>> Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Now that you've found the perfect home and have reached an agreement with the seller on the details of the purchase, you are officially on your way to making the home yours. Typically, there are 4 pit stops along the road to the closing table:
- Order an inspection. Buyers should always make their offers contingent on a home inspection, which should be scheduled as soon as the offer is accepted. If problems turn up, buyers can ask sellers to make repairs or back out of the contract at no cost to the buyer.
During an inspection, an inspector comes to the property to determine if there are material physical defects and whether expensive repairs and replacements are likely to be required in the next few years. Such inspections for a single-family home often require two or three hours, and buyers should attend. This is an opportunity to examine the property's mechanics and structure, ask questions and learn far more about the property than is possible with an informal walk-through.
- Negotiate repairs. After the inspection, it's up to buyers to decide what repairs, if any, they should ask the sellers to handle. Superficial flaws may not be worth mentioning, but significant problems, such as with the roof, heat, electric or plumbing may warrant a second look.
Whether sellers will agree to those repairs is another matter. Sellers may refuse, agree to split the cost, or offer to take care of everything.
- Appraisal. An all-important step in getting the financing you need is the home appraisal. A real estate appraisal is the expert opinion of a certified, state-licensed professional who determines the value of a piece of property. The worth, or value of the property, will determine how much a lender is willing to give you to buy that particular piece of real estate.
- Final walk-through. Inspection: check. Appraisal: check.
Now it is time for you to take one last "walk through" the house before it officially becomes your new home. During this visit, you and your Realtor will make sure all of the requested repairs have been completed and the condition of the home meets the requirements agreed upon in the contract.