The Home Buying Process

Buying a primary residence for home buyers is a major financial decision but also an emotional decision that involves many lifestyle factors. For most home buyers, the purchase of a primary residence is one of the largest financial transactions they will make. Buyers purchase a home not only for the desire to own a home of their own, but also because of changes in jobs, family situations, and the need for a smaller or larger living area.

Looking for a home seems fairly easy. You can drive around neighborhoods, visit Sunday open houses, and search Realtor web sites to view online visual tours. These are things you can do without assistance from anyone.

Things become more complex when you seriously decide to buy a home. You'll have questions about schools, neighborhoods, financing, taxes, inspections, contracts, disclosures, resale value, and how to make an offer for the home. You'll be wanting advice from a knowledgeable Realtor and a responsible mortgage counselor who can help you make a wise buying decision.


What you can you afford and how much can you borrow?

The first step in the home buying process is to find out exactly how much you can borrow and therefore how much house you can afford. While everyones circumstances vary, a mortgage loan is the most common way of purchasing a home.

A mortgage counselor will review your finances and explain various mortgage options that fit your budget. Once your credit history is verified, you'll be given a letter stating that you have been pre-approved for a specific amount of money. This letter is essential when making an offer on a home because it assures the seller that you will be able to close the deal. Sellers typically reject offers not supported with proof of financing.


Working with your Realtor

When purchasing a new car, you'd stop in at a dealership and have a salesperson show you the inventory.Your Realtor is your connection to the inventory of real estate for sale in the Greater Lansing market area.

All homes listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are marketed through real estate companies and can only be sold with the assistance of a licensed Realtor. Unlike automobile dealers who are limited to selling specific brands, a Realtor can show and sell any home listed in the MLS.

Your mission will now be to find a professional Realtor who has knowledge of market conditions, home values, and neighborhoods. A Realtor able to answer your questions and serve as your guardian angel during the home buying process. We invite you to contact us. We've helped hundreds of buyers with the purchase of all types of residential including foreclosures, short sales, new builds, student homes near MSU campus and luxury homes.


Finding the "right" home

Supported with financial backing and guided by your trusted Realtor, you are ready to begin the home search with confidence. You've probably already considered what you want in a home and where you want to live but you should also think about how long you’ll stay there and if your needs will change during that time. Don't worry if you have difficulty picturing a home that fits your requirements or have no knowledge of the Lansing area neighborhoods and communities. This will become clear as look at homes.

During the "search" you'll visit homes and begin asking questions about neighborhoods and property values. You should expect to be disappointed with many of the homes you visit...this is how you'll sort it out. Visiting a string of disappointing homes has been a waste of time. You've simply been eliminating the homes that don't work for you. Every home is unique and you're the only one who knows what who knows what appeals to you.


What is the Multiple Listing Service?


Making a purchase offer

Once you've found the right house, the next step is to make an offer. If everything goes well, this offer will become the basis of a contract between you and the seller for the purchase of your new home.

Before making an offer, your Realtor will do a market analysis to see how much buyers have been paying for similar homes in the neighborhood and then share a professional opinion of what price and terms should be written into the contract. No two sellers have exactly the same circumstances but years of negotiating purchase offers has given your Realtor a sense of what to expect in a variety of situations.

Home inspections

Now that you have a contract to purchase a home you'll want to have it inspected for unknown conditions that even the seller may not have been aware of.

A home should be inspected by professionals who know what to look for. The most common inspections are for pests, structure, electrical, plumbing, heating and AC, radon, well, septic and survey. Buyers have also done inspections for mold, asbestos, swimming pools, checked the schools, studied an association's restrictions, and inquired about criminal activity.

If the inspection went well an addendum is signed agreeing to remove the inspection contingency. If the inspection went badly, the contract can be terminated.


On to closing...

Once the inspection contingency has been removed, the mortgage company will begin their task of assembling the paperwork for your mortgage loan. This can take three to four weeks and will include a professional appraisal of the property to be sure it's worth what your paying and an in-depth review of your current financial picture. A mortgage processor will forward this information to the bank's underwriter for final approval of the loan. Once the loan has been underwritten, the closing date is set and you meet with the seller at a title company to sign paperwork and transfer ownership of the property.

Congratulations on the purchase of your new home!