The real estate agent you choose matters. That’s because they’re full of great home buying tips. Here’s 10 steps to close your deal on time!
by Paul Aiello
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I’ve been blessed to have an incredible first year in real estate and it hasn’t even been a full year yet. Having closed 10 transactions in 6 months, I wanted to discuss 10 things first time home buyers, or any buyers for that matter, could do to help their transaction close ON TIME. Not closing on time can create all sorts of difficulties for the buyer or the seller and upset a whole bunch of people. Below is a list of items you can do to close on time:
ORDER INSPECTION AS SOON AS YOUR OFFER IS ACCEPTED
Your home must be inspected by a professional for safety, structural, environmental and cosmetic issues. Your realtor should have several inspectors he or she uses and can recommend to you. Schedule an appointment immediately so you can determine if this house is worth the investment. This is an out of pocket expense, not a part of closing costs, that you pay at the inspection with a check or cash. It should range from $400-600.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE PRE-APPROVED BEFORE PLACING AN OFFER
You actually applying for and receiving the commitment from the bank or private lender is what drives the transaction. The lender has a set of regulations and rules they must follow and you must strictly adhere to and follow them. This is what takes the most time, especially underwriting. Make sure you find the lender you want ( Usually whoever did your pre-approval to begin with because they already have many of your required documents) and fill out whatever online application you must. Send your contract to your lender as soon as it’s signed by both parties. This gets the ball rolling!
HAVE APPRAISAL ORDERED & SCHEDULED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
The lender will email you a payment link ( It’s 2022, get that computer ready!) This is another upfront expense that you should be prepared for. It’s usually around $500. The quicker you pay for and order the appraisal, the quicker the lender can give you a mortgage commitment. The appraisal is the value assigned to your house by a professional, determined by size of home and comparables sold in the immediate area within the last 6 months to a year.
ALWAYS TURN IN REQUESTED DOCUMENTS THE SAME DAY, WITHIN HOURS IF YOU CAN
I can’t stress enough how important it is to check your email regularly and often! You will need to “Docusign” (electronically sign from phone or computer) numerous documents that require timely attention. This drives the transaction for the realtor, the lawyer, and the lender. They can work quicker for you if you return all requested documents quickly and sign all documents as soon as they are sent. (Your job can wait, this is YOUR NEW HOUSE!!!)
DISCUSS AND SIGN OFF ON CONTINGENCIES ASAP
Once you are out of attorney review, you are under contract and the inspection can begin. After the inspection report comes back, you, your realtor, and your attorney should discuss what items you will request to be remediated if any are required. In a seller’s market, to beat out all the other offers, you should request corrections for ONLY safety, structural, and environmental. Cosmetic things can be fixed after you close. The fewer corrections that must be made in the house, the quicker you can get to closing. Sometimes the type of mortgage, such as FHA, may require certain things be fixed before a closing can occur. Check with your lawyer and your lender in these situations.
IF YOU’RE DOING A TANK SWEEP, ORDER IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Reach out to an environmental company as soon as possible after your offer is accepted. Your realtor should have an environmental company they can recommend. Many times this aspect slows down the transaction. Not only may a tank have to be removed, but the soil must be tested for contamination and leakage. This can be remediated for a fee that varies based on the size of tank and/or damage that may be present. Not all tanks leak.
BE REACHABLE AND TEACHABLE
Always get back to your realtor within minutes. In order to keep a deal moving, Lenders or lawyers ask for us to get information from you quickly. This gets offers accepted before others, things through underwriting quicker, and important parts of deals completed in a quicker manner. Please respond to your realtor as soon as humanly possible and with the information they are seeking. It’s truly in your best interest to close on time.
KEEP YOUR LOAN OFFICER/BANKER ON SPEED DIAL
During this process, if you are getting a mortgage, your lender will need documents from you throughout the process. Multiple times, things will need to go through underwriting and they will request documents right before closing as well. In order to get mortgage commitments and a “Clear To Close,” you will need to constantly be scanning and emailing them documents. It is best to get them on your speed dial and become friendly with them as well. They have the ability to get things done quickly and request favors from people working on their team.
REMAIN IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR ATTORNEY
Not all states require an attorney for real estate deals, but New Jersey does. Your lawyer is the professional with the legal answers. And if not, he/she knows where to find them. He or she will do everything from clearing the title for you to making sure all the final numbers are correct.
The lawyer is extremely important. You want to work with one who calls you back in a timely manner, is knowledgeable about all things real estate, and is a cool and calm communicator. A lawyer who is easily excitable may be the very reason your deal falls through. Sometimes the other lawyer is overbearing and overly aggressive. You need your attorney to be a clear and concise communicator who can stand his or her ground for you. Many times the importance of this piece of the puzzle, goes overlooked. I could not have done so well this year without the lawyers I have used. If you don’t have one, ask your realtor to recommend one they use regularly.
MAKE YOUR REALTOR YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
Your realtor is the facilitator of the entire transaction. He/ she is on emails you will never see. He/she shows up at the inspection and the appraisal. He/She has infinite conversations with the lawyer, the ledner, and the listing agent that you will never know about. Your realtor is always working behind the scenes to complete the deal on time.
Remember, a realtor does NOT get paid until that deal closes and you are the new owner of that home. They will work tirelessly throughout to close your deal. Create a strong, friendly relationship with your realtor. They will be there emotionally for you during one of the most stressful times of your life . They will soon come to learn everything about you from your family dynamic to your finances. Treat them with kindness and enjoy that new friendship and your newest confidant. An excellent realtor takes on that new role with the utmost discretion and responsibility!
ADOPT OR RESCUE A PUPPY OR ADULT DOG AND MAKE YOUR HOUSE A HOME!
As the owner of two rescues, it adds such joy and fulfillment to your home. I would go with one, but animal lovers like myself are gluttons for punishment. I adopted two, 8 weeks old, at the same time and I live alone!! Yes, you read that correctly. Nonetheless, this is your chance to grow your family and save a life. Reach out to various rescues or shelters in your area and make a difference in a dog’s life. I can give you information if desired. Simply email or reach out on social media.