Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make. Stay informed about a variety of mortgage-related topics with these articles and podcasts.


Make the home-buying process easy!

Chesterfield Federal Credit Union can help you every step of the way.

1) Determine how much you can afford

Chesterfield Federal Credit Union offers a variety of calculators to help you determine exactly what costs you can expect with a home mortgage so you can determine what you can afford.  When you know how much you can afford, it helps with your home search.

2) Get pre-qualified

Before you go shopping for your home, you need to know how much money you have available to spend. Chesterfield Federal Credit Union can help you determine how much home you can afford, then "put it in writing” in a mortgage approval letter. Even if you contact a real estate agent first, the agent will urge you to have a mortgage approval letter so they know which price range of homes to show you.

Want better buying power? Go a step further and get complete approval for financing before making an offer on a house. Having a full approval in advance can help you get the best deal possible, even if you plan to make a small down payment. Provide a written confirmation of this approval when the offer is made and you will be perceived as solid as a cash buyer.

Chesterfield Federal Credit Union offers excellent rates on mortgage loans. You can apply for your loan online, or contact a Financial Services Representative at 804-748-1417.

3) Choose a real estate agent

A real estate agent is a person who acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate. They have tools to help find the perfect house for you, have experience with the sales process and can help guide you through making your offer and signing your contract.  

  • Listens to you to find the perfect match between what you can afford and the home that best fits your needs.
  • Accesses, by computer, all properties for sale in your desired area. "For Sale” and newspaper ads are not always a true reflection of everything in the market. Your real estate agent, however, knows what’s available at any given time.
  • Helps you negotiate. Once you’ve found the home you want to buy, your real estate agent will work with you to develop an official offer to be presented to the seller. This gives you the best opportunity to have your contract accepted.
  • Gets the price right. Your real estate agent is a specialist who knows the market inside and out so you will get the best price possible.
  • Allows you to make your own decisions. A professional agent respects your opinion and won’t try to force you into a decision you’re not comfortable with.
  • Protects your rights. Real estate laws have become increasingly complicated and your agent will be there to assist you in every way.
  • Does not charge you. Your real estate agent’s services are absolutely free to you when purchasing a home – the seller pays their commission.

4) Make your offer

Once you find the house you want to purchase, your real estate agent will prepare an offer. Offers typically have at least three components: the purchase price, the closing date, and how long the offer is good for. To determine an appropriate offering price, you agent will probably look at "comps” – similar houses that have sold in the neighborhood. Other considerations are how long the house has been on the market and whether there are other buyers making competing offers.

In a slow housing market, it is common to offer less than the asking price. Conversely, in a hot market, where it is not unusual for there to be multiple offers on one house, it is common to offer more than the asking price.

Many offers have additional components, such as seller concessions, inclusions, and contingencies. Seller concessions are costs that the seller pays for the buyer, which reduce the amount of money the seller receives. Typical concessions include closing costs and cash back for repairs or renovations. Inclusions refer to what stays in the house. If you want the appliances, blinds, chandeliers, or anything else, make sure to put it in the offer. Contingencies are conditions that must be met in order for the sale to go through. A home inspection, financing, and an appraisal are common contingencies.

Once the offer is written, your agent will present it to the seller. Along with the offer, it is customary to give the seller earnest money, also called a good faith deposit. Usually the amount is between 1-3% of the offered purchase price, but customs vary from place to place. This money is part of the down payment and shows the seller that you are serious about purchasing the house. The money should go in an escrow account, not given directly to the seller. The seller will accept, counter, or reject the offer. If the seller accepts the offer, the house is taken off the market and you are under contract. The only way to legally cancel the contract is if a contingency is not met. Otherwise, if you walk away from the house, you lose your earnest money deposit.

When sellers counter, usually it is with a higher purchase price but they can also counter on the closing date, concessions, inclusions, and contingencies. You can accept their counter or respond with your own. If you do not get the first house you put an offer on, try not to get discouraged. There are likely many houses out there that meet your needs.

5) Close on your new house!

Closing is the day that the mortgage is finalized and the title of the house is transferred to you. In many states, closing is handled by the title company. If not, it may be handled by a closing company or attorney. You will need to bring photo identification and a cashier’s check for the amount you are paying for closing costs and the down payment.

There will be a lot of paperwork to sign but do not feel rushed. You have a right to review the documents at least 24 hours before closing. Make sure that you understand them. You may want to hire a real estate lawyer to accompany you to closing and explain what everything means. The documents you will be signing include the:

  • Mortgage note: The mortgage note is your promise to pay the lender according to the specified terms.
  • Mortgage or deed of trust: This gives the lender the right to the title of the home if you do not pay the mortgage.
  • HUD-1 Settlement Statement and Truth in Lending Statement: The HUD-1 Settlement Statement shows your closing costs, and the Truth in Lending Statement shows the amount you are financing, APR, and other loan terms. 

If you see any unexpected fees or the mortgage terms are vastly different from what you discussed, don’t just sign the documents – ask the lender to explain them. After you get through the mountain of the paperwork, you will receive the keys to your new home. You are now a homeowner!

6) Home insurance

Once you close your house, don't forget about saving money on your home insurance with Chesterfield Federal Credit Union.  Our TruStage Home Insurance program offers great rates on home insurance through trusted agencies such as Liberty Mutual.  

We are here to help you every step of the way!

Educational Articles & Podcasts

Through our partnership with BALANCE, we are able to provide you with these educational articles on mortgages and the home buying process. BALANCE has certified financial counselors available to help you with budgeting for your next home purchase.

The Basics of Mortgages

Buying a Home Sold through Short Sale or Foreclosure

Buy or Rent?

Choosing a Realtor That is Right For You

Examining the Home Inspection Process

The Eviction Process

Is It Time To Refinance Your Home Mortgage?

Making your Home Green to Save Green

Preparing Your Finances for Homeownership

Reverse Mortgages

Taking Advantage of a Slow Housing Market

Podcasts & Learning Modules

The Road to Home Ownership
An understanding of the home buying process puts the American dream of homeownership within your reach.

Podcast

Online Interactive Learning

<Listen><Download><Start>

Helpful Links

Use the links below to learn more about home values, the home purchasing process or to research your next home purchase.

Zillow

Trulia

Chesterfield County Real Estate Values

LenderSelect Mortgage


 
Home Banking

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