When people talk about buying a house, they often discuss the steps leading up to making an offer. But that’s not where the process ends. Here’s a step-by-step guide for what happens between signing a home purchase agreement and officially becoming a homeowner.
- Open an escrow account: An escrow account is a third-party fund that protects both the buyer and the seller until the home sale is finalized. When you open the account, you make an earnest money deposit to tell the seller you’re truly committed to buying.
- Get approved for a mortgage: Even if you’ve already gotten preapproved for a home loan, you need to return to your lender to finalize that approval before the home buying process can continue.
- Obtain homeowner’s insurance: You’re not legally obligated to have homeowner’s insurance, but this coverage provides peace of mind. Plus, your mortgage lender may require it before agreeing to finance your home purchase.
- Conduct a title search: It’s important to hire a company to conduct a title search, which checks for any liens or other encumbrances that might jeopardize your homeownership in the future. You’ll also want to obtain title insurance to protect you in the rare case that a property ownership dispute comes up despite the title search.
- Schedule a home and pest inspection: Sellers are legally required to disclose any problems with the property, but an independent home inspection is highly recommended. You may also want to schedule a pest inspection to check for rodent or insect infestations. If anything comes up during these inspections, you have the right to renegotiate the offer—unless the purchase agreement states that the property is for sale “as is.”
- Pay your down payment and closing costs: If everything looks good, it’s time to deposit your down payment (minus the earnest money you already deposited) plus closing costs into the escrow account. Sometimes, the seller agrees to pay the buyer’s closing costs, in which case you only need to deposit the down payment.
- Conduct a final walkthrough: Your purchase agreement should give you the right to walk through the property 24 hours before closing. This ensures the home is vacant, move-in ready, and in the condition you and the seller agreed upon.
- Sign the paperwork: There’s a lot to sign on closing day, including the deed naming you as the new property owner. Once you’re done signing paperwork, you’ll receive the keys to the house. You are now free to move into your new home!
The best way to successfully finalize a home purchase agreement is to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent. The team at Vutech & Ruff has over 60 years of combined experience. We’ll help you navigate the home buying process while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. To get started, check out the homes for sale in Columbus, Ohio. Then, call us at 614-897-0618 or contact us online when you’re ready to get serious about buying a home!