This is to give New Home Buyers the Information they may like to know. Basically this is a FAQ section designed to answer most of the basic questions you will have as you move through the St George real estate process toward home ownership. Please consider this my welcome packet. It is laid out in a step by step format so you will know exactly where you are as you prepare to move in to your new home. This is similar to the information provided previously on understanding the REPC. The difference is, this is more of a logical step by step explanation of the home buying process. Using a St George real estate agent can actually save you money.
The first step toward your new home purchase is determining what price range your new home will be in. There are two types of pre qualifications. The quickest is what is known as a pre-qual.
Pre-Qualification this can usually be done very quickly, (within a few hours). This process is a good place to start to give you an idea of what price range you will qualify for. It is much better to get Pre Approved, if you are serious about purchasing a house.
Pre-approval. This process is a little more extensive, and requires the lender to verify your income, and your debt. Most sellers ask for a letter of Pre-approval to accompany any offer. This to assure the person selling their house that you have the financial ability to purchase their home. If a house has multiple offers the seller may choose the offer with the strongest financial ability, over a buyer with a weaker financial profile. With a clear picture of your price range in mind you are ready to move onto home selection. Getting the pre-approval is an important step in your St George real estate purchase.
2. Home Selection
With preliminary financial work out of the way you are now ready to begin searching for your new home. We have a comprehensive list of homes that are listed for sale in St George real estate area, and all of Southern Utah. There are many ways to sort properties for you to consider. Here are a few choices that you will want to think about.
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
2 or 3 Car Garage, or none
When searching in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for real estate in St George it is usually better to limit the number of search fields used. Let’s say you would like a home that is built after 2005 and we set your search criteria up with that field set for 2005. It may be that a home built in 2002 has been completely renovated and is actually nicer than the home built in 2005. By setting the criteria up only newer than 2005 the nicer renovated built in 2002 will not show up and you will not even know it exists. For this reason, I recommend setting the search criteria fairly broad giving you more houses to choose from. It might be better to start with area and price, which are two of the most important categories generally speaking.
3. Your Offer
Once you ave selected a home in the St George real estate market that you would like to purchase, we will fill out what is known as a REPC. This stands for Real Estate Purchase Contract. This document spells out what you are willing to pay for the home, and the conditions upon which you would be willing to purchase it. It also has the dates that specific components of the agreement need to completed by. Once completed we submit the offer to the party selling the home. They will either accept, reject, or counter our offer. If they counter the offer you have the opportunity to accept, reject, their counter, or to counter back. This process continues until both parties are satisfied, and agree with the contract. It is important to understand that everything you want must be in writing or you may not get it.
Once you are “under contract” it is important to pay attention to the deadlines explained in the REPC. The deadlines include, seller disclosures, due diligence, financing and appraisal, and settlement deadlines. The sellers disclosures are what the person is selling the house must give to you. This is the document wherein the seller must let you know of any defects of the property he is aware of. The due diligence deadline is the time you are given to inspect, or have the property inspected. If something is discovered during the due diligence period a new addendum will have to be created and agreed to by buyer and seller. The settlement deadline is the date when everything is to be completed, funds accessible, and both parties sign the final paperwork. Some people mistake “settlement” for “closing”. For more detailed information on the REPC see the Real Estate 101section of this site. If you have any questions about your St George real estate purchase contract give me a call.
Escrow is what happens when the title company becomes involved in the transaction. Escrow is usually opened up when a deal is reached and the REPC and addenda are all signed. All of the information about the transaction is sent to the title company. They complete a title search, and prepare documents for settlement and closing. There are several qualified Escrow or Title companies in the St George real estate area, I can help you find one.
5. Home Inspection
Home Inspections in the St George real estate market and anywhere for that matter, are a critical part of a home purchase. I always encourage clients to get a home inspection. It is worth every penny, especially if the home inspection reveals something that you didn’t see. It is not unusual for a home inspection to uncover a few problems. This is not necessarily a bad thing. An item needing repair could result in a small price reduction to cover the cost to fix the defect. Once a defect has been found the seller is almost “forced” to fix it, or disclose it to the next buyer should you decide to walk away. If you are not concerned about problems discovered you don’t have to bring them to the sellers attention. If you are concerned about something the home inspection reveals we will write up an addendum and present it to the seller. If they don’t agree to fix the problem you can choose to make a counter offer to the rejected addendum, or walk away. If the seller doesn’t agree to fix a problem, it doesn’t mean they are bad people, it may be that they simply don’t have the money to do so. This is one of the nuances a home buyer in the St George real estate market may not be aware of.
6. Home Warranty
I also believe strongly in the benefits of a home warranty. The price of a home warranty in our St George real estate area is usually less that $500. It can save you thousands of dollars should something major happen after you buy the home. There are several companies that offer home warranties, we typically ask for a home warranty to be paid for by the seller of the home in our offer to them.
It typically takes between 30-45 days to complete the financing process. VA and Rural Housing loans for St George Real Estate can take a little longer. The financing process almost always takes more time than the other pieces of the transaction. The lender will complete a loan package and submit it for underwriting as quickly as possible. Usually the loan originator is waiting for the buyers (you) to get necessary paperwork and documentation back to them. Once they have everything they submit a completed loan package to underwriting. This is the department that checks everything out to assure that the buyer has everything necessary to allow the loan to fund. As you can see the entire process starts and ends with financing. A good pre-qualification will cut down the time collecting documentation in preparation for submitting the loan package. Pre-approval and or pre-qualification will both expedite your St George real estate purchase.
8. HUD Statement
The HUD is the final ledger of the entire transaction. Basically it accounts for all of the money that has changed hands, or that will change hands. This is usually prepared and ready to review 24 hours prior to settlement. This is a chance to review the transaction prior to signing. Questions about the HUD can be answered either prior to, or at the time of settlement. If there are major issues with the HUD it would be best to work them out prior to settlement.
9. Settlement and Closing
Settlement takes place at the title company. Title insurance safeguards the buyer from assuming debts or liens that may be attached to the property. Closing and settlement are often confused. Closing is actually when the paperwork and money exchanged at settlement are recorded. Once recorded the property is now yours. Typically closing takes place the day after settlement. There are however times when settlement occurs before a weekend or Holiday. In this case the transaction may not be recorded for a few days. Settlement and closing are the two happiest parts of a St George real estate transaction.
10. Possession of Your New Home
The last and most exciting part of the entire process is when you are given the keys to your new home. This happens as soon as the closing is complete. The previous home owner may leave the keys at the title company or with our office.