- Talk to a lender. Picking a competent lender is the most important step in the buying process. Obtaining a loan is difficult these days. Your credit has to be good. You debt to income ratio has to be just right. Lenders need reams of documentation. Stay away from the big banks. Work with someone who’s local and knows the market. Once you’ve spoken to a lender and they have all the info they need (bank statements, salary stubs, financial records, your credit score. it’s invasive. get ready.) you’re pre-qualified and ready to start searching.
- Find a property. Discovering real estate you want to purchase involves looking at listings online and visiting houses/condos/coops. A picture can only convey so much. It’s wise to visit as many properties as possible to determine what appeals to you. The search can take a day or several months.
- Make an offer. Once you find a property you love, write an offer. The DC market is competitive which means you’ll need to make quick decisions. If a listing is priced well, looks good and is in a desirable location, it’s going under contract in 1-7 days and often has multiple offers.
- Execute the paperwork. After your offer has been reviewed and ratified, the contract is sent to the lender and the title company. The title company reviews the title work. Their job is to make sure the property is delivered with a clear title. The lender starts processing your loan and orders the appraisal.
- Fulfill the contingencies (if there are any). With the increase in multiple offers, contingencies have been on the decline. If the sellers accept an appraisal, financing or home inspection contingency, fulfill them. If they go smoothly, you’ll head to closing.
- Execute final reviews. Before closing, you do a final walk through to see if the property is still in good shape. You will also review the HUD1 (the closing statement) to make sure all your fees are correct. If everything is in order, you sign the closing documents.
- Complete the documents. Once all the documents are signed, you’re a proud homeowner. Congratulations!
The entire process of making an offer; its acceptance, ratification, expiration of any contingencies to closing usually takes 30-45 days. The days till closing starts the day you submit the offer to the listing agent. The closing date is usually 30-45 days from the date the contract is written.