From making a deposit to getting the keys, we’re with you every step of the way!
You’ve done it! You’ve made an offer on the house of your dreams, and it’s been accepted. So, what comes next?
You’re now ready to enter the actual purchasing phase of the home buying process, and we’re here to help you through it with this step-by-step guide. Above all, just remember that you’ve got this!
1. Make an earnest deposit.
Within 72 hours of the offer being accepted, you will need to make what’s called an earnest money deposit. Depending on the state, the deposit will either go to a title company or the seller’s broker. This is a good-faith deposit that is held jointly by the buyer and seller in an escrow account and is typically 1% to 2% of the purchase price. “It makes the seller feel comfortable taking the property off of the market,” says Berenice Perez, Bungalo Mortgage’s Vice President, Consumer Experience.
Having trouble making this deposit so soon after an accepted offer? Don’t stress, just let your realtor know, advises Perez. Often they and the seller can negotiate the timing.
Bungalo’s digital platform has a service that guides you through each step of the home buying process, including when exactly you need to provide your earnest money deposit.
2. Focus on the financing.
It’s time to get back in touch with your loan officer (remember the person who helped you get pre-approved earlier on in the process?). “Tell them, ‘I have a contract and want to get the loan process started,’” advises Perez. The mortgage lender will then provide you with a list of documents and conditions that he or she will need to process your loan—this will include documents like pay stubs and tax returns. Gather what you need, and alert your loan officer if there are any complications.
3. Complete an inspection.
Because your agent gets paid when you sell the house, Perez stresses that you may want to be independent when it comes to the inspection step—after all, you want someone who will be thorough, even if it means there may be a delay on closing the deal. “Your agent can give you a referral, but you can definitely handle this yourself. Ask people for recommendations of home inspectors in your area,” she says. Aside from asking friends and relatives, we’ve also found it’s helpful to join any Facebook groups associated with the neighborhood you’re moving to. Members are area residents and are often happy to make recommendations and offer advice.
Once you find an inspector, work with your real estate agent to make the appointment. Your agent should be present during the inspection (though, ideally, the seller shouldn’t be home). A home inspector will check the condition of the property, including the foundation, plumbing, heating and roof—essentially making sure the bones of the house are good. After they deliver their report, you’ll be armed with critical information. So, say the inspection reveals the roof is only good for one more year, but the seller didn’t previously disclose that info. “If you made a bid with the assumption that the home was in good condition, you can renegotiate,” says Perez, who says you should present the report to the owner. Sometimes it will be a price reduction, and other times the seller will make the repairs.
Remember: A Bungalo home is certified, so you don’t have to worry about might turn up during a home inspection.
4. Get the property appraised.
A licensed appraiser makes a determination of the property’s market value based on recent sales of similar properties in the area. It’s basically an educated opinion but is necessary information for your mortgage lender who must know if your soon-to-be home has a fair price tag and is worth what the seller is asking. Your lender will likely contract with the appraiser (or use someone in-house), though you are required to pay for it and usually costs between $300-$400.
5. Start looking for homeowner’s insurance.
While it may seem premature to purchase insurance on a home you do not technically own yet, Perez stresses that now is the time. Homeowners insurance is required if you are mortgaging your home. “Keep in mind that the insurance company may ask for a copy of the appraisal,” she says.
Check out Homeowners Insurance Explained for a better understanding of the importance of homeowner’s insurance and how to get the best policy.
6. You are now clear to close.
You are almost there! Once you have submitted all of the documents requested by the mortgage lender, you will be given a clear to close, which is a final loan approval. When this happens, the lender will send you the closing disclosure, a final number and breakdown of all costs—including closings costs and with your earnest deposit listed as a credit. This number is the amount of funding you will need at the final closing.
7. Take a cooling off period.
Although you are eager and ready to close, the lender has to wait three days from when you are given final loan approval to schedule your signing. “It is intended to be a time to do a final review of all documentation,” says Perez. It is also time to start breathing a sigh of relief.
8. Welcome to the big day.
It’s closing day! This is when the property is signed over to you, you sign all mortgage documents, and submit a bank check for the different closing costs. “Depending on the state you’re in, they can give you the keys right away or it may take 24 hours after signing,” says Perez.
Congratulations—you are now a homeowner. Time to get packing!