Buy a Home in Gainesville
Whether you’ve already decided that you’re ready to buy real estate in Gainesville, FL or you’re still weighing your options, you’re in the right place. Our team of local experts is ready to guide you through the home-buying process.
We are committed to fast, professional and courteous service to help you understand and feel at ease throughout the home buying process. Our trained and licensed agents specialize in the Gainesville area real estate market and are prepared to find the right home and get the best price.
The Step-By-Step Home Buying Process
1. Define your goals, research your options, make your plans
Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s all the more important for you to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible in advance. Since buying and financing a home are so closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and projecting how much you can afford. Once you have answered these questions, even tentatively, you will be in a better position to research your housing and mortgage options as well as create an action plan and time line for moving forward. You may want to do this yourself, but you will also benefit by consulting an experienced Realtor® right from the start.
2. Contact better homes and gardens® real estate Thomas group
Buying real estate is a complex matter even at the best of times. There are myriad factors to consider, and no two homes or transactions are alike. With so many unique opportunities and potential pitfalls hanging in the balance, it’s that much more important to contact one of our experienced Realtors® once you have decided to buy.
3. Get pre-approved for a loan
Generally, it is recommended that you get pre-qualified for a loan before you start viewing homes with the serious intention of buying. The pre-approved loan process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. The lender will provide you with a document that details how much you can borrow to buy a home on the basis of examination. You may want to consider contacting your current local bank, credit union or ask your agent for a recommendation.
The benefits of pre-qualification include:
- You have more information about what you can afford and will be able to plan accordingly
- As a qualified, motivated buyer, you’ll be taken more seriously when you make an offer on a home
- Lenders can tell you whether you qualify for any special programs that will enable you to afford a better home, particularly if you are a first-time home buyer.
Real estate financing is available from many sources, and one of our experienced agents will be able to suggest lenders with a history of offering excellent mortgage products and services.
4. View homes with your BHGRE Thomas Group Realtor® and select the one
Simply put, the key to the home research process is knowing what you are looking for. Among other things, that means distinguishing between “must-haves” and “like-to-haves.” To help put your experience in perspective, keep in mind:
- Almost 90% of buyers use the Internet to search for homes
- The typical buyer searches for 12 weeks and views at least 12 homes
There are many benefits to starting the search process at a real estate website where you can view many homes and their details, take video tours and access neighborhood information. However, it is also important to view homes in person. While property details may seem similar online, homes can actually be very different in terms of layout, design, workmanship and other aspects. In addition, you should ideally view homes with the help of one of our experienced agents who will notice things you might miss, provide an expert analysis and act as an impartial sounding board.
5. Make an offer and negotiate with the seller
Now that you’ve found the home you’d like to buy, it’s time to make an offer. Your local real estate association, working with legal counsel, has developed the contracts that are used for transactions in the Gainesville area. These contracts enable you to specify a sale price and also include many clauses for specifying various terms or purchase, such as the closing and possession dates, your deposit amount and other conditions. You should carefully review these clauses with your agent to ensure that they express your desired offer. In addition to drawing up the contract, we will be happy to address all your questions about the offer process.
Once you’ve written the offer, your agent will present it to the seller and/or the seller’s representative. At this point, the process will depend on the kind of market you’re in. Generally though, the seller can accept your offer, reject it or counter it to initiate the negotiation process. Successful counter-offers, or offers with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions, may be exchanged between you and the seller until a mutually satisfactory agreement is reached or negotiations break down.
6. Appraisal and inspection
After the offer is accepted, a one-to-two week inspection period begins.
The Appraisal is an evaluation of the property’s value. The appraiser visits the property and reviews recent selling prices of similar properties in the area. Your lender will order the appraisal.
The Inspection is an evaluation of the property to determine if there are any problems that could change its value. The inspector will carefully examine the entire home, inside and out. He or she will then write a detailed report with any problems found.
The buyer generally hires the inspector, so you will want to find someone who is trustworthy and experienced. Referrals may come from recent home buyers, your agent or your lender. A good inspector will check the entire home from top to bottom for:
- General condition of the property
- Electrical, heating and cooling systems
- Exterior structure, possible water damage, garage doors, roof and chimney
- Interior structure, insulation, foundation, windows and doors
- Pest control
Termite Inspection – many areas require a termite inspection. If termites are found, you must have proof that the house has been treated and that any termite damage has been repaired.
7. Secure your financing
Once you have a pending agreement, it’s time to go back to your chosen lender to finalize your mortgage details and close the deal. This means confirming your down payment, interest rate, regular payment schedule and any other financial conditions associated with closing.
As noted in the section on loan per-approval, if you’ve already been qualified with a lender for a certain loan and home purchase amount, this phase should be a relatively straightforward matter that centers on finalizing the loan details and signing the mortgage papers.
Keep in mind, when so many buyers suffer the consequences of having not fully understood their financial decisions, it’s crucial to work with people you trust. In this regard, a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Thomas Group Realtor® will be a trustworthy advisor, guide and friend.
8. Close the deal
If you’ve efficiently handled everything connected with purchasing your new home, the experience of taking ownership will be a positive joy with no surprises. Here are the key steps for the closing:
Execute a title search: A historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property to ensure that there are no claims against the title. It is necessary to purchase Title Insurance in case the records contain errors or there are mistakes in the review process.
Complete the final walk-through: You’ll be given the chance to look at the home to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you signed the sale agreement.
Reach a settlement: Typically, on the closing date, you’ll go to a lawyer’s office to verify and sign the paperwork required to complete the transaction. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments and transfer taxes. At that point, you’ll receive the property title and copies of all documentation pertaining to the purchase.
9. Get the keys to your new home!