Step 1. Interview Realtors.
Find an agent that will work for you.
Schedule a meeting and ask questions. This is the single most important purchase you will make in your life. Make sure you working with an agent that will represent you to their best ability. Some questions to Ask: references from their most recent buyers. How many homes they sell each year? Is this a full time career? How they will communicate with you? How they get paid? Do they have Lender recommendations for you? Use this meeting to tell them what you are looking for in the perfect home- give them some ideas of what you like so they can start searching for you. Once you find a great agent you can move onto the next step!
Step 2. Find a lender.
I know after finding the perfect Realtor you will be ready to spend the day looking at all the homes you pulled up on the websites. You want to see them in person and make sure you like at least one of them before you go to the bank to get pre-approved for a home. But, BEFORE you start the fun process of house shopping you need to know how much money you have to spend. It only makes sense that you would visit with a lender first. What if the homes you are looking at are out of your price range? What if you could go a little higher and have more options? You should always get a pre-approval before you start house shopping. Your lender will tell you how much you might need for a down payment, how much your monthly payments might be, what kind of loans might be available to you, if you might qualify for any grants available (City of Fort Smith, HELP), and what price range you should look in. And, with a pre-approval letter you immediately make your offer stronger when you have proof of financial means- especially if you are in a multiple offer situation. Get pre-approved and now you are ready to find your next home!
Step 3. House Shop.
Now that you know what price range you are comfortable with you can start shopping! Call your chosen agent and schedule a time to go over your wants and needs. Make your list and schedule a day to view them! You need to give your agent time to set up appointments. I always suggest that a buyer not see more than 6-8 homes in one day (Unless time is limited). If you see more than 8 it could get confusing. When looking at homes be sure to take notes or you will forget which home had the amazing pantry! Always keep a top 3 list going. When looking at homes feel free to open closets, open cabinets, thoroughly look at the home. The sellers want to sell and you want to buy- so do not feel bad about nosing through their stuff. Once you find the ONE, start the negotiation! If you sleep on it, you may not sleep in it!
Step 4. Make an offer!
Now that you are pre-approved, you have an agent, and you have found the perfect home. It is time to get your next home under contract! Let your agent negotiate for you. Your agent will walk you through the steps from contract to closing day. In Arkansas, Realtors use attorney approved forms for all transaction related items. This helps you as a buyer. The contracts easily lay out the steps of the process for both the seller and the buyer. Once your home is under contract you can start making plans for closing day!
Step 5. Closing day!
Relax and enjoy the moment! The hard work of moving is about to begin! Congratulations on being a homeowner!