Buying Your Home in Huntsville - Keller Williams' 8 Steps to Buying Your New Home


Step 1: Decide to Buy a Home in Huntsville or North Alabama

When should you decide to buy a home? Since interest rates most likely will never be this low again, this is a good time to buy a home in Huntsville. However, the key is finding the right home and making sure it’s a financial fit, as well. And, you won’t be alone in making this decision. A Keller Williams Realty Huntsville agent is ready to help answer all your questions and guide you through this process.

  • There is never a wrong time to buy the right home - not if you've taken the time to find a good buy and taken the time to carefully evaluate your finances.
  • A home purchase can be a vital step in the path to long-term wealth with specific financial advantages, including equity buildup, value appreciation potential and tax benefits.
  • Work with a REALTOR to keep your stress to a minimum. Your Keller Williams agent is ready to help you through every step of the process.

Step 2: Hire an Agent that Knows the Huntsville and North Alabama Real Estate Market

And make sure that agent is someone you trust and connect with. A real estate professional places their clients first. This is your dream, and your agent is your advocate to help you make your dream come true.

A great real estate agent will:

  1. Educate you about the current conditions of the north Alabama real estate market.
  2. Analyze what you want and what you need in your next home.
  3. Guide you to homes that fit your budget and needs.
  4. Coordinate the work of other needed professionals throughout the process.
  5. Negotiate with the home seller.
  6. Manage and check paperwork and deadlines.
  7. Resolve any issues that arise.

Step 3: Secure Affordable Financing for Your Home Purchase

Your lender will pre-approve you for a certain amount, but it is up to you to decide what you're comfortable paying every month. Your lender only sees a snapshot of your current finances. Think about future plans - your growing needs and expenses can drastically change your financial situation. Think ahead to make sure your dream home doesn't become a burden.

Be sure to follow these six steps to financing your home:

  1. Choose a loan officer.
  2. Make a loan application and get preapproved.
  3. Determine what you want to pay and select a loan option.
  4. Submit to the lender an accepted purchase offer contract.
  5. Get an appraisal and title commitment.
  6. Obtain funding at closing.

Step 4: Find Your Home - Huntsville and North Alabama Have a Wide Range of Choices

Let’s go house hunting. Don’t go alone. Your agent plays a valuable role here. There are a lot of questions to be asked ... and answered ... and a lot of homes to consider. Your agent will be your guide to help find the answers to your questions and hopefully your perfect home. Some questions you might ask include:

  • What part of Huntsville do I need to be close to?
  • How much space do I need and why?
  • Which Huntsville neighborhood fits my lifestyle?
  • Would I be interested in a fixer-upper?
  • How important is home value appreciation?
  • Is neighborhood stability a priority?
  • What features and amenities do I want? Which do I really need?

You'll learn as you look at homes, your priorities will probably adjust along the way.

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Step 5: Make an Offer on the Home

This is perhaps the “big step.” You’ve found the perfect Huntsville area home and it’s time to make an offer. However, there’s more to it than just the price. You’ve got to consider terms and, in case you find a problem with the home, contingencies. Again, your agent is your advocate. The agent will be your guide through the process.

  • The three basic components of your purchase offer are price, terms and contingencies.
  • Price is the dollar amount you are approved for, willing and able to pay.
  • Terms cover the other financial and timing factors that will be included in the offer.
  • Contingencies are clauses that let you out of the deal if the house has a problem that didn't exist or which you weren't aware of when you went under contract. They specify any event that will need to take place in order for you to fulfill the contract.

Step 6: Perform Due Diligence

Just because you love a particular property doesn't mean that it's perfect. You'll need to have a property inspection that may expose hidden issues. This way you'll know what you are getting into before you sign closing papers. The seller may seem trustworthy and honest but you still need an inspection. This is your investment. Your money. Your hard work. This isn’t being distrustful of the seller; it’s being a smart investor. There could be structural damage, which the seller may not know about.

  • Your main concern is the possibility of structural damage. This can come from water damage, shifting ground, or poor construction when the house was built.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. It's the inspector's job to mark everything discovered no matter how large or small. The inspectors report may be long, but, things that are easily fixed can be overlooked for the time being.
  • If you have a big problem show up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist and if the worst-case scenario turns out to be true, you might want to walk away from the purchase.
  • Even if your home passes inspection, you'll still need to buy a home owner's insurance policy that protects you against loss or damage to the property itself and against liability in case someone sustains an injury while on your property.

Step 7: Close the Purchase of Your Home

This is it! Time to close. But there are some final tasks to handle and manage. Make sure you have all the required paperwork – insurance, settlement statement, financial documents. Continue to stay in touch with your agent and, of course, your lender. To make sure everything goes smoothly:

  • Control your credit and finances. If you are tempted to make any large purchases during this time, it's best to talk to your lender first.
  • Keep in touch with your agent and lender, returning all phone calls and completing paperwork promptly.
  • Communicate with your agent at least once or twice a week, and verify with your lender that all mortgage funding steps are completed.
  • Conduct a final walk-through of the home with your agent.
  • Confirm with your agent, home insurance professional, and lender that you have the settlement statement, certified funds, evidence of insurance and proper identification prior to closing.

Step 8: Protect Your Investment

You are now a new homeowner. With this come important responsibilities. If you have a plumbing problem, it’s up to you to find a plumber. You can’t call the landlord – you are the landlord. Don’t be shy; ask for help if you need it. Just because the sale is complete, your relationship with your agent doesn't need to end! After closing, your agent can still help you - your Keller Williams Realty Huntsville agent knows the Huntsville area and reliable contractors and is ready and willing to help you.

So, you’re considering buying a home in Huntsville. It’s a big step. In fact, it’s the largest investment you’ll most likely make. It’s not something you want to just jump into blindly. Buying a home requires research into where to live: Huntsville? Madison? Madison County? You probably want to check out the school systems. Are there playgrounds, ball fields, parks close by? How much of a down payment is needed? What is the interest rate? 30-year vs. 15-year. Fixed vs. adjustable. Keller Williams Realty Huntsville agents have experience helping people make this huge investment – financially and emotionally.