Whether its your first home in the Cleveland area, its been many years since you bought, or maybe you’ve done it many times before, either way its important to have someone on your side who can make sure you’re going in the right direction and who knows the Cleveland area housing market.. Being a full time Realtor my goal is guide you step by step through the entire process and beyond. This should be a good experience, one that you can enjoy and I aim to make it just that. Although buying a home can seem overwhelming or complicated, it really doesn’t have to be. Ill handle every single part of the process right along with you so you know exactly what’s happening, what to expect and what will happen next. Don’t worry, I’ve done this many times, you’re in good hands!
The home buying process
1. Get ready emotionally
The first step is simple, sit down and start to consider what you’re about to do. Where do you feel comfortable at as far as a monthly payment or budget? What locations would you like to be in? What is important to you as far as wants/don’t wants. This is just the very beginning so you may not have any idea yet and that’s totally ok. This is just a quick self check in to figure out what’s important to you.
Pro Tip! If you have a partner involved, do this together and talk about what’s important to you. Not having this conversation early can lead to tension down the line when one party loves a house and one party hates it. You may not agree on everything, that’s also totally ok, just consider your partners wants and your own wants so you know where you both stand.
2. Get preapproved
This step is crucial, you must have a preapproval to begin the home shopping process. You cannot wait until you find a house then get preapproved. I’ve seen people insist on going that route then lose out on the perfect home because the could not submit an offer on time. Many sellers wont even allow you in their home without a preapproval! This step is simple and I can guide you through it. A call to a lender, a few documents and questions and you’re on your way. This will also let you know what your budget it and what that means as far as a monthly mortgage payment
This may happen before or after a preapproval. Here we will talk about the process, things to look out for, what you want in a home, what you don’t want in a home, budget and more. Here I will find out what you’re looking for a start to set up searches so I can send listings directly to you! Listing that match your criteria will come right to your inbox. Interested in creating your own search? Do it anytime on my site here.
Pro Tip! Zillow is very inaccurate as far as what’s actually for sale and what isn’t. Listing hit the market and may not show up on Zillow for extended periods. I would advise against using Zillow for those plus other reason. See my blog post “Is Zillow Unethical”. I suggest using my site that is directly connected live time through the MLS, or Realtor.com and Homesnap.com are good options as well.
4. The hunt is on! Time to start touring homes
Daily I will be sending you new listing. When one pops up you like, let me know and ill schedule a showing that works around your schedule. This is the fun part! When we step into the home I’ll ask questions to get you thinking. What do you think of the layout? Does it feel like home? Could you see yourself living here? What do you like/don’t like about the home? Every single house will have pros and cons. There is no such thing as a perfect house but your gut feeling will let you know when you’ve found it. I see it over and over that someone walks in and “just knows”. during this process I will also be looking for issues, structural issues, water damage, electrical issues. Having spent 14 years as a career firefighter I’ve learned a lot about building construction , I do my best to put that knowledge to good use. I also have extensive knowledge on health issues when it comes to a home. Whether is be asbestos, water damage causing mold or other issues, I will always do my best to find any unseen issues. But don’t sweat it, we still have a home inspection
5. Consider the market
This will happen at the same time as the home search. What’s going on in the housing market in the area you’re looking? are your wants tp budget realistic now that you’ve seen a few homes? What will an offer look like? Is it likely you’ll have to be prepared to offer over asking? Can you start under asking? There is a lot of questions that the circumstances will dictate and ill coach you through it so you know exactly what to expect.
You walk into the front door, take one look around and start to feel at home. As you walk through the home you imagine exactly how you will decorate it, where you will place your furniture and what color you will paint the walls. You’ve found it, your ideal home. take your time, soak it up. From there we talk numbers, closing timeframe, what inspections to be done. Most of the time an offer will be contingent on a home inspection but in some circumstances some people may opt to waive them to make their offer more appealing. These are all conversations we will have and the offer will always be written to where you feel comfortable. We’ll go through the offer line by line, this is a time of excitement and maybe some nerves. Don’t worry, its normal and I GOT YOU!
An offer is just that, an offer. The seller may counter or they may even as for a “highest and best offer” if there is other offers on the table we’re completing with. Don’t worry, we’ll work through this. If a seller counters your offer with one of their own, we will discuss the terms and see if it makes sense to you. At that point you can accept, reject or even counter again. We’ll work through all the details and try and come to terms that everyone agrees with. The next situation is a “highest and best” and this means there is multiple offers, also called a bid war. When this happens we will discuss terms that make the most sense to you and submit our best offer. All you can do is give your best.
Pro Tip! In a multiple offers situation there is more to an offer then just price. For example, adjusting closing dates to accommodate the sellers, waiving certain contingencies and other things we can discuss that will change for each situation.
Pro Tip! Remember, we all want the same thing, the seller wants to sell, the buyer wants to buy. We can work together while standing up for your needs at the same time. Don’t forget this is a business transaction so don’t let emotion cloud your judgment.
8. Offer accepted!
Congrats your offer has been accepted, you jus bought a house! Well, not yet…. Now is the time we will schedule our home inspection. After the home inspection you may either proceed with the purchase as it, renegotiate terms if unknown issues come up, or walk away completely if you no longer feel comfortable purchasing the home. You will also submit a formal loan application to get the process on loan commitment going.
Pro Tip! Home inspections are stressful times. You literally hire someone to pick apart every single part of a home you’re about to by. Don’t worry! every home has a list of issues, we are looking for major issues like hidden water damage, structural concerns, safety issues, the rest is just a “to do” list for you moving forward.
9. finalize financing
Your lender will require certain docs and may have questions. An appraisal of the house will be ordered by the bank to ensure the homes value is equal to the purchase price. There is a bit of a waiting period here and I will update you on progress. Typically closing on a home is 30-60 days.
10. Those magic words “Clear To Close”!!
The term clear to close is a term that comes from the lender when your loan has been officially approved. At this point you will get a call from the title company to schedule a time to sign. You can usually either go to their office or they can send a notary to you. On vacation? no problem, you can sign from anywhere, I even had someone sign from the Ukraine once so you’re good! There’s a bunch of paperwork to close the loan and transfer the homes title. you will have to wire your down payment if over $10,000. If under you’ll be able to bring a check. After signing, either that day or on the agreed upon day it will close.
11. You own a home!!
Once the title company reaches out to let us know the home has closed, it is now officially yours! Congrats! You did it! This is a good day, no matter what happened throughout the process, or how long it took, it doesn’t matter, you’re home! We will meet at the house and I will get the keys out of the lockbox and hand them to you. Its my favorite part! This is also sometimes a little sad for me as well though because we may have spent weeks or months talking almost daily and now the deal is done. Don’t forget about me and keep in touch always! I will follow up with you over the following weeks and months just to see if you need anything at all.
Every person and every deal will have its nuances and be different in some ways. I’ll always be there to work with you and I’m honored to have the chance.
frequently asked questions
- Do I pay you? Nope! As a buyers agent I am paid by the sellers agent (who is paid by the seller). The seller and the sellers agent agree on listing terms and out of those terms comes the fee to the buyers agent. So I work for you at no cost to you!
- Should I work with multiple agents/call other agents? You should only be working with one agent. If you “agent hop” you wont have someone who is supporting your best interest, you’ll just have someone trying to make a quick sale. You don’t want that. I make a commitment to my buyers to support their needs at all costs. I can do this because I know eventually you will buy a home with me. So if I need to talk you out of buying a home, I can do that because it wasn’t the right fit but I know there will be a better one in the future.
- Should I just call the listing agent? This goes along with the last question. The list agent is supporting the sellers interest and not yours. Do you want to be negotiating with someone who works for the other side? Is the listing agent going to make sure the house is a good fit for you? No, he works for the seller. Would you go into a boxing match with your opponents coach in your corner? Get yourself a buyers agent you can trust ( like me – wink wink)
- How many homes should I see before making an offer? Up to you! While home shoppers these days can look at hundreds of homes online, they usually see 10 houses on average before putting in an offer. But keep in mind this varies for each person. Some people find their home within hours of hunting, others, it takes months. If you want to streamline the process, it can help to really focus in on a particular neighborhood you like; that said, if you feel limited by your options, it may be time to expand to surrounding areas.