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Home Buying Process

10 Steps to Buying a Home

  1. Pre-qualification/Pre-approval
  2. Why Choose a Realtor?
  3. Home Shopping
  4. The Offer/ Earnest Money
  5. The Inspection
  6. Insurance
  7. Contingencies and Deadlines
  8. Walk through
  9. The Closing
  10. Home Ownership

1. Pre-Qualification/Pre-Approval

Pre-Qualification is a lenders initial evaluation of the borrower’s credit worthiness. This is determined through estimating the amount a person can afford to borrow. This is a simple evaluation of a borrower’s income versus their expenses; setting guidelines for what that individual borrower will be able to pay back to the lender.

Pre-Approval is a more detailed evaluation of a borrower’s financials. The lender will check the borrower’s credit history, as well as, verify the borrower’s income. Once this evaluation is complete the lender will present the borrower with a pre-approval letter. This letter gives the borrower’s the ability to search for a home within their pre-determined budget, knowing that they have already been pre-approved up to a certain amount.

This is the essential first step in the buying process. Once the borrower has been pre-qualified and pre-approved, they have the luxury of searching for homes with the confidence that they will be able to make an offer within their pre-determined budget, without the worry of being denied by a lender.

2. Why Choose a Realtor?

Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. They are held to the highest of standards through the National Association of Realtors® code of ethics. Realtors® are expected to have a high level of knowledge of the real estate industry. They are experts in finding homes that fit the buyer’s needs, negotiation, and the closing process.  When selecting a Realtor®, find someone with a thorough knowledge of the local market, and someone that you trust to represent your best interest.

AMERI/STAR Real Estate, Inc. has 40 Realtors®, with an average of 14 years in the real estate industry. The Realtors® specialize in residential, new construction, relocation, acreage and land properties. AMERI/STAR Realtors® take an active role and provide valuable input to their MLS,  Realtor Association of the Sioux Empire (RASE), by serving on committees.

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3. Home Shopping

The home buying process can seem overwhelming. With the help of your AMERI/STAR Realtor® this process can be simple and enjoyable. Today 90 percent of people look for homes online. These online resources supply photos, property details, community information, and much more. These features give you and your Realtor® the ability to narrow down your search. Once you have decided which homes you want to visit, your Realtor® can schedule showings for those properties. Your agent will guide you through all significant considerations when viewing a home including price evaluation, possible repairs that will be required before purchase, HOA information, and important neighborhood considerations.

Search for a Home

4. The Offer/ Earnest Money

Making an offer is the next step in purchasing the perfect home. Your AMERI/STAR Realtor® will help you determine market trends and examine comparable sales, to write the most reasonable offer. When the offer has been submitted to the seller there are three possible responses: accept, reject, or a counter offer. A counter offer means that they are offering the buyer a different price or other possible changes to the contract. The offer should include:

  • How you are intending to finance your purchase.
  • What repairs need to be done before move-in.
  • Contingencies (contract cancellation without repercussions).
  • The date you want to take possession of the home.
  • What fixtures you want included in the purchase.
  • Once the offer is accepted the earnest money can be deposited. Earnest money is a good faith deposit to secure the contract.

5. The Inspection

A home inspection is not an appraisal or a 'pass-fail' test. It is instead a visual examination of the physical condition of the home. It should be performed by a licensed property inspector. A home inspection could be the single-most important process in buying a new home, as it ensures that the house is safe, secure, and problem free. Knowing that the home you are about to move into is all of those, can put your mind at ease or if problems do arise in the inspection, it gives you the power to negotiate a lower price or ask the seller to make repairs.

6.  Insurance

Title insurance and Home Insurance must be purchased before a mortgage company will make a loan for the property. To make this step as simple as possible; contact your AMERI/STAR Realtor® for further details on insurance requirements.

7. Contingencies and Deadlines

A contingency is a provision in a real estate contract that specifies, if certain situations arise the buyer can get out of the contract without repercussions. These contingencies may include: a failed home inspection or the buyers are unable to obtain a loan if they were not pre-approved. Your AMERI/STAR Realtor® will make sure to cover all contingencies and will ensure you meet all of the deadlines specified in the contract.

8. Walk Through

This is the final walk through, after the home inspection has been completed, and all repairs have been done. The walk through is to ensure that the home is in the condition agreed upon in the contract.

9. The Closing

Your AMERI/STAR Realtor® will walk you through every step of the closing process to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The buyer will present the check to be transferred to the seller, the seller will sign over the deed, the title company will register the new deed with the registry office, and the buyer will become a new home owner.

10. Home Ownership

Congratulations! The process is complete and it is time to move into your new home. We hope that your AMERI/STAR Real Estate, Inc. experience was enjoyable, and we look forward to hearing from you with any of your real estate needs.



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