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Understanding the Home Buying and Selling Processes

Thinking About Buying or Selling a Home?

Whether you're a buyer or seller, getting into the real estate market may seem like a lot to take on. It can be a lengthy process with important steps, key deadlines, big decisions to make, and if you're not professionally represented, a lot of stress. 

Before you even get started, it's a good idea to understand the basic phases that you'll experience when buying or selling. Here, we give you a brief overview of what to expect, as well as what a PorchLight agent can offer to give you an advantage during your transaction. No matter what side of the table you're on, our experts have the knowledge and tools needed to help you make smart real estate decisions.

Now, let's take a look at those steps.

Understanding the Home Buying Process

Figure Out Your Finances – Connect with a reputable lender and complete the process to be pre-approved. This is one step beyond being pre-qualified which only requires basic info about your income and expenses. The pre-approval process is more comprehensive, giving you a more accurate budget to use when house hunting.

PRO-TIP: Make sure the pre-approved amount fits into your full monthly budget as it does not take into account all of your expenses. Adjust as needed.

Choose a Real Estate Agent – The right agent will guide you based on your criteria, budget and preferred location. At PorchLight, our agents know the local neighborhoods inside and out. They'll show you homes in your favorite areas, as well as some that offer a similar feel but with homes that might fit better within your budget. 

Find Your Perfect Home – We use RealScout which pulls listings directly from the MLS every 30 minutes. You'll receive email or text notifications as soon as homes that meet your criteria and feature preferences (hardwood floors or a yard) become available. Then, browse listings and attend open houses or schedule showings.

Make an Offer – Work with your agent to prepare an offer. They’ll write, submit and negotiate on your behalf. Currently, the market is highly competitive due to low home inventory, so be sure to discuss smart strategies with your PorchLight agent who will help you gain the advantage and submit the strongest possible offer.

Come Under Contract – Once your offer is accepted, both sides of the deal will sign a contract, basically stating that you agree to all the terms that will go into purchasing the home. You'll provide your earnest money (sort of like a good faith deposit), and the home will be held in escrow until closing. 

Do Your Due Diligence – It's time to set up an inspection to ensure the home doesn't have any major issues, along with an appraisal of its value. You'll also want to choose home insurance, secure the title and handle other paperwork. Your agent can guide you through it, even provide a checklist to keep you on track.

FYI: If a home inspection finds an issue, your agent can renegotiate the sales price and contract. You can even decide to walk away from the home by a certain date.

Close and Get the Keys – Once you’ve secured your home loan and are cleared to close, funds are transferred, paperwork is signed, and the keys are yours. Keep in mind that your lender may check your credit up until the day of closing. Quitting a job, making a major purchase, or otherwise disrupting your finances can still lead to a loan denial at the 11th hour.

Understanding the Home Selling Process

Choose a Real Estate Agent – The right agent will provide pricing and marketing strategies to sell quickly and for top dollar. Your PorchLight agent will start with a Comparative Market Analysis which will help determine an accurate asking price based on the size, condition, features of your home compared to comps.

Prep Your Home for Market – No matter what services are needed, we have you covered. Cleaning, staging, photos, updated home measurements and more, we have close connections and an in-house team of professionals who will ensure your home makes the best impression on potential buyers. 

Show Your Home – Open houses and private showings are scheduled to get tons of potential buyers in your door. We drive traffic to your open house through a variety of high-quality marketing materials, including social media posts and directional signage. All buyers will be welcomed by a friendly PorchLight agent.

FYI: PorchLight’s unique, collaborative open house program enables all of our agents to sign up as a host at your home. This maximizes the number of open houses that can be held—as well as buyer traffic. 

Accept an Offer – Your agent will help you select the best and strongest offer, ensuring you get the best deal. They will break down all the terms for you, explaining all the contract details in plain speak so you know what you're signing and can feel confident moving forward with the deal. Feel free to ask questions!

Come Under Contract – Once you accept an offer, both sides of the deal will sign a contract, basically stating that you agree to all the terms that will go into purchasing the home. The buyer will provide their earnest money (sort of like a good faith deposit), and the home will be held in escrow until closing.

Wait for Due Diligence – A buyer will set up an inspection and appraisal, as well as secure their home financing. If there’s an issue along the way, your agent will renegotiate on your behalf. In the unlikely event that the buyer falls out of contract, your agent will recommend backup offers for your to review.

Close and Get Paid – Once the buyer is cleared to close, funds are transferred, paperwork is signed, and you get paid. If you're concerned about owing taxes on the profits, be sure to check out our previous blog post that discusses capital gains tax, how to avoid them and how to decrease your liability if you absolutely must pay.

Bottom Line

If you want to achieve your real estate goals, we're here to help. As a locally owned and independent brokerage, we're able to tailor our services to meet your exact needs. Our agents are versed in the art of closing deals to get sellers top dollar and buyers the win without over-extending their budget. Get in touch and let us know how we can help you!


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