By Aleta Boudreaux, Broker. Azalea Real Estate Agency

It doesn’t matter if you are a first time home buyer or a seasoned home owner, the first thing you should do is to get pre-qualified for a loan.  There are many mortgage lenders and banks that are willing to help you without cost. Most will take an application over the telephone and let you know within 24 hours or less if you qualify for a home loan. 

Based on your employment, income, expenses and credit score a lender can tell you what range of homes you can afford to purchase and what type of loan that would best suit you. Armed with this information and a letter of prequalification from the lender, you can start looking for a home with the confidence that you could purchase a property with little trouble.

With all the modern technology it is easy to look for a home on the internet or you can call a local real estate professional to get a listing of homes in the area you wish to live.

You can easily search for homes within your price range and style, along with the amenities you want like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Some of the other websites to cruise are Zillow.com and REALTOR.com. Use this link to search for homes.

After you find properties you think you will like, choose a real estate agent who can show the houses. They will help you negotiate the purchase of the one you like the best. The real estate agent should explain to you how she, or he, will represent you.  They can represent the seller, the buyer, both the seller and the buyer (with approval from both parties) or simply oversee the transaction. Make sure you understand the difference. Typically the agent will get paid by the selling broker for their work when the sale is closed.

Once representation is settled the agent will write up a purchase agreement to present to the seller. The purchase agreement spells out the price you want to pay for the home, the type of loan you intent to acquire and the specifics of the purchase, the name you want to have on your deed, who pays for what and when you will take occupancy of the property.

With a typical home purchase, closing costs are negotiable. Either the seller or the buyer can pay for them.

For example you may want to ask for the seller to provide a 1 year home warranty. These policies usually cover the appliances, HVAC, septic tank and other mechanical items for 1 year with the buyer paying the service call charge if something needs repair. A survey is good to have, but it may not be required by the lender.

A wood infestation report (WIR or termite letter) is usually required by the lender and it is a good idea to get a termite bond on the home at the same time because of the prevalence of Formosan termites in the South.

Typically the seller will pay whatever it takes to transfer the ownership and title to the property, like a deed, title insurance and prorated taxes. The buyer typically pays or finances whatever the lender requires for them to make the loan.

In today’s market it is not unusual to ask for the seller to pay a percentage of the buyer’s closing costs. This is called a seller concession. The seller can’t pay all the buyer’s closing costs, it depends on the type of loan you are getting and the amount you agree to pay for the house.  But can be a substantial amount. Remember the seller will have their own closing costs to pay.

An earnest money deposit may be requested at, or just after, the time you make your purchase agreement.  This earnest money deposit shows the seller that a buyer is serious about purchasing their property. When the transaction is finalized, the funds are put toward the buyer’s down payment or closing costs. These funds are usually refunded if the deal falls through but they can be kept if the buyer neglects to follow through with a purchase after all the terms are in compliance.

Once all the details of the purchase are negotiated, the lender will gather and submit all the necessary paperwork to their underwriter for your loan approval. Most loans take between 45 and 60 days from start to close.

Buying a home is an investment in your future.  With today’s interest rates still low it’s a great time to make that first step. At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from search to closing. Take advantage of our years of sales and marketing experience.

Visit www.alhomesandland.com  to preview homes or contact REALTOR© and sales agent/broker, Aleta Boudreaux at 251-656-4576 for more information on purchasing or selling a home in South Mobile County.

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2019