Are you ready to start your journey to owning a home? Click  to start step 1 and get pre-approved.