As you know from previous blog posts, my family is finally under contract. After some negotiating and lots of luck we are able to start the final jog to the closing table. There is so much that happens after your realtor exclaims, “Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted!”
No two real estate transactions are ever the same, and our situation has to be one of the most unique I have ever been a part of. My family (“the buyers”) are located in a hot market in North Carolina. The Sellers are located overseas...with a 12-hour time difference. This resulted in every required document, every question, and every interaction taking a full day longer to complete. To say that this has been a bit nerve-wracking would be a gross understatement.
As soon as we were informed that we were under contract, we began the process to secure our mortgage. Since the decline (or bust, if you will) of the Housing Market (beginning in 2007 and hitting lows in 2012), getting a loan has required more documentation, qualifications and time. We spent no less than one week just searching files, requesting documentation, and combing through bank statements to determine where every dollar had come from, and where it had gone. For the most part, I would say kids. Kids are where all the dollars go!
Every time that we thought we had absolutely everything the Underwriter would come back to us, requesting yet another document. Around midnight on a random Wednesday night, we swore (for the 1,000th time) that we would never lose track of a penny again! My advice? Do a quick Google search or contact a mortgage broker before you even intend to apply for a loan, start a list of everything that you may potentially need, and start finding that stuff stat! It will save you so much time and frustration.
Our house was being sold “as is” but we still wanted to have a home inspection completed. I suggest that you ALWAYS have one. We needed to know that the bones of the house were good and that the house was safe for our family. We also didn’t want any $20,000 surprises after we move in.
If at all possible, go to the inspection with your Inspector! Our guy was great, and was one of about 4 recommended by our realtor, friends, and family. We spent almost 5 hours looking into every nook and cranny of the house. After finding all of the “issues” we walked away knowing exactly what kind of renovations and repairs we were facing.
This allowed for us to determine what we could afford to do before moving in. For us, new windows, kitchen floor, a small plumbing job, and a minor roof repair are the priorities. Not too bad for a home built in the 1960s. In addition to walking through explaining what the issues were, our inspector sent us an extremely detailed report (complete with pictures) of everything that he found and noted as an issue. This will come in handy as we check off the smaller issues over time. Our inspector charged us (The Buyer usually pays for the Inspection) around $1000. I think that this is the most important money that will be spent on our house.
As the mortgage documents rolled through the approval process, the Lender scheduled an appraisal. Most common loans will require an appraisal to determine that the house is, in fact, worth the loan amount. Our lender scheduled the appraisal and we were not present for it. An appraiser will pull comparable homes for sale (“comps”) or recently sold homes in the area. He/She will compare all aspects from the condition, square footage, number of rooms, use of space and will adjust the home value accordingly.
We were cruising right on to the closing date...until we weren’t. Remember that fun little fact from the beginning of this post that the sellers lived overseas? With flexibility and patience it mattered very little...until now.
Find out how our closing has been effected by working with a seller so far away. And, find out if we even make it to the closing table. It will be a surprise for all of us, as we haven’t made it just yet!
What are some of the hurdles that you have jumped when closing on a home? Have you ever passed on an inspection? Join the conversation on Facebook