Are you planning to buy a home in Pennsylvania? Regardless of your location, the home buying process can be challenging to navigate. We have put together a home buying guide with some simple tips to guide you through the process.
Buying a new home is such an exciting life event. But, it only takes a few glitches to squelch that excitement. Diligent planning and preparation are crucial for a smooth and stress-free home buying experience.
Avoid being caught off guard with the unexpected by following our list of tips for buying a home in Pennsylvania.
Have a clear understanding of your finances
It is essential to have a clear understanding of your finances before you begin the home buying process.
It would be such a let down to find your dream home, and then later discover it is more than you can afford.
The process of understanding your finances should include the following:
- Determine your financial situation
- Create a budget
- Examine your credit score
Keep in mind that a down payment of 20 % of the total cost is typically required, in addition to other closing costs. Also, as you evaluate your financial situation, don’t forget to consider other monthly expenses of owning a home: mortgage insurance, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, etc.
Find a Good Real Estate Agent You Can Trust
There is so much to learn about a home and its surrounding area before deciding to buy. A trusted Real Estate agent could help you understand the process, as well as the things you should consider in your home search.
A Real Estate Agent can assist you in the following ways:
- Help you compare pricing with their familiarity of the community and the market’s condition.
- Help you find a home that meets your budget and needs.
- Contact professionals you need during your house search and before closing (home inspectors, mortgage brokers, etc.)
- Prepare your offer and handle all of the paperwork.
- Play a significant role in the negotiations of your final deal.
Fortunately, working with a real estate agent won’t cost you anything, as the seller typically pays the real estate commission.
When choosing an agent to work with, be sure to select one who is familiar with the area in which you are looking. It is equally important that the agent has plenty of experience and good reviews. Personal referrals from other home buyers are usually the best way to select an agent.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Once you have a clear understanding of your finances, it is time to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
You will need to provide the following information to your lender:
- Your income
- Your debt
- A list of all assets in your name
- Credit check
After a qualified lending professional has verified your information, your pre-approval will be confirmed.
The lender will work with you to put together the best loan for your situation.
Be Familiar with the Seller Disclosure Statement Requirements
Pennsylvania state law requires that the seller provide a declaration of the property’s physical condition.
Specific material defects covered under this form include:
- Property contents (i.e., appliances, etc.) needing repairs or replacements
- Inclusion of working smoke detectors
- Defects in any system (i.e., plumbing, electric, etc.)
- Deed restrictions
- Homeowner’s association fees
- Miscellaneous property details (i.e., structural additions, roof maintenance, type of sewage system, etc.)
As a buyer, seller disclosures are critical. Merely looking at a property isn’t enough to uncover every potential problem or issue.
However, you should not consider the seller disclosure to be a complete guide of the property’s condition, either.
In addition to providing a disclosure statement, the seller must comply with federal Title X disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards if the home was built before 1978.
Schedule a Home Inspection
Nearly every home has repair issues, so it is vital that you not look for either a “pass” or “fail” result.
Home Inspectors Look for Concerns in the Following Areas:
- Termites and other pests
- Conditions that could lead to mold growth
- Foundation, walls, floors, and issues with structural integrity
- Drainage, erosion, and issues with soil settlement
- The condition of all systems – plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, etc.
Most buyers make an offer contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection.
Larger issues discovered in the inspection typically become items for negotiations with the seller. Other concerns serve only as a cautious alert as you move forward with the deal.
Complete A Real Estate Purchase Agreement
This legal document contains the terms and conditions of the real estate transaction and must be signed by both the seller and the buyer.
A Real Estate Purchase Agreement Includes:
- An offer to sell or purchase
- An offer acceptance
- A final sale price
- A thorough property description
Your real estate agent will guide you through this process and ensure that you have the proper form.
Purchase a Title Insurance Policy
Your mortgage company will likely require you to purchase a title insurance policy. The purpose of a title insurance policy is to protect you against unfavorable claims by lien holders or previous owners.
The title company will conduct a search before their offer of coverage. If there are any problems discovered during the search, the seller will be required to fix them as a condition for closing.
Have a Clear Understanding of the Closing Process
Once you have decided on which home to purchase, you will have 30 days to close. There will be various costs incurred at closing, so be sure to include them in your budget.
Typical Closing Costs in the Purchase of a Home:
- Realty Transfer Tax
- Title Insurance
- Loan Origination and Underwriting Fees
- Appraisal Fee
- Home Inspection Fee
- Homeowners Insurance
When you are ready to make one of life’s biggest investments, keep in mind these home buying tips.
Unlike some states, the state of Pennsylvania does not require buyers to involve a real estate attorney in their home buying transaction. However, there are times when hiring a real estate attorney would be advantageous.
Could you benefit from the expert guidance of a real estate attorney through the transaction of one of life’s greatest investments? Contact the Law Offices of Leo T. White by phone at (610) 579-9141 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org today to see how their expert services can both guide and protect you.