So you are ready to buy a new home, where do you begin?
Step 1: Establish a relationship with a Buyer's Agent
In Louisiana, there is NO FEE paid by the buyer for a Buyer's Agent. With all the information available on the internet you can easily do your research in advance to search for the areas top real estate agents.
When you find the agent that fits your needs, reach out to them. Send them an email or pick up the phone, and not just a random email requesting more information on a particular property without an intro. The best agents can spot 'tire kickers' a mile away based on the body of the email, they know you have sent that email out to anyone with a pulse from one of the national sites that will send it out in mass quantities. To be accepted as a new client by the best agents, be sure to direct your email to them personally, introduce yourself and your individual needs and ask how they can assist you.
Never underestimate the power of having a dedicated top agent on your team, a valuable tool available for you throughout the process indeed. The top agents will recognize a loyal client committed to working with them exclusively and will be there for you every step of the way without hesitation.
Step 2: Get Pre-Approved.
If you haven't already established a relationship with a lender, your Buyer's Agent can assist you by providing you with contact information for local lenders that will best suite your individual needs. Often times a Pre-approval can be done over the phone taking very little of your time. This step will establish how much home you can afford. Armed with this information , you and your agent can work more efficiently in searching for homes fitting your budget from the beginning.
Step 3: Get a Good Faith Estimate
Your lender will give an estimate of the down payment, closing cost and prepaids, basically the "cash to close" that will be expected from you at the closing table. Very important to understand how much cash will be needed to close the transaction in advance of making an offer to purchase. In the event you find it is higher than expected, your agent can assist you in writing a contract which would include seller paying some, or in some cases, all of your closing cost.
Step 4: You Now Know Your Price Range
Begin searching for properties in your price range, discuss with your Buyer's Agent what type of home you are looking for; How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Would you like a garage? What type of exterior do you desire? Would you like to search in a particular school district, need easy access to the interstate... etc. The more detailed information you can provide the better your agent can assist you in locating the perfect home for you.
Step 5: Your Buyers Agent will search for properties based on your specific criteria
Your buyers agent will send you available properties via email that meet youre criteria making it easy to begin searching for your home. No more wasting time on national sites with outdated info. Nothing worse than finding the home of your dreams only to find out it was actually sold a year ago. Get to the source of local up-to-date info, your buyers agent is privy to the actual local multiple listing service with up to the minute information about properties.
Step 6: View photos and information of the properties
After viewing photos and descriptions of properties, write down the MLS numbers or addresses of the properties you would like to see and send the list to your Buyer's Agent.
Step 7: Arrange a viewing day
Arrange a viewing day with your Buyers Agent to tour properties of interest! This is where the fun really begins! If you are seeking properties in close proximity, you can see several in a day!
Each property will require a scheduled appointment with the seller of the property, therefore be sure to provide your list of properties well in advance of your target viewing day so your Buyers Agent can put you in their planner and schedule all appointments in advance.
Step 8: View Comps
Request recent comps (Comparable Properties that have sold in the subdivision). Once you have found the property you are ready to make your own, your Buyers Agent can provide you a list of comparable properties to see what they are currently selling for. This will assist you in making your offer decision. Discuss your buying strategy, draw up a contract and allow your Buyer's Agent to begin negotiations!
Step 9: Once your purchase agreement is signed by all parties
After you and seller have reached an agreement on price and terms, your buyers agent will walk you through the closing process which will take 30 - 45 days!
Step 10: Receive the key to your new property - Enjoy!!
Occupancy takes place after closing, you will recieve the key to your new home at the closing table!