Ready to Buy a Home? Here's How to Get Started

 Fargo Homes for Sale

Buying a home can be one of the biggest emotional and financial purchases you will ever make. To get your buying experience off to a smart start, contact one of our REALTORS® to help you understand the process, educate you on market conditions, and protect your interests. Before jumping in, it is important to understand the process of buying a home and what to expect.

Step 1: Pre-Approval

Pre-approval is so important in today's real estate market. It can give you leverage in a multiple offer situation, it demonstrates to sellers that you are a ready, willing and able buyer and gives you peace-of-mind knowing you can afford homes you're viewing.

Meet with a reputable mortgage lender who will listen to your needs. You will want to bring your tax returns, financial statements and any other credit-related documents with you. Your lender can also help determine if you are eligible for any down payment or financing assistance programs. Once you are pre-approved, keep your pre-approval letter handy when you are ready to write an offer.

Step 2: Know What Expenses to Expect

While there many financing programs that allow buyers to buy with little-to-no money down, there are still expenses. The following are some expenses to expect:

  • Down Payment - Conventional loans require at least 3% down; FHA loans require 3.5% down; VA & USDA can be 0% down.
  • Earnest Money - Typically 1% of the purchase price and is considered part of your down payment.
  • Home Inspection - Typically around $385-$800; radon testing can add $155-$200.
  • Appraisal - Typically $500-$700.
  • * Closing Costs - Approximately 3% of the purchase price and loan and title fees.

* BUYER BEWARE: Some real estate companies charge extra administrative or transaction fees to their buyers at closing. At Beyond Realty, we DO NOT charge administrative or transaction fees to our buyers or sellers.

Step 3: Finding a Home

There are several ways to look for homes in the Fargo / Moorhead area:

  • This website is a great place to start—use our property search feature to start narrowing down your choices, including a convenient DriveTime Search.
  • One of our REALTORS® can set up a search for you through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). You will then receive an email with all current listings that match your criteria and going forward, you can be emailed new listings within five minutes of them hitting the market.
  • You can attend open houses. Just remember, the REALTOR® hosting the open houses is working as an agent for the seller. Be sure you don't divulge your circumstances or motivation to them or if you are working with an agent already, simply let them know you are already working with someone else.
  • Our REALTORS® can also schedule showings for you when it fits your schedule.
  • If you are interested in new construction or ‘for sale by owners’, contact your agent to set up appointments. Always remember builders and ‘for sale by owners’ are representing themselves, not you. It's always a good idea to have a REALTOR® protecting your side of the sale.

    Step 4: Making An Offer

    Your REALTOR® will advise you of all your options when they help you prepare the offer. Some items he or she will ask you to consider include:

    • Purchase Price
    • Contingencies
    • Home Inspection
    • Earnest Money
    • Closing Date

    Step 5: The Home Inspection

    The home inspection provides a written report on the overall condition of the home. Home inspectors typically look at the structure, construction and mechanical systems and identify items that need to be repaired or replaced and give you an estimate of the remaining life of major systems, equipment, structure and finishes.

    Step 6: The Appraisal

    Appraisals are required by mortgage lenders to determine the value of the home. Please note that FHA and VA appraisals typically have a more items to address than conventional appraisals.

    Step 7: Loan Approval

    Once the appraisal is complete and the buyer and seller have agreed on the appraisal value, the loan is approved. We will then schedule a final walk-through (typically one day before closing).

    Step 8: Closing Day!

    It's finally time to get the keys to your new home and move in!

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