Congratulations on buying a home!
You might be asking “What do I do next?”
Below are some FAQs that may help:
Should I contact my lender?
Yes, if you are getting a loan, contact your lender immediately to let him/her know that we have a ratified contract. He/she will schedule an appointment for you to come to the office to make a formal loan application. Once we have a ratified contract, we will send a copy to you, your lender, and the closing company.
What shouldn’t I do?
You SHOULDN’T buy anything on credit once you start your home-buying process. Buying on credit can mess up your credit score causing you to lose your loan approval. If you lose your loan approval because of negligence on your part, the homeowner may take legal action to retain your good faith deposit or even sue for damages. Don’t make ANY decisions, such as changing jobs, etc. until AFTER you have completely closed on your home purchase.
What about the home inspection?
Call a home inspector and line up the home inspection/radon test. It is best if you can be present for at least the last part of the home inspection so that the inspector can explain important details about the house. If you aren’t able to be present, the home inspector will be glad to talk with you over the phone to explain details of the report. Remember that there are no perfect houses out there. Be prepared that the older the house is, the longer the report, usually.
What happens after the home inspection?
Your home inspector will send both of us a copy of the report. When you receive the report, spend some time going over it to see if there are items that cause you concern. Remember that there will probably be many things wrong with the house—try and concentrate only on the items that really cause you concern. We will prepare an addendum asking the seller to have those items fixed by a licensed VA contractor.
What if the seller won’t repair the items from the home inspection report that I have requested?
The seller isn’t obligated to repair everything that you request. At this point, we negotiate back and forth to see if we can come up with an acceptable solution. If we aren’t able to come to an agreement, it may be time to terminate the contract. If your offer to purchase was based on a home inspection, you should receive your good faith deposit back.
What if the house doesn’t appraise for the sales price?
Occasionally, the home that you are buying doesn’t appraise for the sales amount. If that happens, we will try and renegotiate with the sellers to lower the sales price. However, the sellers aren’t obligated to accept a lower offer and may choose to terminate the contract. In that case, you should receive your good faith deposit back.
Will I need homeowners insurance?
Yes, you should contact an insurance company to secure a homeowner’s policy on the home that you are buying. Don’t wait until the last moment—you can’t close the sale without insurance if you are getting a loan.
Will we do a pre-settlement inspection?
Yes, we will do a “walk-through” sometime within 24 hrs before closing. We will check the appliances, heating/cooling system, water, etc.
When should I transfer the utilities?
You will need to contact the utility companies at least 2 weeks before closing to have the utilities put in your name as of the day of closing.
What do I need to bring to closing?
You (and anyone who is on the loan and/or will be on the deed) need to bring your driver’s licenses. Several days prior to closing, we will contact you to let you know the amount of money that you will need to bring in the form of a cashier’s check to closing. Personal checks are not accepted. Some closing companies will ONLY accept money through a bank wire as opposed to a cashier’s check.
How long will closing take?
Approximately 1 hr is needed to sign all of the closing documents.
When do I receive the keys to the house?
That will vary according to the seller’s instructions. Often the seller will allow the keys to be released at closing to the buyer, but it is their option to not release the keys until the deed has been recorded at the local courthouse. If the closing occurs late in the day, the deed might not be recorded until the following business day. With foreclosure purchases, you aren’t allowed to receive the keys until after recordation at the courthouse—no exceptions.