|Now that the sales contract is signed by
both parties, you need to quickly hire a professional inspection
company to thoroughly examine all the structural systems of
the house and give you a written report detailing any problems
found. This will cost around $300 depending on the size of
the home, and you will have to pay up front for most cases.
Ask your realtor if (s)he has a home inspector (s)he trusts.
The inspection takes at least a couple of hours, and you should
attend so the inspector can show and explain problems to you.
It will be way easier for you to understand the inspection
report than to be explained over the phone.
The mortgage lender will arrange the house to be appraised,
which may affect whether the loan is granted. Home appraisal
typically cost around $400, and is completely different
from home inspection. Appraisal is done because the lender
wants to make sure that they are not loaning you more than
the house is worth. Ask your mortgage professional if you
have to pay the appraiser up front or you can pay at the
closing as a part of your settlement cost.
Also, most lenders require the buyer to get a survey done
at the house you’re purchasing, which will cost around
$350 – 400. Typically, in Georgia, the closing attorney
will order the survey according to the lender-approved surveyor,
and it is likely that you get to pay for this at the closing.
The surveyor prepares an official diagram indicating property
lines, sidewalks, public utilities on the property, etc. You'll
get a copy of the survey with the all the papers you receive
at the closing.
You will also pay a pest control company to do a termite
inspection. This cost about $100. Besides the fact that
having a termite inspection done is a good idea, it is a
requirement at most banks (they don't want to lend money
on a home that's rotting away). If termites are found, don't
freak out about it! They're easy to get rid of, though the
treatment is a bit pricey ($700+). Ask your realtor if (s)he
can negotiate with the seller to pay for this treatment.
You may want to have other tests on the house done such as
radon gas test, septic tank test, stucco inspection and swimming
pool inspection if these apply to the house.
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|As you get inspections & appraisal done
on the house, you have to work on getting your mortgage loan
secured. Submit all of your paperwork if you haven't done
so already, and get the final approval by the mortgage lender.
It is imperative that you move quickly. If you don't get
the final approval within the due diligence period stated
on the sales contract, and you find out that you cannot
get the loan secured after all, then you will lose your
Besides submitting all the necessary documents to the lender
(see the "Basic Documents
Needed for a Mortgage Loan" section in the previous
chapter), they need the appraisal report, proof of Homeowners'
Insurance, etc. to finally approve your loan. We will talk
about the Homeowners' Insurance in the next step.
|Select an insurance agent to handle your
homeowner's insurance, and give the agent's contact information
to the title company (or closing attorney). It is often a
good idea to consult the insurance company you already have
other policy with (such as auto insurance) if they offer homeowner’s
insurance. You may get a discounted premium.
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|You'll need to bring a bank check or cashier's
check (not your personal check) for the down payment. If your
closing costs are not included into your loan amount, you'll
also need to bring a cashier's check for the closing costs,
too. If you don't know the exact figure of the money you need
at the closing table, have your bank make the check a little
over the estimated figure. The attorney will write you a refund
check if your check amount is too much.
For the mortgage money itself, your lender will most likely
wire the money directly to the title company. That way you
won't have to make that trip to the title company with a
big, scary check in your pocket.
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|You just learned the basic ideas
and things to consider before staring your home search. If
you still feel that purchasing a house is the right thing
for you instead of renting after reading this chapter, you
are ready to buy a house of your own. Now, let us start going
through the typical steps you're likely to face in the process
of buying a home.