So you’ve decided to buy your first house. Congratulations! It’s a big step to take, but one worth taking, especially in Lafayette where there are dream homes aplenty. All you have to do is find the one that excites you the most, which you will. With all of the homes for sale in Lafayette, the perfect house is just around the corner. Before you get started, understand the home buying process so that your experience will have as few surprises as possible. Buying a home should be exciting, not stressful, and with you choosing to buy in Lafayette you’re well on your way already.
Get pre-approved for homes for sale in Lafayette
This is the absolute first thing you should do before you start seriously planning and daydreaming. After all, there’s no point in looking at expensive houses if you can’t even get approved for the loan! You’ll also find out how much money you can spend on homes for sale in Lafayette. So, first things first, do some research and select a reliable lender by checking offered rates, reviews on customer service and reliability, perhaps how well they meet contract deadlines and submit an application. Yes, it takes time, but it’s a very critical step. You can certainly check with a few to figure out which offers the best service and rates. Then finalize and only submit your loan application to one, particularly if there is going to be credit check involved. You don’t want multiple inquiries on your credit so it’s best to do your homework and only submit to one lender of your choice. We can also put you in touch with a preferred lender. You’ll first be contacted by a loan officer who will pre-qualify you for a loan. He or she will ask you a few questions, and will ask you to email or fax the following information:
- Last two years of tax returns
- Bank statements
- Recent paycheck stubs and/or profit and loss statement if you are self-employed
Once you submit all of this information, your application will then be sent to a loan underwriter who, though behind the scenes, is actually the head honcho. He or she is the one who will pull your credit report, go over all of your financial information, and will give you a green light (aka, a pre-approval). If you don’t already have an established relationship with a preferred lender, we can help you get started. Click here for more information and to get in touch with one of our knowledgeable loan officers.
Choose an agent
Once you know what you want and where you want to live in Lafayette, it’s time to find a real estate agent. This may not sound like an important thing to do, but it is. You have things to do, so you need a Realtor who understands exactly what you’re looking for in homes for sale in Lafayette. Once one or more ideal homes pop up on the market, your agent can be a huge help in assessing the property. That’s why it’s vital to find someone knowledgeable in your locale. They’ll assess the price based on the market’s current and pending listings, evaluate the condition of the property, plus review any disclosures or inspection reports. All of this leads to the proper price negotiations to ensure you’re getting a good value out of your dream home. As much as house hunting is an exciting process to find your next home, it’s also a huge financial decision. Select the right real estate agent to make sure your choice is as informed as possible.
Decide what you want
Perhaps the best part of the home buying experience is shopping and imagining your life in a new home. Your lending agency at this point has told you how much you can borrow for homes for sale in Lafayette, and has hopefully given you an Excel spreadsheet outlining the specifics of certain types of loans you could take. This is a great tool, so take the time to read it thoroughly and understand it. When you do, you should have a solid framework of what you can afford, and the total cost of the loan. Once you got this, you can really start visualizing.
If you’re married or have a partner with whom you plan on purchasing a house, you now need to talk about your must-haves. What kind of yard do you want; where do you want to live; do you want a two story house or a rancher; is a master bedroom on the first floor a good thing or a bad thing? HGTV frequently tells its viewers that it’s good to have a list, but to know that they’ll probably have to compromise on a few things. This is true to an extent. As long as you’re reasonable with what you want, there’s no reason you can’t find the perfect one out of the homes for sale in Lafayette. You may have to do a couple of the updates yourself, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because you’ll get to choose exactly what you want. Problems arise when you begin looking for a house whose current owner has the exact same aesthetics as you. You’re never going to find this (or at the very least, it’s highly unlikely you will), so just look for homes for sale in Lafayette with structural must-haves that also has some decent updates throughout.
Making a strong offer on homes for sale in Lafayette
When you find your house it’s time to make an offer. If it’s a house you expect will go fast, don’t hesitate on making an offer. Realtors need approximately two hours to get the paperwork ready to submit to the seller’s agent. So if you know the property is hot, and expect it to get multiple offers, tell your agent to get the paperwork ready that day. Many people have lost out on houses because they didn’t fully understand the home buying process. As part of your offer process, we’ll review disclosures, check comparable homes in the neighborhood, and reach out to other agents with listings in the area to see how active the market is.To make your offer stronger than other potential buyers, there are a few things you can do.
1) Consider offering more than the asking price if the value of the home warrants it. Your offer will stand well above others trying to secure the same home for sale in Lafayette. We can help you make an educated offer to make sure it’s priced right and within a market of similar inventory.
2) Make the inspection for informational purpose only, which means you won’t ask the seller to fix anything or lower their price after reviewing the report. A lot of people hesitate on this, but there’s no reason. You can get around it by taking a contractor with you during the showing; in fact, we partner with a licensed contractor who can come along and give you renovation ideas. This way you’ll know there aren’t any foundation problems or other major issues. Then, when you do your formal inspection on a home for sale in Lafayette, you’ll know there’s nothing to worry about.
3) The larger down payment you can make, the better. This shows that you are 100% committed to buying the house. Contracts often fall through because of financial reasons, and when they do it can be quite aggravating for sellers because they have to go through the whole rigmarole of putting up their homes for sale in Lafayette. (which means more cleaning, more spontaneous showings, and more open houses). It’s not fun, to say the least. Show them you’re serious by committing in writing to a large down payment.
4) Be mindful of contingencies, as these can be unappealing to a seller. If you need a contingency for a loan, make it for 7 days rather than 17 days. You could also consider not including an appraisal contingency if your down payment is large enough, especially if there will likely be multiple offers.
*Important! If the seller agrees to your offer, you will have to make an earnest money deposit. An earnest money deposit is usually around 3% of your offer. So if the house is $500,000, your earnest money deposit would be $15,000. Make sure you have the cash ready to pay that!
Closing on your new home
The time it takes to close on your new home can vary, but plan on it taking about 30 days after your contract is finalized. If you’re renting, hopefully, you’re on a month to month state, otherwise, you may have to move all of your stuff into storage to avoid paying for another full month at your apartment (because buying a new house never quite lines up with moving out of your old home). Bunk up with old friends, go on a road trip or book an Airbnb somewhere in the interim. If you’re selling your current home, timing can be tricky with so many parties involved in both transactions. Your real estate agent can help you with all the intricacies of buying and selling at the same time.
When the time comes, you’ll do one final walk-through with your agent about five days before the closing is scheduled. This is necessary because there are some crazy people out there. The horror stories that could be listed would astound you, but there’s no point in getting into it. Do the walk-through and make sure everything is as it should be. No worries because it will be.
On the day of closing on your home for sale in Lafayette, you’ll sign dozens of pages of paperwork with a notary at a location convenient to you, like your home or office. The process takes quite a while, so come up with a quick, unique initial and stick with it. Once you’ve signed everything it’s finally time. Your agent will hand you the keys to your new home, and then it’s time to call up all of your old college buds to help you move in– or you could just pay someone. You’re now officially a grown up with a new house, after all. Congratulations!