Knobstone Properties

Our Home Buyers Guide is intended to summarize the process, while providing in depth details of each step along the way and provide many helpful tips.

7 Steps To Home Ownership

  • Build a good credit history (If not already done)
  • Find out what type of mortgage you qualify for and what fees are associated with your lender/loan type like closing costs, appraisal fee etc.
  • Save up for the down payment for the loan you qualify for.
  • Get a pre-approval letter from your lender.
  • Referrals from family and/or friends are the best place to start. However, you can look up RealtorsĀ® in your area on https://www.realtor.com or you could stop by local real estate firms and ask to speak to an agent on duty.
  • Interview more than 1 real estate professional. Be sure to ask about buyers representation contracts and any fees associated with their brokerage you may incur.
  • Explain your needs and expectations to the real estate professional you choose to work with.
  • Determine what is important to you. Prioritize your needs such as schools, neighborhood amenities, monthly mortgage payment, proximity to work etc.
  • Be sure to include home owners assessments, utilities, taxes when calculating the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Contact your mortgage broker or lender.
  • Be sure your choice of home qualifies for your loan type – often the overall condition, location and secondary mortgage guidelines can determine this.
  • Make sure you understand the financing terms – ask the lender for clarification if needed.
  • Read all contracts before signing – make sure you understand all of the terms.
  • Place a competitive bid and be prepared to make a counter-offer.
  • Only one offer will result in a sale, so be prepared to move on if your offer isn’t accepted.
  • Make sure the title is clear, or make your offer contingent upon clear title. Acquire title insurance.
  • Once you have a fully executed offer between you and the seller it is time to investigate further.
  • Ensure the property is inspected by a licensed home inspector.
  • If financing, the property will need to appraise at or above the agreed upon purchase price. In the event a property doesn’t appraise, agreements may still be reached mutually. Speak with your lender and RealtorĀ®.
  • While proceeding towards closing be sure to keep your credit score stable and refrain from purchasing any big-ticket items until after closing.
  • Set a move date and hire movers or plan a moving party with your friends.
  • Schedule a date for utilities to transfer into your name.
  • Keep all of your files/documents you obtained throughout this process in a safe place. Maintain your files (digitally or hard copies) for all closing documents, contracts, warranties, insurance documents, etc.
  • Protect your new asset. Typically a buyer has already obtained homeowners insurance at this point. However, you may consider completing some of those items on the inspection report or additional coverage’s such as flood, disaster and fire.
  • Implement desired changes such as paint, flooring etc. Make the house your home.
  • Get to know your neighbors and explore your new neighborhood.
  • If you experience nothing but great things from your real estate professional throughout this process, be sure to recommend them to your friends and family. Referrals are truly appreciated.

DO's

  • Keep all payments current, never be late on your mortgage, cars, credit cards etc.
  • Keep a paper trail of any documentation that may be needed to explain any large/unusual deposits or withdrawls (checking, savings, stock etc.)
  • Keep pay stubs, bank statements, tax forms etc. Your lender may need to update documentation prior to closing.
  • Let your loan officer or mortgage broker know if anything changes such as your employment, income, assets or credit history.
  • Document that the earnest money deposit has cleared your account and obtain a copy of the cancelled check or a statement that reflects the funds have cleared.
  • Lock-in your interest rate, have homeowner's insurance agent information available and provide updated documentation in a timely manner to avoid delaying closing.

DON'Ts

  • Don't increase credit card and/or loan balances.
  • Don't apply for additional or new credit or put balances on a paid credit card.
  • Don't ignore late payment and/or collection notices that are received during the mortgage process.
  • Don't purchase anything that is "same as cash" - it will show on the credit report as new debt.
  • Don't purchase furniture, cars, or appliances on credit until after closing.
  • Don't lent money to family memebers, friends etc. if it is needed for closing.
  • Don't store money at home, place it in a bank account so it can be documented/seasoned as savings throughout the loan process and can qualify as assets on hand.
  • Don't have overdrafts on a checking account.
  • Don't quit or change jobs during the loan process.