Joe & Cara Keenan’s Complete Homebuying Guide for Northwest Hills

Joe & Cara Keenan’s Complete Homebuying Guide for Northwest Hills

  • Joe & Cara Keenan
  • 03/27/23

Buying a house is something most people will do at least once, more likely multiple times, during their lives. The process can be intimidating for first-time buyers, but even experienced buyers can find the process difficult, as buying a house is always a unique experience, with no purchase quite like another. Still, several things are constant, no matter the situation. We are happy to provide this complete homebuying guide for anyone looking at Northwest Hills homes for sale, arming buyers with the knowledge they need to make the buying process smoother, easier, and faster.

The finances

As money is a large part of buying a house and property is an expensive purchase, figuring out one’s finances beforehand is always a good idea. First, we advise homebuyers to have a budget and a maximum number they do not exceed. Even if no price is too high, a budget is useful to keep the buyer on track.

Another thing buyers should know is their debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is the number of monthly debt payments, from loans to credit cards, divided by the monthly income, pre-taxes. Lenders use the DTI to determine the risk of the buyer. The lower the percentage, the better a buyer will look to lenders.

All of this information can help someone get pre-approved for a loan, which we advise. Getting pre-approved shows sellers the buyer is serious and dependable. After looking at the income, debt, and housing expenses, the lender will be able to help the buyer determine how much house they can afford as well as how big of a loan they receive. Fortunately, the pre-approval process is a simple one.

The list

When looking for a house, knowing exactly what is needed and what is preferred can streamline the process. Buyers should always have a list of “must-haves” and a list of “nice-to-haves” to help them determine which houses most closely fit their lifestyle. Likewise, they should also have a list of dealbreakers to focus on, as there is no point in touring houses that do not fit their needs. Think about bedrooms, location, square footage, yard space, and community. Pick what type of residence works best, like a townhouse, a condominium, or a traditional house. It is good to have some flexibility with these lists, especially the want list, but having a list of necessities keeps the buyer on track.

The search

The search for a house goes better when the buyer goes to many places and remains patient and flexible. Patience is necessary because it may take some time to find a great house, and flexibility is essential because no house is perfect. Be prepared to compromise on some things, but don’t compromise on the must-have list. While the realtor will be able to find many homes to look at, buyers can also find houses by driving through neighborhoods they are interested in or looking online. Colleagues, family, and friends may know of a home for sale as well.

The offer

Once the dream house has been found, it is time to make an offer. Deciding how much money to offer and what conditions and features are included is a strategic process we take seriously. Some things that make the offer more attractive are a fast closing date and waiving contingencies, although the fewer contingencies, the higher the risk to the buyer. Real estate agents will be able to both help form the offer and present the offer to the seller. Once an agreement has been reached, escrow—a short period when the house is off the market while the buyer is expected to buy—is entered. If everything goes well, closing is on the horizon.

The home inspection

Speaking of going well, the home inspection is one contingency we never advise waving. Until the inspection happens, buyers are never sure what may be wrong with the house. Some homes can seem flawless at first glance, only to reveal expensive issues in the inspection. Home inspectors are licensed professionals who look for overall condition, quality, and safety. As long as the home inspection clause is included in the contract, if some problem is revealed in the inspection, either the seller must pay to fix it, the selling price must be lowered, or the buyer can walk away from the contract.

The closing

If the inspection is finished and a deal is reached, it is time to close. The process is not difficult but does have a lot of moving parts. In general, it involves a lot of paperwork. Mortgage companies require the house to be appraised, a title search is necessary to name the seller as the only one who owns and can sell the property, private mortgage insurance is obtained in some way, and the last of the paperwork is completed. A real estate agent will be helpful in this process. Once the closing is completed, the homebuyer becomes a homeowner.

The real estate agent

We consider having a real estate agent an essential part of buying a house. A buyer’s agent will help their client find homes, walk them through the houses, negotiate through the purchasing process, write the offer, deal with the inspection, get a loan, and complete paperwork. With a realtor’s experience and knowledge of market trends and home values on hand, many potential problems can be avoided and a great deal can be made. 

Joe & Cara Keenan

As a husband and wife realtor team, we have immense knowledge for anyone seeking Northwest Hills real estate. With a commitment to compassion, integrity, inventiveness, and energy, we are passionately dedicated to helping customers achieve their ambitions. Experienced, knowledgeable, and local, we have earned several awards, consistently perform in the market’s top one percent, and believe in making a positive impact on all of our clients.

Contact us today about your dream house in Northwest Hills.

Work With Us

Cara & Joe are dedicated to helping you find your dream home and assisting with any selling needs you may have. Contact us today to start your home searching journey!

Follow Me on Instagram