With so much information available online, the process of buying a home can seem daunting. At Pilchard Properties, we have the experience and the local market knowledge to guide you through the entire process, from pre-approval to keys. So, whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a seasoned veteran, we’re here to help. Best of all, real estate agent services are FREE to buyers. That’s right, in Washington, the Seller pays the Buyer’s agent. It’s a win, win for you.
Before getting a mortgage or any kind of loan, you should always check your credit. According to the law, you're allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report per year. You can do this by visiting Annualcreditreport.com. Scores range from approximately 300 to 850; generally, the higher your score, the better loan you'll qualify for. Don't forget to check your report for errors. If there are any, dispute them. It may help your credit score. You can also check your credit score for free at www.creditkarma.com.
You can calculate how much you can afford by starting online. There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Don't forget to factor in money you'll need for a down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for an appraisal, inspection, etc.). Remember that you don't always have to put down 20 percent like your parents once did. There are loans available with little to no down payment. There are also options out there for down payment assistance, if you qualify. Give us a call to learn more about those programs!
To find the right mortgage lender it’s best to shop around. Get recommendations from your friends and family and check with the Better Business Bureau. Talk to at least three or four mortgage lenders. Ask lots of questions and make sure they have answers that satisfy you. Make sure to find someone that you are comfortable with and who makes you feel at ease. Of course, if you need a referral, we will refer to a local, knowledgeable and professional lender.
Once you have the right mortgage lender, make sure you at least get a pre-approval. Qualifications are only a guess based on what you tell the lender and are no guarantee, whereas a pre-approval will give you a better idea of how big a loan you qualify for, and establishes a budget to shop for your new home. The lender will actually pull your credit and get more information about you. Getting pre-approved in this competitive market is required. Most Sellers won’t even consider an offer from a buyer that hasn’t been pre-approved.
Make a list of the things you'll need to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need and get an idea of how much space you desire. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?
Once you've made a list of your must-have's, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.
Now that you've found the home you want, you have to make an offer. In our local, competitive market, many homes sell for more than list price. For that reason, it’s good to shop slightly below your budget, so that if you need to, you can compete with other buyers for the home you want. Once a seller has accepted your offer, you'll make an earnest money deposit, which is money that goes in escrow to give the seller a sign of good faith and it works like a security deposit for the seller. This money is later credited to your down payment at closing.
Now is the time to begin working with the lender that gave you the pre-approval to get your final loan approval. During this time, escrow is opened, inspections and appraisals are scheduled.
Make sure you get a home inspection before you close. It will be well-worth the money spent since it ensures the property's structural soundness and good condition.
Be sure you talk to your mortgage banker to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing so there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, and points you may have bought to buy down your interest rate.
You've got your mortgage, closed the deal and now it's time to move in! Whether you use a mover or not is up to you, depending on your financial situation and how much stuff you have to move; perhaps also, whether you have a lot of friends willing to help you move. Either way, you're done with the home buying process! Just start unpacking and start enjoying your new home! Buying a home doesn't have to be a hassle if you're prepared and you know what to do and when to do it. Choose Pilchard Properties - we are the key to helping you have a smooth home buying experience!