HOW TO BUY A HOUSE IN VIRGINIA BEACH: THE 10 STEPS TOWARDS HOME OWENERSHIP
STEP 1: MEETING WITH THE REALTOR TO DISCUSS HOME BUYING PROCESS.
The best way to start your New home purchase is to choose a real estate professional; they are sometimes called Realtor or real estate agents. During your meeting, I will explain to you the whole process from the start to the end. This is very important especially for the first time home buyers. During the meeting you will be able to explain your future home preferences so we can start planning a home search for you. I will also introduce you to the loan officer to help you start on home purchase.
STEP 2: BUYER OBTAINS PRE-QUALIFICATION LETTER FROM THE LENDER.
Why do buyers need pre-approval letter? Getting pre-approved with the lender helps you as a Buyer to achieve the following:
– Determine your price range for your new home purchase;
– Plan your finances for future home ownership;
– Determine your comfort level of how much you want to spend on your new home;
– Prove to the Seller that you are a qualified Buyer for their home;
– All sides consider you as a serious Buyer and make it easier to preview homes that are on your list. Many of the Sellers require their homes to be viewed by the pre-qualified Buyers only.
This step can be quick and very easy, it can be completed within 20 minutes just with a simple phone interview with the loan officer; and the pre-qualification letter will be emailed to you shortly. If a Buyer’s situation is a little more complicated, it may take some time to get your finances ready for the new home purchase. That is why you truly need to speak to a loan officer in the very beginning of the process. I work with multiple people such as Stacey Seim Team at Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. The teams I work with will help and advise you correctly on how to reach your goals.
STEP 3: NEW HOME SEARCH.
When you start your search of the homes for sale in Virginia Beach it is very important to determine the difference between your needs and wants. For example, you have 2 kids, so definitely need a three bedroom house, but you would want to have an extra bedroom for the time when you have parents visiting or it would be nice to have an extra bedroom for the playroom. The price will be different for three bedroom house vs four bedroom house in Virginia Beach. You may consider previewing four bedroom townhouses in Virginia Beach vs three bedroom single family homes. It is always helpful to select five the most important facts that you absolutely have to have for your new home: criteria like, school district or location, type of the home you are hunting for (single family home, townhouse, condo, etc.), number of bedrooms/baths, size of the yard, condition of the house (renovated or needs repairs).
Answer questions honestly
When you honestly answer those questions to yourself, when you are able to clearly separate your needs and wants, and communicate those to your Realtor, the home search will be well planned. This will eliminate all those disappointments of wasting time on previewing homes that do not fall into your personal criteria.
STEP 4: SUBMIT AN OFFER.
You found the New home that feels right and you are becoming excited about moving in the one that you may possibly live your whole life and collect the memories. The excitement is growing bringing all kind of the emotions. It is time to act and act fast. The houses in good condition in demanded areas go under contract fast. I will set up customized home search just for you based on your personal criteria; you will be watching like a hawk every new home coming on the market. If you like it, preview it immediately and submit an offer right away. It can be a little stressful but if you are quick you will get what you want.
Here to Help
I am there to help you to do those steps. Rely on your Realtor expertise when you submit an offer, but also be sure that this is the right home for you and your family. When I say “act fast” it means be aggressive only if you think this is the right home for you. If you have doubts, but you feel like you may lose an opportunity, I recommend waiting for the right home, it will be there for you.
STEP 5: NEGOTIATIONS AND CONTRACT ACCEPTANCE.
After you submit an offer, the Seller may respond you immediately or take time for couple days or even longer. Your offer acceptance depends on couple factors:
Factors for acceptance
– Seller is motivated to sell or just kind of “testing the waters”;
– The house just got on the market or it has been on the market for a while;
– How many other offers you are competing against;
– Is your offer competitive with other offers; the low ball offers usually get rejected unless the house is on the market for quite a long time and a motivated Seller will accept the low offer;
– Is this area in high demand and homes sell quickly or it takes a while to sell the home.
This is the time when you need to keep your calm no matter how bad you want the house. Your emotions may interfere with a good deal negotiations; always be prepared to walk away from a deal; always remember there will be another one for me. Stay on top of the game and do not lose your negotiation power. That is why you need a good Realtor to help you gain confidence in the market knowledge, so if your offer is fair, you will stand your ground.
Congratulations! You have a ratified contract!
STEP 6: LOAN APPLICATION.
Just remember that the transaction clock has started its count. Your Realtor will make sure that you have submitted your EMD (Earnest Money Deposit) check on time. It is time to get really busy. According to your purchase agreement (for Virginia), after your contract has been ratified you have seven days to apply for loan. Most of the buyers do it right away; please, do not wait a minute, be proactive and a good Realtor will help you to be on top of all the steps. The lender will be constantly asking you all kind of papers to prove one or another. This is truly a time to be patient and business like. Get your organizing skills in place and do what the loan officer tells you to do if you want that house.
STEP 7: HOME INSPECTIONS, NEGOTIATIONS, CONTINGENCIES.
If you think that you get your deal done by having your contract ratified you are truly mistaken. I have seen so many deals fell through for so many reasons. These are couple examples why some purchase agreements do not close:
– Home inspection identified too many issues with the house;
– The Seller and the Buyer could not agree on the repairs;
– The termite/moisture inspection did not go well and the Buyer does not want to run into the risk of buying the house that may be seriously damaged by the termites or moisture;
– The repairs are too big for both sides. For example, the house needs to be completely rewired, or new plumbing piping installed, new roof, etc.;
– Seller did not complete the agreed upon repairs;
– The Buyer did not get his financing (loan) approved;
– If you purchase a house that a part of POA (Property Owner Association) or Condominium Association, you may not like some of their bylaws and you may choose to walk away from the house before it is too late.
STEP 8: TITLE SEARCH.
You have managed to go through loan approval, appraisal, and home inspections. Things are going well and all the contingencies soon are to be removed. It is time to do the title search. Some buyers choose to do business with Title Companies. I recommend my clients to do the closing with the real estate law firm. They use reliable professionals to perform title search for the property you are purchasing. Make sure that you do purchase the Title Insurance just in case couple years later you will suddenly have unknown previous owner disputing your ownership. Believe me, the law firm that did your title search and closing for you will fight hard for your rights to keep your home. You will be surprised how often the title issues arise.
STEP 9: CONTINGENCIES REMOVAL.
I googled the definition of “Contingency”: A contingency is a provision in a real estate contract that specifies the contract would cease to exist upon the occurrence of a certain event. Example: “This contract is contingent upon Buyer successfully obtaining a mortgage loan at an interest rate of 6% or lower.” To say it in a simpler way, you can buy this house if certain conditions “contingencies” will be resolved or removed. These are the contingencies that commonly exist while buying a house:
– Financing contingency, if the Buyer gets his loan approved the contingency is removed;
– Appraisal contingency, the appraised value of the property has to be the same or higher compared to the price the property being purchased for (contract price);
– Home inspection contingency is removed when agreed upon repairs are completed by the Seller;
– Termite/moisture inspection contingency is removed if no damage found or required treatment/repairs are completed;
– Title contingency is removed if the property is being transferred with clear marketable title.
Depending on the specifics of the home and the transaction additional contingencies may exist. Just remember, home cannot be yours until both sides come to complete agreement.
STEP 10: CLOSING.
Obviously, both sides came to complete agreement, the Seller wanted to sell and the Buyer wanted to buy. Both sides are excited to reach the finish line – Seller to collect the check, Buyer to pick up the key! It is time for new home beginnings! Congratulations!