So if you read the previous article about getting started on buying a home, you are anticipating the next steps in the home buying process. So plain and simple, here they are!
You have found your perfect home, and hopefully your equally as perfect realtor has negotiated and got you the price you wanted. Now, they next step is moving forward with contracts.
Contracts will be drawn up, in most cases by the listing agent. You, the buyer, will then review, have any changes made, and sign. At this point the seller then signs as well, and you enter what is called a “Attorney Review Period”. This is three business days from when all parties have signed. During this time either party, for any given reason, can change their mind about moving forward. Also, if you are buying a home in “as-is” condition, this is when you would want to have any inspections done. The reason for this is it is the only time to truly understand what “as-is” really IS, and therefore if you are unhappy with the results you can get out of the contract without penalty because you are in the 3 day window.
Now, where it can get tricky is if either party uses an attorney. However, an attorney is up to the individual party and often recommended by your agent, so do not think having an attorney is a negative by any means. It protects you in many ways beyond a standard contract. So in this case, because there is a real live attorney involved, that 3 day period is obsolete. Instead the attorneys review the contracts until they are satisfied which could day any given amount of days. Once happy with how the contract reads, seller and buyers sign and the attorney review period is over. There are some excellent real estate attorneys in the area, your realtor can often refer you to if you decide to use one. If you find one on your own, just be sure that they are truly a real estate attorney and in the state you are purchasing. All state real estates laws differ and for your protection you want to be sure to have someone whose skill set is a match.
So now the attorney review period is over and this is not an “as-is” property, therefore you have 10 days to do your inspections. Depending on the homes location will vary the type of inspections. It is always recommended at the very least to have a general home inspection and pest inspection. In other cases well, septic, oil tank, bulkhead, etc might be suggested. These inspections will be done and generate a report.The reports will be used to request any repairs you would like made prior to settlement and a negotiation process will be made for this. An addendum will be drawn up to acknowledge these repairs.
Other things going on between now and settlement may also be request of things needed by your lender to process your loan. All of the contracts will also be sent to a title company who will began the process of getting ready to settle on your purchase and insuring clean and clear title, to which you may hear from this representative if they need any additional information. And finally, in some situations you may be involved in the repairs undertaking. But otherwise its a slight waiting game till the big day!
Prior to settlement you will do a final walk-thru. This will be the last time you see the property before you own it. You will have a check list of things to do and look for, including any repairs that should be made. You also will receive a list of to-dos from the title company that include making sure all utilities are switched over to your name to avoid interruption and fees. You should always do this at least 2 business days prior to the scheduled settlement.
And then, you are off! Time to buy your home!!!