Steps to Buying

1. Pre-qualification

To be best informed about how much you can afford to borrow for your home, you should be pre-qualified for a loan. Many banks offer pre-qualification applications on their websites, however, meeting your lender face to face gives you the opportunity to have your questions answered. First time home buyers should ask their bank about special low interest, no down payment loan programs, i.e. WHEDA and FSA Loans.

Your lender will ask you to bring the following items to your appointment: Depending on which loan program you are eligible for your bank may ask for more information after meeting with you.

Questions to ask your lender include: When lenders quote payment amounts they include principle and interest totals. The amount stated does not include real estate taxes or home owners insurance. Taxes can be calculated by dividing the amount of tax on the property information sheet by 12 – that is one month's payment amount. Insurance quotes can be obtained from your current insurance carrier.

If you do not have a 20% down payment most lenders require you to pay private mortgage insurance. The amount varies, based on the actual amount of your down payment and your credit risk. Credit risk is determined by your borrowing history - for example in the past have you made payments on time, or have you declared bankruptcy? Shop around, all these answers vary from lender to lender.

2. Searching for your home.

After you and your lender decide your price range, we can help define what you want in a home.

You should consider everything you desire to have; i.e. number of bedrooms, baths, garage, neighborhood etc. Share these details with your consultant. That will help them to better understand what to help you look for. Using your wish list as a guide, he or she will alert you of new and existing listings that have strong potential. If these listings interest you, your consultant will arrange home tours at your convenience.

3. Write offer

So you've found the right home! With your input, your agent will draft a written contract that outlines what needs to be done by both parties to execute the transaction. It is a legal document that can take some time to draft. After you sign the offer, it is presented to the seller by the listing agent.

The seller then has three options: When you've both agreed to all the details, the document becomes a legal agreement, binding for both parties.

4. Back to the bank.

You will have to formally apply for your loan.

5. Inspection

You have the option to have a Wisconsin licensed home inspector perform an inspection on your home. If you don't know an inspector, we can provide the names of several local inspectors for you to choose from. The cost of the inspection varies and is paid for by the buyer at the inspection.

6. Closing

Congratulations! The moment you've been anticipating has arrived. The closing is where home ownership is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. It is a formal meeting that most parties involved in the transaction will attend. Closings are usually held at your bank or at a title company. The closing officer will coordinate all the document-signing and the collection and disbursement of funds. A few days before your closing date, your lender will send you a final closing statement that outlines your closing costs, if applicable. If you are required to bring funds to closing a certified check is usually required.

Buyer Agency

In the traditional buying process, the consultant that is showing you homes is, according to the law, the seller's agent. While you must be treated fairly in your transactions, the agent is "representing the seller". In order to have an agent "work for you", a buyer must sign an agency contract with that agent. Without that contract, an agent cannot provide you with their price opinion, nor can they advise you on negotiating strategies.

The benefits of "Buyer Agency" are many. As a buyer's agent, we can give you our opinion of the seller's asking price. We can provide valuable information on the property, the neighborhood, the location, etc. We are able to negotiate your offer with your best interests in mind.

Questions for your consultant: