As first-time homebuyers, you may feel a little overwhelmed and unsure of the process. We are here to guide you every step of the way. Here is a broad timeline of the transaction from start to finish:

1. Pre-Approval
If you are looking to buy in the next 6-12 months, start getting your ducks in a row by getting pre-approved by a lender. This will help you and your agent tailor your search based on what you are qualified to buy.  Furthermore, if you find a property that you want, you may be able to immediately submit your offer instead of losing precious time waiting for that paperwork to be completed. As your lender will tell you, put all major purchases on hold until AFTER you close as this will affect what you are qualified to buy and ultimately your mortgage commitment.

Need a lender? Here are a few my clients have used:

Luke Chamberlin, Senior Loan Officer, NJ Lenders 

Natalie McNaught, Senior Loan Officer, Cross Country Mortgage

2. Research and Showings
Based on the criteria you give such as “must have 2-car garage and 4 bedrooms”, we will set up an auto-search for you that will immediately email you whenever something new comes on the market or has a price reduction into your range. We will also be monitoring the market manually and tapping into our own network to find the “hidden gems” but this way, we won’t miss a thing! Once you’ve chosen properties you’d like to see, let your agent know and s/he will arrange to see them as quickly as possible. Remember, the good houses (priced well and in good condition) will go fast so be prepared to adjust your schedule to see them before they get snatched up. 

3. Offer
So, you’ve found the house that you can envision yourself living in. Now what? We will supply comps and provide advice so that you can come in with an acceptable offer. We will draw up the contract for your signatures and will need to know your offer, the amount of down payment and mortgage, your pre-approval, your desired closing date and any other provisions. Keep in mind, that it is not a binding contract until it goes through the next step…

4. Attorney Review
After the sellers have signed your contract, it is submitted to the seller’s attorney and your attorney. Over the course of their review of the contract, which typically takes 3 business days, the parties will go back and forth with changes and additions (called “riders”) and when both parties agree, you are officially under contract!

5. Inspection Contingency
Within ten (10) days of when the attorney review period ends, you will need to conduct any and all inspections. A whole-house inspection takes about 2-3 hours and he may suggest further inspections if he finds something outside of his expertise (i.e. foundation, mold, chimney). Depending on the house, your attorney and your agent might also recommend a UST (underground storage tank) sweep. When the inspection reports are delivered to you, you and your attorney will discuss what you want the seller to address which the seller may or may not agree to do. 

6. Mortgage Contingency 
Usually, your mortgage commitment is due 30 days after the attorney review period ends. During that period, your lender’s underwriters will be asking for various financial statements from you. Be prompt on delivering these documents as it could impact if you meet the closing date or not. 

7. Walk through
Typically, a walk-through is done the night before or the morning of closing. This is your time to make sure the home is cleared out, broom-clean and verify that any repairs that were to be done by seller were completed. 

8. Closing!
Congratulations! You bought your first home. You will be given keys and its yours! Remember to change the locks before you move in just as a precaution as you don’t know how many sets are lingering out there. Also, put all the utilities in your name.