Thinking about buying a home in today’s hot market? We were recently asked by a First Time Home Buyer in Nashville to explain all of the different steps they would need to complete in order to purchase their first home. A diagram perhaps? So we decided to create this handy dandy chart to show the different stages of our typical Southern Athena Home Buying Process. Now, we hope you know this one won’t cover many scenarios, such as relocation, 1031 exchanges or all cash offers, but we do hope it helps give you a preview of all the steps and the amount of time the process can take. Contact us today to discuss how we can tailor this home buying process to meet your individual needs and timelines. We can get you in a home as quickly as you can move and make decisions.
Thinking of the process in overlapping stages can be helpful to minimize common stress associated with the home buying process. Our stages are then broken up into tasks that we know you should prepare yourself for completing. This may not be an end-all be-all for your individual process, but hey, doesn’t it help just to lay it all out there for you?
Step 1: Buyer Education (1 to 2 Months)
If you are making any decision without at least a small amount of education, you are more likely to make the wrong decision, or even be taken advantage of, yikes! We don’t want that for our buyers, which is why we think the Buyer Education process is both paramount and first in any Home Buying process. We actually wanted to extend the Buyer education line through infinity on the chart, but were told that was a little much. So 1 to 2 months it is. The first couple of weeks you start thinking or considering a purchase should also be spent educating yourself on the current market, bank rates, auditing your finances, and really getting to know how to make more informed decisions later in the process. Now, not all education is created equal, so we do our best to provide you with all the resources to help get you up to speed quickly and efficiently. Check out our Buying a Home Pinterest Board.
Step 2: Buyer Documentation (1 to 2 Weeks)
This stage is all about getting your ducks in a row. Lender pre-approvals, firm commitments on starting the process, plus getting used to signing and filling out massive amounts of paperwork prepares you for the real world of a real estate transaction. This stage can be completed in as little as a day if you are a veteran of the process and ready to make a move, or you may have questions on how best to organize. Either way, we can guide you through everything in very little time.
Step 3: Searching and Touring (1 to 4 Weeks)
Most everyone’s favorite part of the home buying process is usually looking at all of the pretty real estate options and getting caught up in imagining a new life in a new home. How very exciting! That is why most people start looking before they complete steps 1 and 2. It is fun, has no strings attached, and usually feels great to dream about life. After all, who wants to look at their credit score, share their finances, or realize they need to save more than they had thought? Ouch. Not us! We love this stage and want the searching and touring process to be both fun and purposeful. Don’t you want all of these wonderful dreams to become a reality? That’s where we help. We start by reviewing options that you like and don’t like through our automated listing service updates.
From there you choose 4 homes at a time that realistically could meet your wish lists and then start the touring process! We schedule the tours to make the best use of your time, and we love being your guide and dreaming about what the spaces could look like with you in them. We have found that it is very difficult to remember specifics about a property if you have seen more than 4 at a time, so we always try to shoot for touring this magic number! From there, we compare each and hope one is that perfect fit. If not, we revise and go again for round 2 until we find the one. Now, if you have seen more than a dozen properties and don’t like any of them, something is wrong, and we may need to repeat stages 1 and 2 to ensure we can actually find what you are after.
Step 4: Contract Negotiation (1 to 3 days)
This is one of the most stressful stages of the process. It includes making offers, legally binding contracts, unknown seller responses, leverage, and negotiation all in the matter of hours! We help our clients on the strategy side by leveraging their position compared to the market and by ALWAYS negotiating for their best interests. This is where our holistic approach and our Southern Athena’s “war strategy” talents come in handy. We look at the full picture of the real estate playing field to ensure the final contract can accomplish your real estate goals. Don’t underestimate our experience in this stage. We have been known to save clients hundreds of thousands of dollars and always take your financials very seriously. Our first offer will be strategic based on what we know (of the property, market, seller’s situation, listing agent, etc.) and then the Seller has time to respond. In recent years, we have helped clients win through bidding wars, walk from bad deals, and stay on track to meet their goals. If we make an offer and it doesn’t work out, we go back to the drawing board and try try again.
Step 5: Getting to Close (7 Weeks or ~45 Days)
Phew, now that the contract is signed and everyone is ready to do this thing, there are still a lot of tasks to complete (more than 10 actually). And we hate to say it, but most of these are the buyer’s responsibility. This stage’s task list is so important because it helps protect you in many ways from paying for a property that could become a mistake due to unknown circumstances. You should read through each task carefully and really check them off to ensure you are also always acting in accordance with your contract. Items often include depositing Earnest Money, scheduling inspections for due diligence, coordinating regularly with your lender, negotiating any contract changes and scheduling moving timelines to name a few. We help by noting strict contract deadlines and commitments, and by offering our Southern Athena Preferred Vendors list so you can rest assured all of your needs are handled by professionals that we have worked with in the past. Getting to the closing table can feel like running a marathon. A lot can happen during this time on both the Seller and Buyer side.
Remember: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings!”
Step 6: Closing (The BIG Day)
Who knew receiving a set of keys could feel so good? Your home is so much more than a building. It has the ability to shape your life story, your relationships, and memories. That’s why closing day is so important – Your BIG Day. We take you on a final walkthrough of your new property, go to the closing table and within about an hour or so, you are the proud owner of your new home! Congratulations! What a rush! Now let’s finish this whole process with some celebrating and hugging. We can’t wait to see you loving life with your new home!