No matter the reason - growing family, marriage, new job or retirement - it’s exciting when you decide now is the time for a new home. For buyers, it can be an intimating process. How do you start? Who can you contact? How much can you afford? Fortunately, Ruhl&Ruhl provides trusted real estate advisors and resources to help buyers with every step of the process.
Start the Process
When you start the process, you should consider your needs, wants and understand what your priorities are. Where do you want to live? What type of house do you want? What features of a home are absolutely necessary to you? Take some time to gather your housing needs and put your 'wish list' on paper. Before you start your search, think about your timeline. Are there reasons you need to purchase quickly or do you have more time?
Feeling overwhelmed already? Don’t be! Choose a Realtor to help you start the process. A Ruhl&Ruhl sales associate will sit down with you and your family and walk you through these buyer questions to help identify your top needs and priorities. This will be the baseline for everything moving forward - your Realtor and your needs. Choose a Realtor that will listen, give sound advice and that you work well with. They will not only help you start the process, but will be your guide throughout.
It’s not time to start looking just yet! The next steps include understanding how much you can afford, reviewing market conditions with your Realtor and researching areas in which you are interested in living.
Getting a mortgage pre-approval* is the perfect next step for buyers. Your Ruhl Mortgage loan officer will review your credit profile based on a credit report and personal credit information you supply. This process not only lets you know exactly what you can afford before you start shopping for your dream home, it also puts you in a stronger negotiating position with the sellers. Your pre-approval letter, attached to your offer to purchase, may give you the edge in a competitive situation.
From there, the next steps are to review what’s happening in the market. Your Realtor will explain what type of market it is locally and how that will impact you as a buyer. For example, it may be a buyers’ market, which means there are more homes for sale and can result in lower average prices. Our markets in eastern Iowa and western Illinois tend to be more stable, with fewer tendencies to grow or decline too quickly.
Once you have an idea how the local real estate market is performing, you can examine specific neighborhoods and identify where you would like to ideally start your search. You may get lucky and find the neighborhood of your dreams right away. However, you’re far more likely to end up evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of several neighborhoods while trying to decide which meets your needs and has a home that meets your criteria. Buying a home when you have budgetary constraints involves making tradeoffs. When push comes to shove and you have to choose a place to live, you must decide what is most important to you.
* Pre-approval is conditional.
90 percent of people start their property search online. Click here to start your property search! In every market there are a vast number of properties for sale, and finding the one that meets your needs can sometimes be challenging. To assist in your property search, Ruhl&Ruhl offers Ruhl Premier Access, a suite of tools which includes Personal Shopper - giving you access to be the first to know when properties are available. Personal Shopper saves you time by emailing you new listings that meet your search criteria. Click here to register for Ruhl Premier Access and get your Personal Shopper working for you.
Your Realtor may find properties you may be interested in and set up home showings of properties that are for sale. You can also contact your Realtor to show you homes you find during your property search online or attend open houses of those homes you may be interested in.
Once you identify the home you wish to buy, it’s time to make the offer. During this process your sales associate will take you step-by-step through the buyer or purchase contract and what each section means. At this point it will be up to you to make a decision and sign the contract to formally make the offer. Then your Realtor will go to work negotiating the offer with the listing agent and seller. Remember that buying a home is an emotional experience for most people. The better job you do of controlling your emotions, the more likely you are to control the transaction and get a good deal.
The purchase contract is the most important document in the sale of real estate. The contract sets the terms and conditions that the seller and buyer agree to. Furthermore, it specifies the price the buyer is willing to pay. A well-written contract, which is available through your Ruhl&Ruhl Realtor, is designed to protect both the buyer and seller.
Be sure to review the seller disclosure of property information carefully before writing your offer. The purchase contract will save you money if written properly. The contract can be used in your favor to protect you from costly terms and conditions that a seller can dictate. A professional Ruhl&Ruhl sales associate is key to negotiating the terms and conditions specified in the purchase contract. After you and your agent have specified these terms, the agent will present the contract to the seller and his/her sales associate. The presentation the agent makes can make a big difference as to whether your offer is accepted.
Once the offer is submitted to a seller, they may accept the offer, reject it, or present a counter offer. It is important not to get emotionally attached to the property during the negotiating process so you do not over pay and can set the terms for a better deal. Your Realtor also may perform a Comparative Market Analysis on the property you wish to purchase to ensure you are paying market value for the home.
The offer will also include contingencies, inspections and then financing is worked out with your loan officer. You may also discuss with your Realtor including a home warranty on the property you will be purchasing.
The final step is closing the deal. A closing takes place at an attorney’s office or a title company of your choice. When all the applicable paperwork has been signed, notarized and recorded at the County Recorder’s Office, the keys are handed over to you. Title to the property is conveyed to you through a recorded deed. After the closing, the mortgage servicer collects your monthly payments and handles your escrow account.
Congrats! You now own a home! Now you may need a variety of home services from an electrician to lawn care. Ruhl&Ruhl Home Services Vendors will save you from spending hours tracking down professional, reliable and quality companies and then having to make all the calls and arrangements with each of them. Click here to view approved vendors in your area or contact Customer Service at 866.441.1776 with any questions.
Information provided should not be considered as a commitment to lend. Offer subject to property and credit approval. Program and other restrictions may apply. Please contact your Loan Consultant for further details. 1228 Middle Road, Bettendorf, IA 52722. Illinois Residential Mortgage License. ©2015 Ruhl Mortgage. NMLS#935629.