Gloucester County, NJ First Time Home Buyer Series: Home Buyer Timeline (Part 4)
Basic timeline for buying a home in Gloucester County, NJ
Step one: Get Pre-Approved. This will help you determine what you can afford, what you qualify for, and what terms need to be negotiated when making offers on homes.
Step two: Start looking at homes. Search online, have your agent send you MLS listings, and take time to drive through neighborhoods you may be interested in.
Step three: Make an offer on a home(s). This should be done through the agent that represents you as a buyer. Making an offer on a home via the agent listing the home will most often put you in a compromising situation, which is not in your best interest.
Step four: Negotiate terms to purchase a home. IMPORTANT: If you are asking for the seller to pay any of your fees/closing costs, this is the time to arrange this, NOT after you come to a price/terms.
5 weeks prior: Sign contracts and updated mortgage application. Once the buyer recieves a copy of the fully executed contract (signed by all parties), attorney review begins. This is the time when buyer has an oppurtunity for an attorney to review the contracts. Attorney review is 3 business days.
4 weeks prior: Order appraisal, inspection(s), survey, and titlework. You will need to pay for the appraisal upfront ($300-$400). Your lender will order the appraisal. The buyer arranges for the home inspection and termite inspection. A home inspection also requires payment upfront, made directly to the inspection company of choice.
3 weeks prior: Mortgage loan approved as supporting documents requested are completed such as the appraisal, title, and job verification.
2 weeks prior: Clear up any outstanding issues, documents, verifications. Some loans require "outside" approvals such as USDA loans or NJ state first time home buyer loans. Your loan should be sent out to these offices at this point as to not delay settlement.
1 week prior: Call utility companies to transfer utilities (gas and electric are most important).
Several days before: Obtain certified funds needed for settlement costs. Estimate a little on the "high" side. For example, if you believe you need $5,000 for settlement, get certified funds for $5500. Overall you shouldn't have any surprises, but be prepared to possibly reimburse the seller for some items such as oil in an oil tank, water and/or sewer bills they have prepaid.
Day of settlement: Bring your certified funds, photo ID, and any other important items to closing, such as other verifications, reports, or items requested by your lender or real estate agent.