The Home Buying Process - Once the Contract is Signed
Important and essential steps each home buyer should follow
Finalize the mortgage
The South Carolina Offer to Purchase has language that provides some of the next steps and dates by which these events must occur. It is essential in our state to ensure that dates are met.
Contact your lender and let them know your have an executed sales contract based on the pre-approval criteria. They will let you know of any required paperwork. Your agent at Homes in the Piedmont will ensure they have copies of the contract and related documents.
Understand the appraisal process
Your lender will order an appraisal of the home. The appraisal provides the lender assurance that the property has the market value to support the contract price. The appraisal process must comply with strict guidelines, use current market analysis and involves extensive market research to find comparable sales.
The appraiser visits the home to collect information needed to calculate the market value. The appraiser uses courthouse records of similar sales, information they may have in their databases, and sales from the Multiple Listing Service to prepare the appraisal report. A common misconception is that the original cost or what the current owner has in the home is used to determine the value. Neither is a consideration. Cost does NOT equal value! In fact, the appraisal establishes value and it is NOT based on contract sales price.
Order Pest and Moisture Inspection
In our area, moisture and termite damage are common. Lenders require inspections by licensed contractors to ensure that existing problems are located and addressed. In the offer to purchase, we likely specified that you, the Buyer, order and pay for a pest and moisture inspection. At a cost of approximately $75-$150, the inspector will be working for you. The inspector checks for insect damage, especially termite infestation, and issues a Pest and Moisture letter (CL-100). If damages are noted, the lender will require repairs to clear the letter, typically a sellers expense.
Order the pest inspection as soon as possible. We recommend that you have this and the home inspection completed at the same time. Frequently, the two inspectors confirm each others findings. When lender required, the closing attorney must have the original CL-100 letter as well as a letter from a licensed contractor clearing the repairs.
Order General and other Home Inspections
Homes in the Piedmont STRONGLY recommends home inspections. General and Pest inspections are essential to give you the assurance that your new home has had a licensed individual review the structural, mechanical, plumbing, pest and moisture levels. Depending on the home, other, more specific inspections may be valuable. We discuss those with you throughout the buying process and incorporate inspections in the contract.
Order home inspections as soon as possible. The contract specifies that the sellers be notified within a certain number of days as to any repairs that need to be addressed. You should be present at the inspections to speak with the inspector and understand any repair items. We provide an Inspection Process
document, review the report, and negotiate repair requests with the seller or their agent.
Remember, this inspector is working for YOU. Depending on the size of the home and the company, the cost of the general inspection may run from $225 - $400 or more. The cost for other specific inspections will be in addition to the cost of the general inspection.
Order a survey
Having your property surveyed ensures that the lot lines or acreage is consistent with tax records and information that may have been received from the seller. For your protection, we recommend that you order a survey. The cost is $300-$500, depending on the property.
Set Up Your Closing
Closings usually occur within 30-60 days as specified in the executed Purchase & Sales Agreement. Set up a closing time with an attorney as soon as possible. The majority of closings take place the last few days of the month to mitigates the cash outlay for the Buyer. Closings take from 30 minutes to several hours.
Part of our job is to help your closing run smoothly. Attorneys in North and South Carolina do the title work, and fees range from $400 to $450. As the Buyer, you may select the closing attorney (unless you are buying new construction and the agreement specified that closing costs are only paid if you close with a pre-selected attorney familiar with the requirements of the Builder). Our role is to ensure that our clients are represented throughout the process, that all parties are informed, and that everything necessary for the closing is available.
Obtain Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners insurance is required when purchasing a home. This is likely the largest prepaid expense you will incur. You must pay a full years premium at closing to cover the first year.
You will also pay 2 or 3 months premiums at closing to fund the escrow account. About 2 months before the end of your first year, the mortgage company will pay the next years full premium to the insurance company.
Arrange for your Utilities
All utilities need to be in your name the day of closing.
Arrange for a change of address.
Obtain Certified Funds
The good faith estimate you receive from the lender is an approximation of the funds you will need to bring to closing. Just before closing, we will receive an estimated settlement (HUD) statement from the attorney. This document itemizes all the sellers and buyers expenses. You must bring a certified check made out to the closing attorney for the amount specified on the HUD. If you bring a little too much, the attorney will cut you a check. If you owe a bit more (these statements fluctuate before closing), you can write a personal check for the difference.
Final Walk-Through Inspection:
A few days before you take possession of the property, we will visit the property together one last time. This final visit ensures that the property's condition meets your expectations compared to its condition when you made your offer.
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