The Buying Process
Buying a home can be an exciting and emotional experience. As local experts, you can rely on us to guide you through the process so you can feel comfortable and confident each step of the way.
The first step to buying a home is to understand your buying power and establish a price range. Unless you are an all-cash buyer, you should contact a licensed lender that can help evaluate your financial standing and provide a loan pre-approval. They will review your income and credit history to determine how much the bank will lend you, which will help you determine the price range for your search. Having a pre-approval letter in-hand can also increase the attractiveness of your offer, particularly when a seller has multiple offers to choose from.
Lenders offer a wide range of loan programs, so it's important to work with a lender you trust to help you determine the best loan for your specific circumstances.
Making An Offer
When you're ready to move forward with a purchase, your Ahearn Team Oahu broker will give guidance on price, by providing data on similar sales in the area. We will also provide advice on constructing the strongest offer possible. There is a lot to consider when making an offer. We'll discuss the price, the closing date, sale contingencies and any special conditions for your particular purchase. Then, we will draft an offer with your preferred price and terms. Once an offer is submitted, the seller may accept, reject or counter the offer. If the seller returns a counter, we will enter a negotiation period until an agreement is reached, or all counter-offers are rejected.
Going Under Contract
If your offer is accepted, you will be officially under contract to purchase the home. The purchase will not be complete until closing, but the home cannot be sold to anyone else while your purchase contract remains in effect. At this point, it will be time to open escrow and make an earnest money deposit. Unless you are making a cash purchase, you will also secure your mortgage loan with the lender in your pre-approval letter.
Home & Termite Inspection
In Hawaii, especially with our tropical weather, inspecting the physical condition of your next home is a vital part of the home-buying process. A certified home inspector will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the property and report problems with the condition of the home's structure or systems. You will also, in most cases, have a termite inspection. Additional inspectors may also investigate potential issues, such as mold, structural issues, or other problems which may be identified in the initial inspection. Depending on the contingencies in the purchase contract, there may be additional rounds of negotiation to resolve any problems discovered during the inspections.
If you are getting a loan, your lender will arrange a professional appraisal of the home. An appraisal is an unbiased estimate of the fair market value of a home, conducted by a licensed appraiser. If the home appraises at less than the sale price, resulting in not being able to obtain the loan set forth in the purchase contract, you may have the option to renegotiate or terminate the purchase contract.
The Final Walk Through
Prior to closing, we will conduct a final walkthrough of the home, to ensure that all negotiated repairs have been completed, and that the home is in the same (or better) condition as when the home inspection was done. This is the final opportunity to call out any problems identified with the home before closing. Depending on the purchase contract, you may sign a formal contract addendum confirming that the walkthrough is complete, and the condition of the home is acceptable.
Once your lender confirms that you have final loan approval, you will sign closing documents. This includes a final closing disclosure that summarizes the loan terms, monthly payments, taxes, and other costs associated with the loan. You will also sign, with escrow, all of the other paperwork required to complete your purchase. This will include the deed, final settlement statement, mortgage and promissory note for your loan (unless you are an all-cash buyer). Once the paperwork is signed by all parties and the sale is funded, you typically will wait one or two days, while the funds "season" and until the legal documents are recorded with the Bureau of Conveyances. Once this is official, you will receive keys, and you'll be ready to move into your new home! Time to celebrate!
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