Homebuying 101: What Happens After the Seller Accepts Your Offer?
Whether you’ve been searching for months or fell in love in just a week, the homebuying process doesn’t end when you’ve found a house you love.
In fact, you’re really just getting started!
Even after the seller accepts your offer, there are several steps before you officially get to move in. These steps can get a bit drawn out and confusing — especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer.
If you’re wondering what happens after the seller accepts your offer, here are the seven next steps to remember before you get the keys to your new home in Northeast Ohio!
Step 1: Accept the Contract
When you agree on a price with the seller, you will enter a formal contract that outlines all the next steps for your home purchase. When a buyer, seller and their agents sign the agreement, they are officially under contract.
This contract outlines all the next steps the buyer must complete in order to close the deal. This can include securing a mortgage, purchasing home insurance and ordering a home inspection.
Remember, being “under contract” doesn’t always mean the sale will go through.
This is just a first step that outlines what you are obligated to do before the title is in your name.
Step 2: Pre-Approval and Proof of Funds
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to get a pre-approval letter from your lender to show that you are securing the funds to pay for your new property.
If you plan to pay for the home outright, you will still need to prove that the funds are available for the transaction to be finalized.
Step 3: The Home Inspection and Inspection Negotiation
Before any funds are officially transferred, a third party will need to inspect the home for any serious or dangerous defects.
While sellers will often fix most defects before the home is listed, there are usually some minor repairs or un-listed wear and tear that you and/or your lender will want to know about.
Your realtor can always help you find a reputable inspector for this step, and many times, the seller will agree to either completely fix or help pay for any issues that an inspection uncovers.
Pro tip: Once you receive the results of a home inspection, review the report and make some decisions right away! You don’t want to take more than 72 hours to negotiate any fixes.
Step 4: Appraisal and Loan Commitment
An appraisal is essentially a second home inspection by your lender to ensure that the price in your contract reflects the actual condition and value of the home.
If your home appraises above or below the value in your contract, you may need to re-negotiate the price of the home and adjust your lending terms. Once you have a fair price point, you’re ready to officially commit to your loan.
Step 5: Schedule the Utilities Transfer
Even before the final closing date, you’ll want to schedule a utility transfer well in advance, so you’re not left in the dark!
After you’ve committed to your mortgage, it’s pretty safe to say that you are also committed to living in the house you’ve chosen. Schedule your utilities to match your expected move-in date.
Step 6: Final Walkthrough
By now, the home has been inspected at least twice, but you still need to take a final look before you buy!
Here’s are some key steps to remember in your final walkthrough:
Bring a copy of your home inspection
Test every light
Test running water and check for leaks
Run the appliances
Check garage doors
Open and close every room door
Eye ceilings and walls for cracks or sagging
Test heat and AC
Open and close the windows
Step 7: Final Signing and Title Transfer
This is the last step in your transaction! Here, your funds are secure, the home has been inspected multiple times and every party is satisfied with the agreed-upon price.
It’s time to officially transfer ownership of the home!
Home closing can be a nightmare if there are issues with the title. Always opt-in for title insurance prior to closing on a home.