Determine whether you’re really ready to become a homeowner
The first thing you should do if you’re considering buying your first home is assess your financial situation, your lifestyle, and your level of responsibility.
How does your financial forecast look? Is your job secure?
Can you afford to maintain a home?
Do you have the time to maintain a home?
Are you considering having children anytime soon? Are you going to need to buy a new car in the near future? Or maybe you’re up for a big promotion with a hefty pay raise.
Are you planning on staying in Topeka for very long?
How close are you to paying off credit cards or student loans?
How is your credit? A good credit score goes a long way when it comes to borrowing money these days.
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. It is your responsibility to decide how much spending freedom you are willing to sacrifice in order to make your house payment each month.
Get pre-approved for a loan
Contact a mortgage lender and request a mortgage pre-approval letter. (We can point you in the right direction if you’re not sure where to start or who to call.) Supplying a pre-approval 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.
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 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!)
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.
Agree on price & 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.
Have the property professionally inspected, surveyed, & appraised
The Kirk & Cobb transaction center assists your REALTOR® throughout the contract stage. Kirk & Cobb staff will coordinate 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 or you are free to walk away. 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®.
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.
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.