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Your Guide To Des Moines Home Buying

We want to make your Des Moines home buying process as simple and efficient as possible. Follow our easy guide to help you come out a winner when buying your next home.

Des Moines Home Buying
  1. Preliminary Consultation
  2. Obtain a Lender Approval
  3. Establish Search Criteria
  4. Tour Homes
  5. Make an Offer
  6. Accept an Offer
  7. Remove Contingencies
  8. Close & Move

Preliminary Consultation

We should meet face-to-face, to review your overall objectives in searching for a new home (i.e. time frame, desired features, etc.) and discuss the process.

We will narrow down neighborhoods and types of properties so we have an efficient search.

This is the time to ask ANY questions and determine if we have a good personality fit to work together.

Obtain A Loan Approval From A Reputable Lender

In this market, you MUST have a lender approval letter to write a contract. Therefore, it makes sense to start this process BEFORE looking at properties.

The lender will review your income, asset and credit information to determine the maximum loan amount that you qualify for – but then it’s important for you to determine the amount that you can comfortably afford. This number will guide our home search.

Based on this information, the lender will provide a pre-approval letter, which shows your borrowing power. You can visit as many lenders as you like and get several pre-approvals.

3. Establish Home Search Criteria

A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. It is important to consider things that are important to you (i.e. a love of cooking, or entertaining or art, etc.) which will help prioritize your house “wish list” (i.e. big kitchen for cooking, deck for entertaining, high ceilings for artwork, etc.). There will definitely be trade-offs, but our goal is to find a home that meets the majority of your requirements within a comfortable price range.

Once we establish the criteria for your search, I will email new listings regularly that meet the criteria. The listings will be sent from the MLS system which provides property details and photos or tours.

4. Tour Homes

Once we have completed a search and narrowed down the options, we will schedule a block of time to tour homes. Prior to our visit, I will ask you to review the pictures and drive around the neighborhoods, to determine if some of the properties can be ruled out or solidify them on our “must see” list. Many properties will be on “lockbox” so we have flexibility visiting them—others may require an appointment, which I will arrange.

5. Make an Offer

When a property is listed FOR SALE, the list price is the Seller’s asking or offer price for the property. As the Buyer, you have two choices: 1) Accept the Seller’s offer price and terms and create a contract, or 2) suggest different price/terms and create a counter-offer. If you choose the latter option, the Seller may accept, reject or counter your counter-offer.

COMPONENTS OF AN OFFER

  • Offer Price
  • Closing Date
  • Earnest Money Deposit (Anywhere from $500 to 1% of the sales price held in escrow with the selling broker or title company. $1000 is common.)
  • Inspection Contingencies
  • Financing Contingencies
  • Appraisal Contingency
  • Other Contingencies (i.e. Sale of Home, etc.)

No aspect of the home buying process is more complex or personal than bargaining between buyers and sellers.

This is the point where the value of an experienced Realtor is clearly evident because he or she can negotiate objectively on your behalf and has knowledge of local home values and trends which may positively influence the deal.

6. Accept an Offer

An offer is accepted or “officially ratified” when all parties agree to the terms in writing—and the contract has been delivered to the last party to sign off (via fax, email or hand-delivered).

7. Remove Contingencies

HOME INSPECTION – TYPICALLY CONDUCTED WITHIN 3-7 CALENDAR DAYS

  • Buyer pays inspection company directly
  • You are looking for items that do not work or major defects versus aesthetic flaws

RESPONSE TO INSPECTION – TYPLICALLY WITHIN 24 HOURS OF INSPECTION REPORT

  • Provide notice of any issues that need to be addressed by the Seller
  • Insure your comfort level with property
  • The Seller may offer a closing credit, in lieu of making any repairs

OBTAIN CONDOMINIUM DOCUMENTS OR HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION INFORMATION (if applicable)

  • Typically 3-5 days to review for resale properties
  • Typically 3-5 days to review for new developments

MORTGAGE APPLICATION

  • Immediately following accepted offer, you should contact your lender to begin the full loan application process
  • The Lender will order the appraisal immediately

8. Get Ready to Close & Move!

OBTAIN HOME INSURANCE

ARRANGE TO CONNECT UTILITIES (PHONE, GAS, ELECTRIC, TELEPHONE & CABLE)

REVIEW CLOSING DISCLOSURE PRIOR TO CLOSING

  • The closing company prepares the Closing Disclosure once the Lender forwards the loan documents.
    • Best case, the closing company received the loan information 24 hrs in advance of closing – but many times the Closing Disclosure is not available until a few hours before closing.
  • The closing company will include title insurance (if applicable) on the Closing Disclosure for the Lender and Owner. Lender coverage is often required – however Owner coverage is optional but highly recommended. This one time fee protects you from title defects that could affect your ownership of the property.

CONDUCT A WALK THROUGH OF THE PROPERTY

Please use our Des Moines home buying guide for when you will be planning your next home purchase and come out a home buying winner!

Check the following article for more useful information on the home buying process.