It’s not just closing a sale. It’s opening the door to home.
Here are answers to common questions buyers ask when purchasing a home.
What should I do if I’m thinking about buying a new home?
Work with a real estate agent. Navigating the home buying process can be challenging, and an experienced real estate agent is the best resource available to buyers. Agents have access to market trends and conditions which means they can help protect you and your wallet, and they have connections, so they often know about properties for sale before they’ve hit popular websites and social media. They will help you negotiate the contract and will connect you with trusted partners for inspections, repairs and renovations, moving, and closing your purchase. They will help guide you through the contract and closing process and will help you stay objective.
Prepare for your loan application and seek a pre-approval from a reputable lender.
- Some of the basic information you will need to give the lender is:
- The last two (2) years of former residential mailing addresses
- The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all employers for the last two (2) years
- Pay stubs covering the last 30 days W-2’s
- W-2’s for the past two (2) years
- Federal tax returns (1040s) for the past two (2) years
- Asset/bank statements – most recent
- Two (2) month’s statements for all bank, retirement, investment and financial accounts (include all pages of the statement, including one that is blank)
WE RECOMMEND YOU GATHER THIS INFORMATION AS YOU START TO SEARCH FOR A HOME BUT DO NOT SHARE WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN YOUR LENDER!
After I sign a contract, what can I do to insure the process goes smoothly?
1. Sign Disclosures and Intent to Proceed and promptly return them to your lender so the loan application process can be initiated as soon as possible.
2. Provide requested financial and other information to lender and closing attorney within two (2) days of request.
3. Provide contact information for your homeowner’s insurance agent to lender and closing attorney.
4. Insure inspection of house is scheduled immediately.
5. Contact lender and closing attorney immediately if:
- One or more borrowers will use a Power of Attorney
- One or more borrowers will close by mail
- An amendment to your contract is signed
- The final walk-through results will cause an amendment changing the sales price or loan amount
6. Arrange wire for funds to close (if applicable) 24 hours prior to closing.
7. Do not schedule vacation or out of town trips during the week of your scheduled closing date.
8. Make no changes to your financial status during the home buying process (wait to make significant purchases after closing.)
What is title to property?
Title is the legal right to ownership of a property, and a deed is the document that is recorded in the public records to tell the world that you are the owner. When preparing for the closing, the attorney will order a title search, which is a manual examination of the public records at county courthouse. The examiner looks at deeds, wills, and trusts in order to trace the history of the property back many years. Sometimes, that means that the examiner must look back at records prior to when any structure was ever built on the land. During that process, a variety of questions are asked including:
- Are the deeds transferring property to the historical owners executed and recorded properly?
- Have past mortgages and liens been paid, and has the paperwork showing they were paid been executed and recorded properly?
- Are there easements across the property?
- Are there any pending legal actions impacting the property?
- Have taxes been paid?
As a buyer, you want a good and marketable (“clean or clear”) title — one that doesn’t have liens against it or claims of ownership by a faraway aunt or uncle, or surprises like a neighbor’s fence coming onto your property or an easement through the backyard to reach power lines or a cell phone tower! Unfortunately, there may be hidden defects that even the most careful title search will not reveal. To protect against this, all buyers should purchase title insurance.
What is title insurance and do I need it?
Title insurance protects your ownership rights to the property.
It is a one-time, up-front investment with rates based on the purchase price of your home and protects you and your heirs from financial loss in the event that problems develop regarding the rights to ownership. The policy protects you by making the insurance company liable for most claims against your ownership.
And…you most definitely need it! Lenders require you pay for a title insurance policy that protects their investment as the lender. However, their policy doesn’t insure you from damages or claims. You should have an owner’s policy to protect your investment as well.
What is a survey?
A survey is a sketch or map of a piece of land showing the property boundaries and physical features, like rivers, creeks, and roadways. Surveys also identify building set back lines, easements, the location of any house, fences, other structures and items which impact the property.
What is a closing?
At the closing, the buyer, seller, and their real estate agents meet with an attorney to finalize the purchase and sale of the home. The attorney will explain the settlement statement which itemizes the parties’ contractual costs, any loan fees, allocations between the buyer and seller for various costs related to the home, the amount due from the Buyer and the proceeds payable to the Seller. The Buyer signs any required loan documents and the Seller signs the deed transferring title to the home to the buyer. Once all necessary documents are signed, the final approval is received by any lender, and the receipt of all necessary funds is confirmed, the attorney distributes the net proceeds to the Seller and makes all other disbursements. Generally the closing is completed within thirty minutes to an hour.
Who attends closing?
The buyer(s), seller(s) and real estate agent(s) typically all attend the closing. In some cases, loan officers or mortgage brokers also attend.
What do I bring to closing?
- A valid, non-expired photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID.
- Any documents your lender or Weissman requests you bring.
- A check in case additional funds are needed above what was wired to our office.
How long is a closing?
Generally the closing is completed within thirty minutes to an hour.
How will I know how much money is needed for closing?
The lender will provide you an estimate throughout the loan process (if applicable). Weissman will send an ALTA Settlement Statement (an itemization of all fees/charges) indicating the final amount needed to close.