You have decided to take on the critical decision of buying a home. However, you are a first-time homebuyer, and you feel lost and overwhelmed with so much information. First, take a deep breath and try to relax.
Buying a home is not a straightforward process, but it is one of the most rewarding accomplishments you can have as an adult. The first steps are to find an experienced real estate agent and a qualified home mortgage professional because they are going to be your most valuable help in getting the house of your dreams.
Going into the Escrow Process
Getting pre-approved by a lender and finding the house you love are just some of the steps that are part of the home buying process. However, these steps are only the beginning of the home-buying process, and it is worth knowing what comes ahead, in case the seller accepts your offer.
In this case, everyone around you will start talking about escrow, escrow company and the escrow process, which in summary, is the processing of gathering all documents and procedures necessary for the house to be yours.
The escrow process usually takes 30 days, from the moment the seller accepts your offer. The process can move quicker if you are available to supply documents to your Loan Originator faster. However, delays can happen, and it is always good to talk to your real estate / Loan originator to learn what can create delays in this process. Regardless of the length, the escrow process is made of a few steps in the following order:
- Seller Accepts & Signs the Offer: The escrow process starts as soon as the seller accepts and signs the offer.
- Make the Escrow Deposit: The title company will need an amount that varies from one state to another, to open escrow. This amount goes towards the down payment for the home.
- Order Home Inspection and Other Inspections: As soon as escrow starts, the buyer must start the home inspections. Inspections include home inspection and other inspections such as pest inspection and mold inspection. The buyer pays for this cost.
- Negotiate Problems: After the inspections’ results, then is time to negotiate with the seller about repairs or adjustments on the sale price due to repairs needed.
- Title Company: In the meantime, the title company will be working on the house title search to make sure there are no leans against the property or any other legal issues.
- Lender: Your Loan Originator / lender will be sending you a Loan Estimate which explains all costs included in the closing costs, will order a home appraisal to make sure you are paying the market’s fair price and will get home insurance for the house. This assessment is also a cost paid by the buyer.
- Lender’s Requests: Your lenders will also start requesting from you documents to prove your financial ability to pay back the loan such as bank statements, tax returns, and any other documents that are relevant for the loan.
- Monitoring of Finances: During escrow, your lender will be watching your finances very close to make sure your credit score stays the same and to make sure you do not get into any more debts. During escrow, it is imperative NOT to apply for new credit cards, NOT to increase any debt and NOT to start any new debts.
- Walk-Through: A few days before the closing day, you will be asked to do a walk -through the property to make sure everything is in order with the property.
- Wire Down Payment Funds: The days before and sometimes on the same day of the closing day, you will be asked to wire the down payment amount to the title company.
- Closing Day Signing Papers: The closing day is usually scheduled a week or two ahead of time. You should free up to four hours of your day for signing the papers, just in case there are some delays. Documents to sign include the documents for your home loan and documents for the house title.
- Pick Up the Keys: Picking up your keys will be your last step. Sometimes keys are with the title company, sometimes your real estate agent has them. Either way, they are your keys to your house.
The Rewards of Not Giving Up
Buying a house is very rewarding, and it brings stability and a sense of security to you and your family. Nevertheless, it is a process that many people are not prepared or are not informed about the home buying process. Buyers can find themselves frustrated and sometimes even give up on their plans only for the lack of information. Do not put yourself in this same situation and be as informed as possible in this important life milestone.
If you have decided to move forward with your home buying plan, contact us today to take advantage of our years of experience in assisting consumers in the mortgage process and finding the best rate and program that meets your needs. Our goal is to help you through this process and make it as simple as possible.
WikiHow (n.d.). How to Close on a House. WikiHow. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Close-on-a-House
Elizabeth Weintraub (Jul. 30, 2017.). How Long Does the Home Closing Process Take to Close? The Balance. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/the-home-closing-process-1798319
Amy Fontinelle (Jul. 31, 2008.). Understanding the Escrow Process. Investopedia. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/closing-escrow-process.asp