If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may be overwhelmed by the different steps in the process. Wooden Law Firm is here to outline each detail and make sure the process is as smooth as possible for you and your family. Purchasing a home can be intimidating, but it all breaks down to a set of steps. Hiring an experienced real estate lawyer can ensure the process runs smoothly from beginning to end.
Below are the main facets involved when buying and selling a home.
1. Identify the Right Space
Major factors like cost, location and the curb appeal of a home can go into making it a winner or loser in the buyer’s eyes. Cost alone is a big factor because closing costs can decrease dramatically if the buyer wants to bypass a mortgage and pay for a home outright. However, in most cases, potential homebuyers will need to get pre-approval on a mortgage with a lender to see what kind of home they can afford. We would recommend putting a minimum of 20% down on a home to avoid PMI insurance.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
If signing up for a mortgage, the lender must give a good faith estimate (GFE) that outlines the buyer’s expected loan costs. This could include any fees taken on from lenders, titles, third-party vendors, the government and attorneys. At Wooden Title & Escrow, we have long-standing relationships with reliable Mortgage lenders as well as Real Estate Agents so that we can work with clients to make the home-buying process as easy as possible.
3. Shop Around & Find Your Dream Home
Once the buyer(s) have been pre-approved for a mortgage, it’s time to shop! Most sign on with a real estate agent at this point to help them cover more ground and find the right home for their needs and budget. After a buyer finds their perfect home, the real estate agent will draft an offer to purchase and start the real estate closing process.
4. Real Estate Closing Process
Once the offer is in motion, the buyers and sellers typically bring in legal help. Real estate lawyers are essential on both sides to make sure everyone is honest and that the money is handled appropriately. The real estate lawyers will be responsible for holding all the money and documents necessary for the transaction until the process is complete. In most cases, we recommend having a separate lawyer for each party (buyer & seller) – there isn’t really any cost saving in having the same lawyer handling both.
From here, the real estate lawyer(s) will set the following tasks in motion:
- Title search – This basically yields all of the records and documents that are relative to the property. The lawyer will inspect the records and make sure there are no title defects, liens against the property or other issues.
- Home Inspection – these are critical, and required for those getting a mortgage. Make sure to have a home and pest inspection done by an inspector who is completely independent of the selling party.
- Closing Documents – once the negotiations are finalized, our real estate lawyers prepare the closing documents that include land transfer. From here, the buyers do a final walk-through and, if everything looks good, they move forward with closing on the property by signing purchase and mortgage documents.
During the closing process, the real estate lawyer meets with the buyer and seller and reviews all the documents as well as has them sign the legal documents needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need title insurance?
Yes. At Wooden Title & Escrow, we know all too well how often a Title can look clean upon initial search and then issues pop up throughout the process. Title insurance covers costs if issues arise. Read more about Title Insurance.
Do I need homeowner’s insurance?
It’s pretty standard practice to get homeowners insurance to insure a new home, belongings and more to ensure protection should a disaster arise. In most cases, a mortgage lender will require proof of insurance before finalizing the loan.
Will I pay property taxes?
At the closing, the seller will credit the property taxes that are due from the beginning of the year up to the closing date. If the taxes are currently due, the buyer may be required to pay the full amount out of closing. If the seller originally paid for the entire year, the buyer would pay the seller the prorated property taxes.
If you are looking to buy or sell your home and need Real Estate Attorney services, contact our team today. Wooden Title & Escrow has extensive experience serving homeowners in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.