Buyers Checklist

1. Figure out how much house you can afford.

Calculate your monthly income and debt.
Check your credit report and FICO score.
Use mortgage calculator.
Figure out your down payment.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Choose a type of mortgage, VA, Conventional, FHA, ETC.
Have a conversation with at least 3 lenders and mortgage brokers.
Look for the best interest rates and programs.

3. Determine what you want and need in a home.

Choose a location (downtown, urban, suburban, rural).
Choose a type (single family, townhouse, condo, loft).
Choose a price range.
Choose a size.
Choose an architectural style.

4. Research your target neighborhoods.

Look online with for information on schools, crime rate, traffic and zoning.
Determine your work commute, coming and going.
Scout local amenities, such as parks, shopping areas and restaurants.

5. Work with a buyer’s agent who knows the neighborhood.

Try to get a referrals for a Realtor from some you trust.
Consider working with an exclusive buyer’s agent.
Interview at least three agents.
Look for experience and good chemistry and knowledge of the area.

6. Search for homes in the MLS and For Sale By Owner (FSBO).

Browse listings online via ARMLS Client Portal – ON Front PAGE!.
Ask your agent to set up tours of homes that fit your criteria.
Check local newspapers, drive local areas.
Pick up flyers and attend as many Open Houses as possible.

7. Research each home you want to buy.

Ask your agent for comps to estimate the property’s fair market value.
Ask the seller’s reason for selling.
Review all property disclosures.
Find out about liens, easements or other restrictions.
Chat with Neighbors.

8. Make an offer and negotiate.

Determine the “Best Possible” purchase price based off of comp’s in the area.
Include contingencies, such as financial, inspection, appraisals or purchase of existing home.
Spell out any special requests and repairs you want included in the sale.
Determine an earnest money amount.
Define a move-in date.
Once both parties agree to the terms, sign the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

9. Finalize the deal.

Get the house appraised.
Get a professional home inspection.
Make sure Home has a Home Warranty during the purchase transaction.
Consider getting specific inspections for structural engineering, roof and termites.
Use the appraisal and inspection reports to re-negotiate if necessary.
Choose a home insurance company.
Complete the loan process with the lender.
Do a “thorough” walk-through inspection prior to closing.
Set aside cash for the closing costs and down payment.
DON’T Make any large deposits.

10. Close the purchase.

Review the settlement document at least 2 days before closing to see how funds will be collected and distributed.
Get a cashier’s check for the amount you need to bring to closing, including the down payment and closing costs