Profile picture for Mur4

FIRST TIME HELP!

I feel like my real estate agent is not good at explaining the steps for the home buying process! I am a first time home buyer and have decided to put an offer on a house.
The sellers agent asked for the offer in writing and my agent is rushing me to send the offer in! Do I need my lawyer to approve the written offer? When do I owe my downpayment? When should I have my engineer check the property- I feel so lost and don't want to lost this potential house!
  • October 17 2013 - US
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Answers (6)

If you haven't been pre-approved yet I recommend this be the first thing you do. So speak with a lender to apply for a loan and prequalify. When you apply for a loan, lenders like myself will need to look at several different things if you are trying to prequalify for a loan.

1) Proof of income for each person that will be on the mortgage which can be demonstrated through: one month of pay stubs, previous year's W-2 forms and tax returns, official documentation to demonstrate other forms of income (alimony, child support, etc.), and two year's tax returns if self-employed (all schedules, all pages)
2) Credit Report which they will pull
3) Employment History or Business Tax Returns if you're Self Employed
4) Personal assets such as: Recent balances and statements for bank accounts, most recent account statement demonstrating market value of any investments (stocks, bonds or certificates of deposit), documentation showing interest in retirement funds, face amount and cash value of life insurance policies, value of significant pieces of personal property, debt information, the balances and account numbers of your current loans and debts, including car loans, credit card balances and any other loans you may have.

These are just a few things you should have ready when you begin your buying process. If you have any other questions or need a loan please contact me through the information on my profile page. I hope this helps and good luck!
  • October 22 2013
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Fire your agent and get a new one - stat!
  • October 22 2013
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I find that if I overwhelm a first time home buyer and recite the litany of steps involved - their eyes usually cross. 

If your agent is experienced they know the steps.  They come piece meal not all at once.

Getting your offer in quickly is sometimes very necessary.  If a first time home buyer drags their heels and loses out on the property - they will learn for the next time.  It is a learning process.

If you want the house get your offer submitted because there are other buyers out there.

If your agent is using the real estate approved form you do not need an attorney at that point. All of the forms we use as standard forms are written by attorneys.

You only need an escrow deposit to start out. You will not need your down payment money until the day you close.
  • October 18 2013
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I can understand her rushing you to get your offer in.  With so little on the market, when a good home gets listed you need to act fast and give your highest offer.  As for your questions,  in Georgia the downpayment is due on closing day.  An attorney does not need to approve the offer but will need a copy once offer is accepted and binding.  Make sure that you have a due diligence period to have your inspector/engineer check the property. This is generally 10 days starting from the day offer is accepted.  Hope this helps
  • October 17 2013
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There are some general answers to the questions you are asking, but many of them are state specific.  I will answer based on the Washington state contracts, but these are answers you will want to confirm based on the state you are in.

In the Seattle market, we are very low in inventory and there is a lot of competition for good homes.  We require all of our clients to be pre-approved on their loan and mentally ready to write an offer as soon as we find a property that excites them.  In most cases, we will get through that offer process (always written) within a few hours of viewing the house because we don't want another buyer to get into the mix.

The way our  state wide contracts are written, we can typically get a buyer out of the contract for the first few days with no penalty to them.  Obviously  we never get into contract assuming that we are going to exit, but knowing that we have that ability often calms buyer's fears that they are stuck in the purchase no matter what.

Earnest money, the amount you are putting up as collateral to show you are serious about the offer,  is due within 24 hours of the offer being signed around by all parties (also known as mutual acceptance). That money will be used towards your closing costs if everything goes as planned.  If you get out of the contract for a reason other than one of the stipulated contingencies, that money will go to the seller to compensate them for taking the home off the market.

Your down payment isn't going to be asked for until the very end - when you are signing your loan documents.  You have a bit of time for that.

I'm assuming that by engineer you mean inspector? In your contract you most likely have an inspection contingency.  In WA, our default is that the inspection takes place within 10 days of mutual acceptance of the contract.  Based on the finding, you then have a set amount of time to negotiate out any issues you find with the home.

It may help to write out your questions as you have here and email them to your agent.  Most really want to do a great job for you, but may not be aware that they haven't shared this basic information with you. They are relevant questions and should be answered for you to feel comfortable writing an offer.

Best of luck!



  • October 17 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
What happens when you ask those questions directly of your agent?   While some agents are wonderful educators, most agents require specific questions to push the button to have them give the answer.  (They don't know what you don't know unless you speak up).

It is an exciting time, but a bit nervewracking esp when you've never done it before.

There is some degree of urgency to get an offer in.  How long did you think it should take?  (If the answer isn't measured in hours, perhaps that is why your agent is pushing).

You will owe earnest money when the offer is accepted; down payment at closing.

You should have an inspection period and contingency defined in the offer.

You should have a financing contingency defined in the offer.




  • October 17 2013
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