“What do I need to do to buy a house?” This is the questions I get from most of my customers, when they call me the first time.

This is a very good question. It’s really hard to know all the details and steps involved in purchasing Columbus OH homes for sale, if you are not involved in real estate on a daily basis – and most of you are probably not.

I will try to summarize the home buying process in seven simple steps. This will get you started. If you have more questions – and I bet you will – then give me a call and I’ll help you along.

So, let’s get started:

  1. Proof of Financing: This is the most important pre-requisite for buying a house. If you don’t have the money to buy or you can’t get financing there is no reason to go house hunting. Proof of funding could be in the form of a bank statement, if you have cash in the bank, or you can get a pre-approval letter from a bank or mortgage lender. If you never worked with a lender, call me first. I can refer you to a number of excellent loan officers.
  2. List of Requirements: Create a wish list of everything you are looking for in a home. This includes the area you want to live in, the school district, the size of the house (bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage), if you need a yard, a basement, a garage, and most importantly what price range you can afford. Once you settle on an area, drive around the subdivisions to get a good idea of the houses available. Also, write down the addresses of homes listed for sale.
  3. Get a Columbus Real Estate Agent: I recommend you go with a full time professional realtor. This does not cost you anything – he/she will be paid by the seller when you close. You want someone who closes many transactions and has experience representing buyers. Most agents just list properties and do deal with buyers. Your second cousin who got a license a while ago and sold a single house last year may not be the best choice. If you don’t work with a realtor, yet, please give me a call. I promise you will get the best service and most attention.
  4. House Hunting: Your realtor will send or email you listings that match your requirements (from the wishlist in 2.)  Take a look at these listings on the internet. Most listings come with pictures, maybe even videos and digital walk-throughs. Choose the top 5 listings and ask your agent to schedule showings. When you walk through houses you may want to bring a camera and a notepad. After looking at 5 homes you may get confused about the special features each of them offers.  It usually takes 5 to 15 showings (maybe 3 trips) to find a house that meets your criteria. Sometimes you will have to be a little flexible – the perfect house does not always exist in your price range and area.
  5. Writing an Offer: Most likely there will be one or two Columbus houses you like. You can invision yourself living there and already make plans on how to arrange the furniture.  This is a sign that you need to write an offer. Your real estate agent will have a standard contract and can advise you on property values in the area. An experienced realtor will also be able to give you a good estimate of what the seller will accept. Your realtor will also recommend contract terms, such as inspection periods and other contingencies. The real estate agent submits your offer to the seller’s agent and helps you respond to a possible counter offer.
  6. Property Inspection: Once a contract is signed you will go back to your lender and submit the final paperwork to get you loan approved. The bank will order an appraisal, survey, and a title policy – you won’t have to worry about that. However, you should schedule a property inspection to make sure there are no hidden defects in the house. Your real estate agent can help you find an experienced inspector and schedule the inspection with the seller. A good realtor will be at the inspection with you. It usually takes 2 to 3 hours, but it’s definitely worth your time. You will learn a lot about your new home when you walk through it with the property inspector. You will get the inspection report a couple days later. Your realtor should review it with you and may recommend to ask for remedies from the seller, if there are safety concerns.
  7. The Closing: This is the final step in your home purchase. After a successful inspection and appraisal, your agent will schedule a closing at a title company.  This is where sellers and buyers meet sign all documents to finalize the transfer of the property and where you will sign the loan documents, if you get bank financing. The title company will insure that you buy the property free and clear of any liens. They will also record your deed to the home and the mortgage you sign for your lender. A typical closing takes half an hour to an hour, and your agent and your loan officer will be there to assist you with any final questions. When all is signed you will get the keys to your new house.

That’s it. It may be confusing, but don’t worry. If you work with me, I will make sure that your home purchase experience is not stressful and that everything goes smoothly.

Thanks for reading the susannenovak.com Blog!
Posted by: Susanne Novak, ABR, FIS, GRI
Columbus Real Estate Agent helping First Time Buyers.
(614) 975-9650