Here you’ll find the eight basic steps involved in the home-buying process.
1. Determine how much you can really afford
It’s time for a serious examination of your monthly budget. Make a list of all your monthly expenses including small items like entertainment and eating out. (Don’t forget to include any large annual dues, fees & subscriptions in your calculations.) Compare your expenses to your net income and determine what size monthly payment you are comfortable with. Remember, your lender may approve you for less than you are willing to pay. On the contrary, you may also qualify for more than you are willing to pay each month. Only you can decide how much spending freedom you are willing to sacrifice in order to make your house payment each month.
2. Get preapproved for a loan
Contact a mortgage lender and request a mortgage preapproval letter. (We can point you in the right direction if you’re not sure where to start or who to call.) Supplying a preapproval letter with any offers you submit will signify to the seller(s) you are a serious, qualified buyer. It can also speed up the process once you are ready to officially apply for a mortgage.
3. Contact a REALTOR® and start shopping
All it takes is one phone call to get the process started. We’ll help analyze your needs and preferences, and we can start looking at homes right away! Remember, Kirk & Cobb REALTORS® can show all Topeka area MLS listings. You can also search all Topeka area listings on the Kirk & Cobb Property Search page. (If you choose, you can even have new listings that meet your criteria automatically sent to your email account!)
4. Make an offer
Now it’s time to make an offer. It’s important that you are completely comfortable with your offer. If you don’t feel the property is worth the full asking price, point out the reasons why. During this stage, your REALTOR® will carefully explain the contract to you. Now is the time to ask questions. If something is unclear to you, ASK for further explanation.
5. Agree on price and contract details
The seller(s) will either accept your offer, make a counter offer (negotiate), or reject your offer altogether. Your REALTOR® will be your liaison during this process. It is his/her job to communicate all aspects of the negotiations to you and the necessary parties until a final decision is made.
If an offer is accepted, you will sign a contract along with the sellers, and you will be required to make an earnest deposit. The earnest deposit shows that you are committed to purchasing this property. (The earnest deposit is deposited into a trust account until closing and will be applied to your closing costs.)
If you and the seller(s) cannot agree on a purchase price and/or other details of the contract, you may withdraw your offer and move on.
6. Have the property professionally inspected, surveyed, & appraised
The Kirk & Cobb transaction center handles all transaction in the contract stage. You do have some say in which inspectors you want to use for specific inspections. (We can give some direction if you need help here, too.) Kirk & Cobb will schedule all inspections, appraisals, and other appointments and will share reports with all necessary parties.
If problems are found during the inspections, negotiating will start again. You have a choice at this point to withdraw the contract. Ideally, an agreement will be reached, and the Kirk & Cobb transaction center can continue with the remaining details of the closing process. The specifics of how this works will be explained to you by your REALTOR®.
7. Seal the deal – time to close
Once the property has been inspected and it is decided that the deal will move forward, a closing date will be scheduled. Kirk & Cobb will handle all the title work and scheduling, communicating with you the entire time.
8. Moving time!
Remember, possession is nine-tenths of the law. Typically, possession is given at the time of closing; however, in some instances, the sellers will retain possession of the property until a later date (usually just a day or two). The property is the responsibility of the seller until you have legal possession. If you do not have possession of the property, you will not be able to move personal items into the property, etc. Likewise, it is the sellers’ responsibility to maintain the property until the transfer of possession.
Once you are given the keys (at closing or later), the property is yours to do with whatever you choose. Load the trucks and hit the road. You have a lot of work to do before sundown.