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Home Buying Checklist

Home Buying Checklist published on 5 Comments on Home Buying Checklist

Buying your first home can be a bit daunting. Heck, buying for the fifth time is still stressful! Here’s a list of steps to take to ensure that there are no freak out moments during your transaction.

1. Pre-qual and down payment. Before you even start your search, you should know your budget. How much cash do you have to put down? The full amount? Well, good for you! Can I borrow some? Talk to a bank or mortgage broker and find out how much they are willing to give you FIRST.  Chances are, you will need to provide proof of funds with your offer.

2. Get a good buyer’s agent. Well, if you live in NYC, you know that ain’t gonna happen. You’re on your own. Good luck. Not saying there aren’t good agents out there, but not all brokers like to share their commission. Kapeesh? So, you may have the bestest, most hardest working agent in the world, but she can get cut out of the deal if you happen to find that for sale by owner who won’t work with brokers. Outside of the boroughs, get yourself a good agent and relax.

3. You found a house? Hoorah! Ok, here’s the deal. At the time of this writing, things are cray-cray in Brooklyn once again. Bubbles! Maybe they’ll burst or maybe they won’t, but open houses are getting about 100 people in attendance and there have been multiple offers over ask. So, if you’re interested in a super popular location, expect to fight for it. Present a decent enough offer. If they bite…

4. Get that inspection done ASAP. Doesn’t mean a thing if they’ve accepted your offer. They’re not on the hook until the contracts are signed. Oh, did I mention that you should have chosen your attorney by this time? Go back to somewhere between steps 2 and 3 and do that.

5. More negotiations. There was probably some fierce negotiating back  when you were arguing over the price. Well, now that you know the house needs $80k worth of work over what you thought it did, it’s time to demand more. If your agreed upon price was as-is, don’t get greedy. If there’s nothing really wrong with the house and you just feel like haggling some more, don’t.

6. The lawyer. Depending on whether or not you have an agent, the lawyer usually doesn’t come into the picture until you come to an agreement. The seller’s attorney writes up the contract and sends it to your attorney. They change some things around just to strut their stuff. You sign. The sellers sign. Congratulations! You’re in contract!

7. Now you wait. The bank will be asking you for stuff. You’ll be looking at designs and getting names of contractors. Blah, blah, blah. All the while, you can stress out about bank appraisal, underwriting, title search.

* Jeopardy theme *

8.  Mortgage Commitment. Remember that pre-qual letter you got? Yeah, it didn’t really mean anything. The commitment letter from the bank is gold. This is the baby you’re waiting for.

9. Title search. You’re getting close! This is something your attorney orders when he/she knows everything is kosher. After these steps, you’re clear to close! Your attorney should be trying to save you a few bucks by seeing if there’s a recent existing survey instead of having to order another one.

10. Closing Date. You’ll wait for 2-3 months twiddling your thumbs and then you have a few days to scramble the last minute things together. Nope, you can’t get a head start and do them way in advance.

– Insurance
– Utilities
– Bank Check. You’ll get the exact numbers from your attorney the day before if you’re lucky. In some cases, you might be running from the bank to the closing with not a minute to spare.

11. Congratulations! You bought a house! And now the stress really begins….


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