Conceptually I understand the process of buying a home, or in our case a duplex. You review the available properties in your market, secure a bank loan, make an offer where both sides agree, then go to the closing table to finalize the purchase. Easy, right? In theory it is! But in reality, there were a number of additional steps along the way. Here is what we experienced over the course of 30-45 days.
1. Preliminary Property Search Online
I began the process of searching for a home long before setting foot in our new city. Thanks to the power of the internet, there were a number of realtor sites I could visit to search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system for available properties. I was able to search from the comfort of my college apartment for homes, duplexes, and even small apartment buildings!
All the basic information was included too, from number of bedrooms/bathrooms, square footage, additional features, and even pictures. Looking back I think this was a very helpful step because I could quickly start to get the feel for the local market and discover what I like and did not like.
2. Find a Realtor
It would be foolish to go through a home purchase alone. I understand the desire to save money, but a good realtor is immensely valuable in many ways. The really good ones know their local market, guide you towards the truly good properties while helping you avoid the bad ones, provide valuable advise, and better negotiate terms and conditions. They are true professionals that can make all steps involved considerably easier too. Plus on the buyer’s side of the table there is no cost. Did you know that? The typical arrangement is for the seller to pay the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent at closing. You really have no reason to avoid a realtor when you’re a buyer.
Our search for a realtor went quickly. We asked trusted friends living in our new city for recommendations and quickly received a short list of realtors to call. The first one impressed us very much with her knowledge, kindness, and advice. It was an easy decision that felt right, so we picked her! We signed an agency contract that stated she would represent us as a buyer’s agent. We could terminate the contract at any time with 14 days notice. The contract protects the realtor from would-be buyers that might waste someones time by jumping ship to another agent at the last moment. We had no issue signing the agency contract.
3. Bank Loan Pre-Approval
Although we had a good feel for what we felt was affordable, the bank loan pre-approval process helped to legitimize it all. We worked with our local bank to secure financing. I initially had concerns about using our local bank since we were looking out-of-state for our property purchase. But they were licensed and registered to provide loans for the State where we were moving. They also had interest rates and…
Note From Author
The full “The Process of Purchasing Our Duplex Part 1” post has been back-dated to 07/04/2005. But it was originally published to the Financial Independence Champion (FIChampion.com) Blog on 05/28/2016.
Why Back-Date Posts?
I mentioned in my first post how this blog will be a little different than any other ones you may follow. I still plan to talk about personal finance, rental property, travel, and the pursuit of financial independence. But to give all these topics the right context and the full picture, I need to start at the beginning. I need to fill in the details of life from 2005 until now. I want you to see the successes, the struggles, and all the milestones we passed along the way. Therefore most of the “new” content will be back-dated to their appropriate dates in 2005, 2006, and beyond — until we’re caught up!