What to Do After You’ve Found a Home You Love

What to Do After You’ve Found a Home You Love

After browsing dozens of real estate websites and hundreds of home listings, you’ve finally done it – you’ve found the perfect Minnetonka home for you and your family. What’s the next move? Finding the ideal home online is only the beginning, as now you have to secure the home and make it yours. Here are the top things you need to do the moment you’ve found the perfect piece of Minnetonka real estate.

1. Contact a real estate agent

Granted, it’s possible to buy a home without a real estate agent, but it’s strongly recommended to hire one for a variety of reasons. For starters, they know the inner workings of real estate, including market trends, how to negotiate for a better deal, and useful resources to assist in your endeavor. They also have an extensive network of professionals you may end up relying on throughout the process. For example, you should always schedule a home inspection, and chances are your agent knows a reliable inspector or two.

The most important benefit of an agent is that they save you time and money. They speed up the process because they already know the process like the back of their hand, and they will negotiate in your favor if the seller is interested in your offer. Plus, there is no cost to you. The seller pays the commission for your agent and theirs upon the end of a transaction.

2. Research the home

Every home has a history, and every history has its secrets. Research the home. When was it built? Has it lived through any natural disasters? What is the neighborhood and community lifestyle like? An older home may look and sound functional on the outside, but you must always consider that older homes tend to require more routine maintenance and upkeep. Homes that have been affected by storms or other inclement weather may also be susceptible to damages if they haven’t been properly repaired. You need to know the home you’re buying.

3. Get pre-approved

If you haven’t been pre-approved already, do so right away. A lender will determine how much of a loan you qualify for, thereby determining how much of a home you can afford. Pre-approval also reflects well on you as a buyer – many sellers won’t even consider buyers without a pre-approval letter.

4. Check your credit score

Your credit score affects the mortgage rates you qualify for. While a credit score of 700 is generally considered the best, strive for a score of at least 740 for the lowest mortgage rates. You may check your credit score during the pre-approval process, which is also the best opportunity to take note of any errors or detriments affecting your score.

Your score is an aggregate number based on the following factors:
  • Your payment history: Missed payments will harm your score.
  • The total amount of debt you owe: The less debt, the better.
  • The length of your credit history: The longer you’ve had credit, the better your score.
  • Credit mix: You should have a mix of different credit types, indicating that you can manage different credit products.
  • Credit inquiries: Each time you request an inquiry, it docks your score. Minimize new credit inquiries while you’re actively searching for a home.

Compare mortgage rates

Mortgage rates change on a daily basis depending on the current state of both the national and Minnetonka real estate markets. The best strategy for securing low rates is to select at least three mortgage lenders in a given day and compare their rates. Some buyers will even observe these rates over the course of a week, but whether they increase or decrease is never a guarantee. Trust your instincts when you make your final decision.

Determine your financing plan

What kind of loan do you plan on applying for? Depending on how much your pre-approval says you qualify for, you have a number of options.
  • A conventional loan is the most common form of mortgage. It’s not backed by the government, and the overall cost is lower.
  • A fixed-rate mortgage retains the same mortgage rate for the duration of the loan term.
  • An adjustable-rate mortgage is the opposite of a fixed-rate mortgage. The interest rate fluctuates throughout the loan term instead of staying consistent.
  • A jumbo loan is best for luxury homes with high price tags. These loans exceed standard FHFA borrowing limits but allow you to borrow a higher amount.

Establish yourself as a serious buyer

Submit a solid offer the moment you’ve secured your financing plan. Never lowball the seller. For extra credibility, put down some earnest money on top of the down payment. Earnest money is a “good faith” deposit that demonstrates how serious you are about your offer. The sum you offer can range anywhere between 1% to 10% of the home’s listed price. Your agent will help you devise a competitive offer letter that’s sure to get results.

Schedule a home inspection

Although you’ve researched the home beforehand, you should still schedule a home inspection to verify its current condition. A home inspection will take note of both major and minor concerns, including cracks, leaks, mold residue, faulty systems, drafts, other damages, and potential hazards, such as large trees too close to the property. If the inspection report reveals significant issues, your agent can use these results at the negotiation table. Some sellers will offer to pay for the repairs or lower the price to make up for damages and other major concerns.

Close on your home

Your agent will be by your side throughout your entire real estate journey. All that’s left is to close on the home by scheduling a closing day to transfer funds and legal ownership. Once you’ve completed the transaction, the home is all yours and ready to be settled. Congratulations!

Partner with Chad Strand

For more information on Minnetonka real estate, reach out to expert luxury home marketing specialist Chad Strand. With an impressive record of successful sales and five-star reviews, Chad is the primary expert you want by your side. Improve your real estate experience by recruiting Chad to your team today!

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels

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