There are several important people that will be a part of your home buying process, your Realtor, your Lender and your Title Company. Prior to taking you to see homes that are for sale, most Realtors will have you talk to a mortgage lender to determine how much money you will be able to borrow. There is no use looking at homes that you cannot afford! Your Realtor will sit down with you and discuss your requirements and your dreams. While you may not be able to afford all that your heart desires, your Realtor will help you prioritize. First Class Title will handle your settlement, from contract review, if desired, to title search and examination, the issuance of the title insurance binder to your lender, preparing the HUD 1 settlement statement to conducting the settlement and answering all the questions that you may have at any point in the process.
Looking at homes can be confusing, so be prepared to take notes. You may want to prepare a master sheet for each property, listing address, number of bedrooms and baths, and other items that you require, for instance: garage, family room, formal dining room. You may want to include places to note such things as locations of school, shopping and metro or bus stops. Don’t forget to leave room to note negatives, such as sloped yard or needs repainting, so that you will be able to evaluate all that you have seen later.
Once you find your home of choice your Realtor will write an offer, using a state standard Contract of Sale. Remember though, it isn’t a contract until both you and the Seller have agreed on all terms and have signed. The offer is then presented to the Seller who can either accept it as written, make changes (called “countering the offer”) or reject the offer out of hand, which happens very rarely. If the Seller has countered your offer, your Realtor will come back to you and you have to decide to accept or reject, or even counter again, the Seller’s modifications. Be prepared to be readily available to your Realtor at this point so that these negotiations can be completed quickly.
After the offer is agreed to by both parties and signed by all it is a contract of sale. This is submitted to your Lender who will order an appraisal of the property and begin work on your loan. Send the contract to First Class Title for an estimate of your costs at closing, we will prepare that and get it back to you ASAP. You can even ask to prepare drafts for more than one property or more than one sales price, we are happy to help you.
From contract to settlement takes, on average, 30-45 days, so get packing! Don’t forget to start sending change of address notices to magazines and other items you receive by mail. Be prepared to provide documentation to your lender during this period including current pay stubs and proof of home insurance. If you are hiring a mover, be aware that the end of the month is their busy time, too, so make those plans early.
A day or two prior to settlement we should be able to provide to you a fairly accurate HUD 1 settlement statement detailing all fees you will pay or have paid in connection with your purchase. Make sure that you have called to have all utilities put in your name as of the day of settlement. We have to get a lot of information from your lender, so that can be the one delay. You will need to have funds wired to us or bring a certified check to closing.
Settlement itself takes 45 minutes to an hour. Bring your photo ID and a check in case there are any changes on the HUD. We will go through all the documents with you, the HUD, the Note (your personal obligation to repay the loan), the Deed of Trust (the lender’s security interest in the property) and everything else that your lender requires. Please ask questions! At the end, you will be given the keys to your property in Maryland and DC, in Virginia, the law requires that the deed be recorded (that day or the next) before we can disburse.
Please note that we are an animal friendly office, please don’t leave your pets in the car during settlement, especially in the warm weather. Just let us know that you are bringing Rover with you.