Are you contemplating buying your home in Palm Beach County?

For many people, buying a home is a stressful event. But with a bit of planning ahead of time, it isn't that difficult. I like to provide buyers with a road map of the entire deal so they know exactly what they can expect. Here are my nine steps to purchasing a home.

Shopping for homes? Click here to see my homes, or contact me today to get you more information on any home in the area.

Step 1 – Get ready to purchase
There are a lot of things you'll want to do before you start looking for a home. You'll probably want to create an index of items you need, get a feeling for what school districts and neighborhoods you'd like to live in, and start planning your budget. A good principle to go by is that your mortgage payment should be around 1/3 of your net monthly income.

Step 2 – Get with a real estate agent
This is where I come in. I'll plan a time to meet so we can talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your upcoming plans. We'll discuss everything from neighborhoods, schools in the Palm Beach County area, the mortgage and housing industries, to any other economic factors that might affect your purchase today or in the future.

I'll also help you start the loan process. There are some excellent mortgage professionals in Palm Beach County, and I work with a lot of them, so you're in great hands. They can assist you in choosing which kind of loan is best for you and help you get approved.

Step 3 – Begin your home search
After our initial meeting, I'll begin looking for available houses on the market that meet your needs. I'll preview many of the houses and eliminate the bad ones, and then we'll book appointments to tour the homes at a time that's convenient for you.

As we tour the homes, I'll identify good features, as well as negative ones. I'll even ask you to talk about things you like and dislike. Frequently, buyers update their wish list as we view homes and some items become more essential than others. If such is the case, I'll go back through all the listings again and narrow it down to the house you've been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Know the housing market
My awareness of the Palm Beach County home market is a crucial benefit in your search. I'm informed of all the schools and neighborhoods, and I'll alert you to certain districts are "hot" and call for prompt action and the rest that are "cold" and allow for cautiousness.

As we view houses, I'll be sure to tell you when the seller's list price has room for negotiation and also when I trust the home is "priced to sell." Trust your instincts and make sure you ask your agent plenty of questions, as every real estate agent will tell you they truly know the home market. If things don't add up, just call me at (561) 313-4432 or e-mail me at heather@heathersellspalmbeach.com, and I'd be happy to answer your questions. My knowledge of the market will help you stay a step above the rest throughout the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the home of your dreams
I know I'll find the home of your dreams in Palm Beach County. When that happens, I'll precisely develop your purchase offer. The offer will be tailored exactly to your needs, including some contingencies. A few examples are obtaining financing, completing the inspection, and a clean title.

Let Heather Smith guide you through finding your dream home in Palm Beach When sending in your offer, you'll likely want to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit given to the home seller to secure an offer to purchase the property and is often put towards the cost of closing. If your offer is accepted by the seller, we should close on the home within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Most contracts aren't closed on the beginning offer – it's widely common to receive a counter offer. Don't let this discourage you. We'll talk about whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or reject the seller's offer and move on.

How aggressively we negotiate the contract depends on the state of the market. I'll also work within your financing constraints. And when it's all said and done, I'll create a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Get a loan
After the deal is complete, you'll start working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. If you're already pre-qualified, this shouldn't be a long process at all. However, you should to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll deal with all the property information your mortgage lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) detailing closing costs from your lender within three days of taking your loan application. The estimate is based on the loan amount, and RESPA requirements mandate that it has to involve all closing costs and fall within a close range of accuracy. I'll review the estimate and let you know if everything looks adequate.

Then we'll close on your house. This will likely take place at a title company or escrow office and will most likely be a smooth and comfortable event.

Step 9 – Move in
You made it! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, be sure to contact me at (561) 313-4432 or send me an e-mail.