Talk to a lender about a pre-qualification or pre-approval. The pre-qualification or pre-approval will tell you exactly how much house you can afford, how much down payment you will need for a specific home and how much the bank is willing to lend. Some agents require you to be pre-qualified prior to even showing you property, and you will have to have a pre-qual letter in order to submit an offer on a home.
Talk to a REALTOR® and begin your home search. Your agent will be able to find properties that fit your needs and wants, in your price range based on a search of the MLS and on their knowledge of the area.
You’ve found a property that you want so it’s time to submit an offer. Your agent will draw up the paperwork. You will also need your pre-qual letter (see step 1), and an earnest money deposit. This deposit is part of your down payment that shows good faith and that you are serious about this transaction. Your agent will deposit it with escrow once the seller has approved your offer. Proof of funds (bank statement) might also be required to prove you can pay for the property or deposit.
Once your offer has been accepted by the seller, your agent will “Open Escrow”. They will send all paperwork and your earnest money deposit to the title company. The title company will start to get all of the legal paperwork completed for the transfer of property and will pull a title report to make sure there are no liens affecting the property.
Escrow is open, now it’s time to start getting all of your inspections scheduled and completed (your agent will assist) and if you haven’t already, applied for your mortgage. Everything from here on out will be on a time table so be sure to stay available to both your REALTOR® and the Escrow/Title company in case they have questions or need an additional signature. You will be issued title insurance, all inspections will be completed and your loan will be funded in this time-period. You might want to also think of packing while you’re at it.
Escrow has everything they need and the deed is recorded! Congratulations! The property is yours! Get your keys from your agent and start moving in!