Next to unlocking the front door and stepping into your new home, the most thrilling moment in the home-buying process is when you get your offer accepted. After that, things often begin to get complicated, and you hear all kinds of confusing terms like “escrow” and “closing.” And because it’s not yet a done deal, things can still go wrong – sometimes terribly wrong. It pays, then, to know what happens immediately after your offer is accepted on a house.
Preparation for the Worst
Usually, after your offer is accepted on a , things proceed smoothly right up through signing the dotted lines, handing over the money, and getting the keys to your new home. But sometimes they don’t. So expecting the unexpected is a good policy.
As one real estate adviser puts it, “The first thing you need to realize is that things are going to come up. Even your dream property might have some issues that you won’t discover until later in the purchase process. You might find that your lender won’t provide you with terms that you’re happy with. Be prepared for these types of things to happen, and don’t get frustrated if everything doesn’t go completely smoothly the first time around.”
Even after your offer is accepted, it’s a good idea to step back, re-assess, and make sure you are making the right home purchasing decision for you, especially right after you get the results of the inspection. Some of the problems uncovered can be significant and costly. So keep in mind that while you’re still in the contingency period and don’t violate any contractual terms, you can still withdraw your offer without losing your earnest money deposit.
So now that we’ve got that caveat out of the way, let’s see what happens immediately after your offer is accepted on a house.
Getting a Loan
The first thing that happens after your offer is accepted on a house is that you will have to get a mortgage loan actually buy the house (unless, of course, you’re paying cash, but few of us are able to do that). Hopefully, you’ve already taken the first crucial step of getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan. But if you haven’t, real estate pros advise meeting with two or three lenders (minimum) in order to compare the possible loan options and companies. Also, you should “ask questions, and be completely open with the lenders about your finances.”
Appraisal and Inspection
The next things that happen when your offer is accepted on a house are the appraisal and inspection. Your mortgage lender will require an appraisal performed by a qualified professional appraiser (usually provided by the lender). This appraisal is primarily for the lender’s protection, but yours as the buyer as well. The purpose of the appraisal is to make sure the home’s market value is at least equal to the purchase price and certainly not under. If the appraised value does turn out to be less than the purchase price, you will have to renegotiate the price with the seller because your lender won’t lend more than appraised value.
The inspection, on the other hand, is primarily for your protection – so that you don’t buy a house that needs any major repairs or upgrades. Here’s how a top real estate site explains it: “A home inspection tells you if the home has any issues. Inspections aren’t always required, but you should absolutely get one even if you’re not getting a loan. Go over the inspection report in detail with the inspector to make sure you’re familiar with any problems, their severity, and the estimated cost to fix them.”
Making Sure You Have ALL the Necessary Funds
Typically, the next thing that happens is your making sure you have all the funds you need to complete the home-purchase process. There will be the down payment, of course, but there are also a lot of other expenses that many people aren’t aware of. These include closing costs, property tax, sometimes private mortgage insurance, and more.
Getting Sufficient Insurance
After your offer is accepted on a house, you will also need to make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage. Most of the time, your lender will require you to purchase homeowners insurance upfront before closing. This is often rolled into the loan, and you will pay for it with your monthly mortgage payment. In some areas, though, you may need additional insurance to be fully covered and protected. In some places, for example, flood coverage will be absolutely essential. (Contact your local real estate agent to find out what you need in your area. Call 866-593-7012.)
Performing a Final Walk-Through
Next, typically, you will perform a final walk-through of the house just before closing, usually about 48 hours prior. The purpose of this walk-through is to ensure that the property is in fact in the contractually agreed-upon condition. You will need to make sure that everything is there that should be (stove and refrigerator, for example) and that no damages have occurred since your offer was accepted. If you do find anything amiss, you may have to postpone the closing until the seller makes it right.
Finally, the last thing, the culmination of the whole process, that happens after your offer accepted on a house is closing. At closing, you sign the mortgage documents and officially take possession of the house. This is where the final documents are signed, a cashier’s check changes hands, and you get the key to your new home.
What Should Happen Both Before and After Offer Acceptance
So what happens after your offer is accepted on a house? A lot actually, as you can now see. And the home buying process actually begins long before you make that offer. That’s why it’s so important to have a local real estate agent on your side – to guide you through this complex and intricate process.