Contract to Closing
It’s both exciting and stressful negotiating a real estate purchase contract. Once it’s signed by the sellers, buyers can relax a bit, but I can’t. There are still more negotiations, document deliveries, inspections, title details and mortgage tasks to be accomplished to reach a successful closing and walk away with the keys to your new real estate property.
There are more than 50 specific due dates and tasks on our average transaction checklist, but an overview of a few includes:
- Post contract delivery of documents to the title company and ordering of a title binder or commitment.
- Deposit of earnest money and delivery of receipt to the buyer client.
- Helping my buyers to order inspections and coordinating them and providing access to assure they’re completed on time.
- Coordinating timely delivery of any documents objecting to disclosures, inspection results, or title binder issues discovered.
- Coordinating appraisal and appraiser access.
- Working with mortgage company and coordinating delivery of documents they require.
- Assisting my buyers with any negotiations related to contingencies, inspections or documents.
- Constant monitoring of status of all processes at the title company.
There are a number of companies and people involved in a real estate transaction, including attornies, surveyors, appraiser, title company, mortgage broker, lender, loan underwriter, both agents, and possibly others. Each has specific duties and requirements, and each is concentrating on doing a good job for you. However, their focus is narrow, targeted on their specific niche in the deal. As your buyer agent, I'm your “go-to” resource to bring it all together. I'm here to coordinate the activities of all of these companies and people for you.
I'm constantly monitoring those 50+ document delivery items and the work done by these people. Daily we check the progress against contractual deadlines and act on our project requirements. A lot of this activity goes on behind the scenes and you’re not even bothered. Some of it requires that we contact you and request documents or actions. Please understand that my overriding goal is a smooth transaction, and getting you through meeting all deadlines is one of our jobs. I’ll only bother you when necessary, telling you what I need and when, and moving you through to a successful closing.
There is a lot more, but those are the highlights, and many sub–tasks are related to each of them. I'm obsessed with proper follow–up and detailed coordination of every step of the closing process for my buyer clients. It’s critical that I make all deadlines and keep the transaction on track to avoid defaulting on any terms of the contract. I’ll keep your real estate transaction on track, and you’ll have the time and advice you need to assure you’ve covered all of the bases prior to closing.
So You Want to Buy A House? Relax! Breathe! You CAN DO THIS!! We’ve helped hundreds of families in North Carolina purchase their first home! This can be a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Here’s our guide for purchasing a home in NC.
Step by Step Home-buying
Step 1. Financing… Remember these words, “First the LOAN, then the HOME.” In today’s faced paced market, “ball parking” your price range with someone is good, but you MAXIMIZE your buying power by being PRE-APPROVED with a Mortgage Loan Consultant FIRST. The pre-approval process is a simple one, and will provide you with the options which meet your payment comfort zone. THEN you are better equipped to meet with a Realtor® and find the most house for your money. Because multiple offers come in on the same home, a PRE-APPROVED buyer has a better chance of being the new homeowner! Pros and Cons of First Time Home Buyer Programs
Step 2. House Hunting… Now that you and the agent know your budget, there are still questions about family, hobbies, interests, floor plan layouts, decorating tastes, schools and LOCATION which must be addressed. Once these questions are answered, then you can see what is on the market. In some prices rages, there are more buyers than listings and that is where your patience and the Realtor®’s persistence come into play. With today’s technology, Realtor®’s have access to the constantly changing market which helps them keep an eye out for houses that meet your needs!
Step 3. The Contract… Yippee! Writing an offer means that you’ve found a home that you like enough to want to buy it. You may think the tough part is over, but writing a good offer is very important to protect you and your interests:
- What Are You Willing To Pay: The Piedmont Triad Market is generally considered to be a “Seller’s Market.” This means there are not always enough home to go around in a given price range for all the people who want to buy houses. The United States, however, is going through an unusual time; and the Triangle Housing Market is shifting to a “Buyer’s Market.” Assuming that we are in a “Buyer’s Market,” some people question the need for a Realtor®. Using a professional who has access and experience in analyzing trends in a given neighborhood could save you thousands of dollars! A Realtor® has access to the latest information regarding closings in that area which will give you the competitive edge when making an offer. Our best advice? If you like a home, make your best offer. Sellers can become offended with an extremely low offer and refuse to negotiate the best terms for you!
- Appraisal: An Offer to Purchase is made contingent upon an appraisal. The property must appraise at or above the sales price, or the buyer shall have the option to deem this contract null and void and shall have earnest money returned in full. An appraisal is a non-interested third-party confirmation of your property’s value as of the time of the appraisal.
- Inspection: An inspection of the property done by a licensed inspector will give you peace of mind, as well as a chance to ask the seller to make structural or mechanical repairs to the property. The seller then has the option to refuse or complete the repairs, compensate you for the repairs or null and void the contract. Again, this is a time during the purchase process when you will rely heavily on the skills and contacts of a Realtor®.
- Personal Property: Ceiling fans, window treatments, basketball goals, birdhouses, appliances, etc. are things that people see when they walk through the property and expect to see after closing. Unless the offer spells these items out specifically, they are not part of the contract. If you see something you really like… make certain it is a part of the contract!
- Ernest Money: Making an earnest money DEPOSIT means that you are serious about the home and the offer. The check goes with the offer until it is accepted. Once accepted, it is deposited in escrow in the trust account of the listing company. It is credited to you at closing. Should your offer not be accepted, the uncashed check is returned to you.
- Due Diligence Fee: The due diligence fee is an amount paid by the buyer directly to the seller – and no matter what happens… once the contract is agreed upon, the sellers get to keep the Due Diligence Fee. This is one of the checks that follows the contract from Buyer to Seller, and it gets deposited as soon as the contract is agreed upon. In addition to the due diligence fee, there is a negotiated due diligence period. The fee is really allowing the buyer to “peek under the roof” and be certain that they will want to purchase the home. As the Home Buyer conducts their “due diligence” looking at inspections and reviewing an appraisal, the Seller has their home off of the market. If the buyer decides, for ANY REASON during that due diligence period of time, the contract is ended, and the BUYER keeps their Earnest Deposit money.
- Closing Date: Don’t plan your move around a contract closing date. Attorneys, banks, sellers and buyers all have to be coordinated. Most closings take place on schedule… but realize we said “MOST.”
Step 4. Acceptance!!!
Step 5. Stuff that happens before you close… We’re all REALLY busy!
- The Realtor® will get copies of the Contract to the Attorney and the Mortgage Company.
- You need to check with the Loan Company and provide them with any additional information they might request for loan approval.
- The Realtor® helps tentatively schedule the closing date and time with all parties.
- The Realtor® schedules inspections (Structural and Mechanical, Termite, Well and Septic)
- If needed a letter of request for repairs will be written.
- The Realtor® will be checking on any repairs that are done.
- You and the Realtor® will be checking with the Lender to see that loan approval, appraisal, survey (and any other documents needed) are all on track.
- You need to obtain Hazard Insurance and have the policy sent to the attorney’s office several days prior to closing.
- The Realtor® will have the walk through scheduled.
- The Realtor® will meet you for the final walk through prior to closing.
- The Mortgage Loan Consultant will call you and compare the Good Faith Estimate with the final closing statement (called a HUD-1)
- You need to obtain certified funds for the attorney. You will also need to bring your driver’s license!
Step 6. CLOSING!!!
- In North Carolina the closing takes place in an attorney’s office. The attorney acts as the Trustee for the transaction. Closing generally last 30 to 45 minutes.
If you are considering a purchase in the Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem, Summerfield or Oak Ridge area– we would love to be part of the team that helps you!