USCityhomes

Buyer Transaction Guide

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Buyer

Make your buy decision​

  • You’ve decided you are ready, willing, and able, to buy a home.
  • You are looking into financing and your finances are in order.
  • You have an idea of what you are looking for and where.
  • You can move in 30-45 days.
  • You have a budget.
  • You are ready to submit an offer when you find the right place. 

Identify your team

  • Select your Agent
  • Select a Lender
  • Identify your Inspector
  • Identify your insurance company

Get a conditional approval letter

You can’t make an offer without a Conditional Approval Letter from your lender. The seller can judge your credit worthiness with the letter. A smart seller will call the lender and ask what steps have been taken to issue the letter. All income and assets should have full documentation. The letter identifies how much you can pay, the down payment, loan type and any conditions for getting the loan. The more cash down the better and a conventional loan is more desirable to a seller than a VA and FHA loan. There are exceptions.

Start your search

Begin looking online and narrow your focus. Your considerations are unique to your individual and family needs. Make a list of factors that are important to you and decide which are must have or nice to have features. You can modify your list after you have began looking at homes. Some common considerations are:

  • Location
  • Proximity to work or play
  • Schools
  • Size
  • 1 or more floors
  • Number of beds and baths
  • Garage spaces
  • Lot size
  • Property taxes
  • Price
  • Age 
  • Condition

Narrow your search

At some point your list should be narrowed to a handful of subdivisions. Those with similar features and cost. Before looking at a home with your agent, drive the neighborhood, when possible, attend open house functions advertised online. Next:

  • Have your agent schedule showings and check availability. 
  • Bring advisors and decision makers with you to showings.
  • Be prepared to move fast if even going to see one home at a time.

Prepare to make an offer

Ask “What home is the best choice for my budget?”.  You must see enough homes for your gut to say “This is the one”. When you can say ” I know it when I see it” you are ready to make an offer.  Your agent can put together an offer for you and present it to the listing agent. Considerations are:

  • How many days has this home been on the market?
  • Your agent can ask the listing agent about offer considerations, other offers, previous offers, deadlines, and any special needs of the seller. 
  • Review a market analysis with your agent to determine a negotiation strategy. 
  • Review costs. 
  • Check inspector availability.
  • Go see it again if you are not sure.

Make an offer

The goal is to negotiate the best possible offer and win the deal. Making an offer is a fill in the blank process. All offers are on the same contracts and forms. What is acceptable to the seller is somewhat unknowable. Your agent can advise on how to make a strong offer. From the sellers point of view, “they want the best offer that will close.”

The variables in an offer are:

  • Names of buyers and sellers
  • Price and Down Payment
  • Exclusions 
  • Who pays for the title policy
  • Choice of Title Company
  • Amount of Earnest Money
  • Amendments to the title policy
  • Who provides the survey
  • Days to make objections
  • Acceptance of property as-is or with conditions
  • Allowance for residential service contract
  • Date of closing
  • Date of possession
  • Special provisions
  • Seller paid buyer closing costs
  • Other addendums and amendments
  • Option fee amount
  • Option period days
  • Days for buyer loan approval
  • Days for lender loan approval
  • Other contingencies 
  • Amount payable for HOA transfer fees and timing for delivery of documents
  • Lead paint disclosure
  • Other addendums and disclosures for unique situations
  • Sellers Disclosure notice
  • Updated Lender Conditional Approval Letter
  • Letter from buyer to seller

After the offer is completed and signed it is presented to the listing agent and seller. The goal of the agent is to create a positive rapport with the listing agent and promote trust. The outcomes are:

  • Seller rejects the offer
  • Seller sets a deadline for best and final offers
  • Seller accepts another offer
  • Seller counters the offer and terms are negotiated
  • Seller accepts the offer