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Understanding the Home Buying Process

Buying a home in Tucson can be challenging. The great listings won’t be on the market long. You need to have up-to-date information on the latest listings, and an agent you can count on to be your partner in the process and ensure that your home search will be as fun and stress-free as possible.

You’re about to make one of the most important purchases of your life. It’s important to choose an agent that gives you confidence and understands your specific needs. Experience, knowledge, responsiveness, and exceptional listening skills are all “must-have” qualities of a good agent. I’d like to thank you for considering me as your Tucson real estate agent. You can read more about me or send me a message by going to the Meet Carolyn page.

Getting pre-approved for a loan is an essential step prior to beginning your home search. Not only will it ensure you are searching within your budget, but many home sellers will not take your offer seriously unless you can demonstrate your financial qualification. Through the pre-approval process, your loan will be submitted to preliminary underwriting and you’ll receive an approval letter, good for 120 days.

If you haven’t found a mortgage professional yet, I’m happy to refer you to someone in my network I trust:

Sean Denlinger at VIP Mortgage
Email Sean or call: (520) 440-0516

Chuck Leefers at Nova Home Loans
Email Chuck or call: (520) 615-5513

Over 52% of home buyers start their home search process online. You can search for homes right here on my site as all the listing data is updated daily, directly from the MLS.

Here are some other ways to begin your search:

Drive by: There’s no better way to get to know a neighborhood and you don’t need an appointment. You can get a feel for the area, find out where the schools and parks are, see how many homes are for sale or rent, and assess the walkability of the neighborhood.

Open House: On any given weekend, there are a number of open houses, and while you don’t need an appointment, you do need to show up at the right time. Open houses are hosted by the listing agent and usually last for 3-4 hours, typically from late morning to mid-afternnon. You can easily find out where open houses are taking place by doing an Open House Search on the MLS or Zillow.

Private Home Showings: When you’re ready to dig deeper and have a private tour on your schedule, contact your agent and they’ll be able to set up appointments for you. Plan on seeing no more than 5-6 homes at a time and make sure you go prepared with these tools:

Mobile apps: Realtor.com and Zillow are handy tools for getting information on the fly and even showing you nearby businesses.
Notebook & pen: take plenty of notes! After seeing 5-6 properties, it’s hard to recall all the details of each home and not get them mixed up. Or use Evernote and create a note for each property you view.
Smartphone/camera: don’t take photos without permission, but any photos that you can take will help you remember your likes and dislikes about each home.

With all the tools and technology available today, searching for homes has become a whole lot easier. It’s a whole lot easier for everyone! While the process itself is easier, having up-to-date information, and being able to respond quickly, are essential.

Together, we’ll sit down and define a clear vision of your goals. By asking the right questions, and listening carefully to your answers, I can create a customized home search for you and you’ll be notified any time a new listing comes up that matches your criteria. That way, you won’t miss any opportunity to find your ideal home!

If your offer is accepted, the closing process begins. However, you should always be prepared for the seller to make a counter offer and have a strategy in place. The seller can counter with different terms and conditions, and/or a higher price.

Negotiating back and forth an be a nerve wracking process. Again, your agent can guide you and offer advice on any new terns or conditions presented. Once you’ve got a signed contract, there’s still plenty of steps ahead, including opening escrow, inspections and appraisals.

As soon as you have a signed contract with the seller, a home inspection will be scheduled. The inspection will cost around $300 – $400, but pricing varies based upon the size of the home and the property and if the property has a swimming pool, there is usually an extra charge for that inspection. Your inspector will assess the condition of all the systems in the house: electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, as well as the physical structure and the condition of any appliances included in the sale. Depending on your lender, a termite inspection may be required, and is always a best practice in Arizona.

If there are issues identified in the inspection report that you want the seller to address, they should be included in the BINSR (Buyer’s Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response). The BINSR is an addendum to the contract that acknowledges that all desired inspections are complete and allows the buyer and seller to negotiate the repair of any issues.

Your lender will order an appraisal to verify the value of the home you’re buying as part of the loan approval process. A licensed appraiser will go to the property, take measurements and look for defects. Then they look at other recent home sales in the neighborhood to determine that you are paying “fair market value” for the home. When the appraisal is finished, the report is sent to the lender. In most cases, the home will appraise at or above the contract price. In the event that the home appraises below the contract price, your agent can guide you on your options, which may include, requesting a revision of the appraisal if any errors are found, renegotiation with the seller, paying or splitting the difference, or canceling the contract.

The title company will act as a neutral third party to the transaction, prepare the deed, finalize all the documentation, and schedule a closing appointment for you to sign the documents.

Once the buyer and seller have signed all the required documents, the lender will wire the funds to the title company. The monies will be distributed by the title company and the deed will be recorded with the county. Once the deed is recorded, you will be the new owner of the home!

Your agent will arrange for you to get the keys and then you will be all set to move in to your new home! Be sure to arrange for the transfer of your utilities and ask for references if you need a moving company.