You've probably heard these points before, but they can't be emphasized enough. You should have your financing lined up before you make an offer and then keep everything steady through settlement. This also affords you plenty of time to ask questions on both your financing and the overall process before the offer. You can then focus on the property and your move after you have a contract.
Thank you John for a great concise summary!
You're under contract, now what?
You've found a home, worked up an offer, and came to an agreement with a seller. Once the contract is executed, it's such a relief, and you're almost there when it comes to owning your new home. In the next few weeks, there are several steps to take (the sooner the better) to make your life easier as you prepare for owning your new home.
1) Have your mortgage financing lined up
This should ideally have been done prior to putting in offers, but in case the financing isn't in place, this needs to be worked on immediately to ensure you'll have funds available to you on settlement day.
2) Freeze your finances
This is not the time to move money around. If you have to move money around to get ready for settlement, be sure to keep a detailed paper trail, and explain your plans for shifting funds to your lender BEFORE you do it. Many times, people make the process more complicated or open a can of papertrail worms by moving money around. This can often be avoided with advice from a good mortgage banker.
3) Don't buy the furniture
Or any other major purchase for that matter. Sure you can plan on all of the things you'll want to buy after settlement, but it's a bad idea to do so before getting the keys to your new home. For one, opening new credit accounts (but it's a 0% financing offer!!! I know, don't do it.) can have a negative effect on your credit score and your debt to income ratios. During the mortgage process is NOT a time to buy a new car.
Credit & mortgage qualifying aside, you don't want to buy new things for a new home before you're 100% certain you'll be moving in. Appraisals, inspections, and walk through's all need to be completed, and all can lead to potential deal breakers. You don't want to be stuck with new home decor & nowhere to put it.
4) Move quickly
You may have some time before settlement, but it's best to get everything from the mortgage process to inspections done as soon as possible. As you approach the settlement date, the more things that aren't completed add unnecessary stress to what should be a very happy experience.
5) Trust the people you're paying
Another way to avoid stress is to avoid micromanaging. You're paying a Realtor, a lender, inspectors, and other professionals throughout the process. You should trust the professionals you've hired (or the recommendations of someone you trust) to do their jobs and to make the process as seamless as possible for you. If you don't feel you're getting a level of service that allows you to relax, speak up!
6) If you have questions, ask
The professionals you are working with have likely been through this process many, many times before. You haven't. No question is dumb (and likely, we'll have heard it before), and we want you to be informed, in the loop, and aware of what's going on.
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