Buying a home in the Greater Philadelphia area or on the Main Line is an exciting life event. But even for the most experienced buyers, it may also seem like an overwhelming process that never ends.
Luckily, we have a complete step-by-step guide to help you navigate the nuances of Philly's market, so you'll know exactly what to expect as you buy your next home. Have questions? Contact us today to learn more about how we can ensure a stress-free transaction!
Step 1: Determine what you're looking for in a home
There are plenty of reasons to move to our area: a new job, more space, city excitement, suburban peace, a change of pace...the list never ends!
Everyone has their own unique housing needs, so it's crucial to sit down and determine what you're looking for in a town or city, a neighborhood, and a house. Outlining your wants and needs and pinpointing an ideal location can help you narrow down your options.
Of course, you also need to consider how much you're willing to spend on your home, as well as potential financing options. If you need help crunching some numbers, you can always get started with our mortgage calculator.
Step 2: Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Once you've got a rough estimate of what you can afford to spend each month on your mortgage, it's time to take your search a step forward. Getting pre-approved is a must for any buyer, and it's something you should do before you start seriously looking at homes.
Getting pre-approved may sound like a long process, but it's actually quite easy. Head to your preferred lender's website and upload the required information, such as paystubs and your social security number. Once you've filled out any forms, you'll hear back from the lender and get your pre-approval letter, which will detail how much they're willing to lend you. This loan offer is usually valid for 90 days.
Step 3: Let the search begin
Now it's time for the part you've been waiting for: the true beginning of your home search. Get ready to start scouring the latest area listings, attending open houses, and working with your agent to track down a property with all the features you need...in the right price range.
If you need a little help jumpstarting your search, sit down with your agent and go over your wants and needs. Don't forget to also check out our handy search tool if you want to search by price, location, school district, or feature.
Step 4: Make an offer
Once you've found the home of your dreams, it's time to make a formal offer to the seller. Your agent will work with you to present the best possible offer to purchase your home. They can even perform a comparative market analysis to help you know how much you should pay!
Once you've submitted your offer, the seller can accept it, reject it, or give you a counter offer. After negotiations are complete, you can further secure your offer to buy the home by depositing earnest money into an escrow account. This serves as a security deposit, and if the sale goes through, it will help to cover your closing costs.
Step 5: Filling out paperwork
Signing contracts and applications may seem boring, but it's one of the most important parts of the buying process!
If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to your agent or lawyer. They can help you cut through the jargon and understand what you're signing.
Step 6: Secure your financing
Most area homebuyers use a mortgage to pay for their home. You should already be pre-approved for your mortgage, which means all you have to do is submit a formal application. Make sure you know the number of years, interest rate, and amount of your loan. You can always reach out to your lender or agent with any questions.
Step 7: Get a home inspection
Even if you're buying new construction, you'll want to get an inspection to uncover any lingering problems in a home. A qualified inspector can tell you about fixes big or small, so you'll know if any repairs are needed before you move in. You may be able to request a credit or money off of the price depending on what needs to be fixed. The seller may also prefer to handle the repairs themselves.
Step 8: Closing on your home
Congrats—you've made it to the finish line! All that's left to do is attend your closing, sign some paperwork, and pick up your keys. Be sure to show up on time to your closing and bring any necessary documents, like your ID or mortgage paperwork. Your agent will be able to provide more details as the big day draws closer.
Now is also a great time to start utility services to your new home and do a final walkthrough to make sure everything is looking great!
Ready to Get Started?
It's completely normal to have a lot of questions about buying a home, but the Sivel Group has all the answers you need. As your Philly real estate experts, we have what it takes to help you navigate every step of the buying process. Just give us a call when you're ready to get started!