The Downtown Grand Rapids Buying Process
February 7, 2012
I work with a lot of first-time condo buyers who are eager to own their own home.
Before they can sign on the dotted line, there are some steps that need to happen to
confirm they will be successful downtown condo owners. Below is a short guide to buying your new condo.
The first step is to speak with a mortgage lender if you will need a mortgage. If
you don’t have one, your Realtor can refer one to you. The lender will discuss your
current credit situation among other things to decipher whether or not you are
financially stable to hold your own mortgage.
Congratulations, you’ve been approved for a mortgage! Once you are approved, you
can start your buying search. Your Realtor will be able to narrow down your search
based on the criteria you are looking for. It is best to do research ahead of time
based on listing price, location, size and other important items to determine what is
best for you and your lifestyle.
Once you review the listings your Realtor sent you, you can pick which ones you’d
like to see in person. Some properties look very different in the pictures than they
do in person so if you are ‘on the fence’ about one, it might be worth looking at it just
to make sure.
After you look at available listings in person, you can either put an offer in on one
you like or continue looking. You certainly don’t have to decide in one day but if you
are worried the property will go quickly, discuss that with your Realtor.
Once you have put an offer in on a downtown condo, the fun starts! You and your Realtor
will negotiate with the seller and their Realtor to come to an agreement based
on purchase terms. These terms could include purchase price, possession time,
appliances, closing costs being included, personal items and more.
After negotiations come inspections and appraisals. Buyers have 10 days from
the date the contract is accepted to complete inspections and present any items
to be discussed. The buyer and seller must agree on these terms before moving
forward. If no agreement is met, the deal is dead. If an agreement is met, we move
forward! Appraisal comes next and this is ordered through the buyer’s lender. The
appraiser will determine the value of the home based on current condition and
comparable homes in the area. If appraisal comes back at or above purchase price,
you’re good to go (and hopefully you got some equity!), if it comes below purchase
price, the seller either has to sell it for that price or they can request the appraisal be
After appraisal is completed, you are on the home stretch to closing. Your lender
will require some time to review (also known as underwriting) the documents and prepare for closing. You will receive a ‘clear to close’ on the loan which means everything is set on the lender end and they are ready to transfer the property over to you. A closing date will be set and you will become the new homeowner!
In a perfect world, it would all be that easy. Sometimes items will come up that
might prevent the purchase from happening. Don’t panic! Your Realtor should be
someone you trust and who can help you through this process. If you are thinking
about buying a home, contact me and I can walk you through the steps it takes to
becoming a new down town condo owner!