Home Buying 101: A Comprehensive Guide from Erin Wasik Realty

If you’re thinking about starting the exciting journey of purchasing a home in the picturesque Upper Peninsula, you’ve landed on the perfect blog. The enthusiastic group at Team Erin Wasik, based in Marquette, Michigan, is your cordial companion, ready to navigate you through the complexities of the home-buying process.

Now, I know what you might be thinking – buying a home can seem as daunting as a Lake Superior winter! But fear not; with a little bit of know-how and a helping hand, you’ll find there’s nothing more rewarding than getting the keys to your very own place. 

Let’s dive in!


Step 1: Pre-Approval – Your Golden Ticket

The initial and perhaps one of the most crucial steps in the home-buying process is securing a mortgage pre-approval from a lender. This undertaking involves presenting your financial information, including income, assets, and credit history, to a lender who will then assess your capability to afford a mortgage.

By doing this, you accomplish multiple objectives:

  • Demonstrate Credibility
  • Establish Financial Limits
  • Quickens the Buying Process
  • Lock in Interest Rates
  • Better Planning

A mortgage pre-approval should not be mistaken for a loan guarantee; however, it does represent a conditional commitment from the lender to loan you a specific amount. This conditional guarantee can give you the confidence and the parameters you need to shop for a home within an affordable price range.


Step 2: Making Your List, Checking It Twice

Prioritizing your housing needs and wants is a pivotal step in the home-buying process. Reflecting on your lifestyle and needs can shape your requirements and act as a compass in finding the right property that fits your budget and desires.

To identify your housing priorities, consider several areas of importance:

  • Home Size
  • Architectural Style
  • Outdoor Space
  • Location
  • Interior Features
  • Age and Condition of the Home
  • Neighborhood
  • Future Needs 

Once you have a well-thought-out list of housing priorities, it becomes easier to sift through the multitude of available homes and identify those that might be a good fit. This prioritizing exercise can make the home search more efficient, making it easier to spot potential homes, ask the right questions, and ultimately make the best purchase decision.


Step 3: The Thrill of the Hunt

close up of the hands of two people working at their desk

Armed with your mortgage pre-approval and a defined list of housing necessities, the quest can commence. This stage will involve viewing listings online and in person, evaluating neighborhoods, and getting a feel for what’s available within your budget and specified criteria.

Understanding real estate jargon often presents a challenge to many home seekers. Such terms could involve elements of contracts, negotiation processes, and legal documents, all part of the home-buying process. As your home-buying guide, part of my role is to clarify these terms so they become accessible and less daunting.


Step 4: Offer & Negotiation

When you’ve found a home that meets your needs and has the potential to be a suitable place for many years, the next step is to make a purchase offer. This part can be both exciting and stressful, as it gets to the heart of the transaction: What price do you offer? Under what terms? What is negotiable and what isn’t?

Here’s how I can assist:

  • Understanding Comparable Sales: Reviewing similar properties that have recently sold in the same neighborhood is crucial in determining a fair offer price. This analysis can provide valuable data and context to ensure you’re making a competitive yet reasonable offer.
  • Crafting the Offer: An attractive offer includes more than just the price. Elements can also include the earnest money deposit amount, closing date flexibility, and potentially, thoughtful incentives that could hold appeal for the seller.
  • Contingencies: Ensure the offer includes critical contingencies, such as financing and home inspection. The former protects you if your loan doesn’t go through; the latter allows you a way out of the agreement or negotiation power if the home inspection uncovers significant issues.
  • Negotiations: If the seller counters the offer or multiple offers are on the table, skillful negotiation is essential. Whether it’s knowing when to compromise or when to stand firm, effective negotiation can help secure the home at the best possible price and terms.
  • Emphasizing Pre-Approval: Showcasing your mortgage pre-approval at the offer stage can emphasize your financial credibility and readiness to proceed. This can provide an edge if there are multiple offers on the table.
  • Offer Submission: I help ensure the offer is presented professionally and timely so that it receives due consideration from the sellers.


Step 5: Inspections & Appraisals – Crossing the Ts and Dotting the Is 

Home inspections and appraisals are invaluable steps in the home buying process. They assess the condition and the market value of the property respectively, protecting your interests and giving you an added layer of assurance that your investment is a sound one.


Home Inspection

A home inspection is a detailed evaluation of the physical condition of the house you plan to buy. You hire a qualified inspector to carry out this task, who then provides you with a comprehensive report identifying potential areas of concern.

Key subjects the inspection would cover are:

  • Structural Elements: Examination of the attic, foundation, and visible framing for issues.
  • Electrical & Plumbing Systems: Checking the condition of the wiring, main panel, circuit breakers, water heater, pipes, drains and water pressure.
  • HVAC System: Evaluation of the efficiency and life of the heating, venting and air conditioning system and the insulation, and ventilation in the home.
  • Roof: Assessment of the roof condition, checking for leaks and the life expectancy of the shingles.
  • Exterior: Review of the gutters, windows, doors, siding, walkways and driveways.
  • Interior: Checking the condition of walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and windows.


Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is a fair and unbiased estimate of the value of a home, conducted by a certified professional. The lender usually arranges this as a requirement for mortgage approval to ensure that they are not lending more than the property is worth.

An appraisal is based on multiple factors:

  • Detailed inspection of the property
  • Comparison of the home with similar recent sales in the neighborhood
  • Assessment of the market trends in the area
  • Consideration of the home’s condition, square footage, number of rooms, lot size, upgrades, and overall quality


Step 6: The Final Lap – Closing Time!

The closing process consolidates all the preceding steps. Though it can be intricate, I’ll aim to simplify and support you through it. After completing all necessary documentation, the transfer of keys marks the culmination of your home-buying journey.


And There You Have It:

Buying a home with a little help from yours truly means you’ve got a seasoned friend in the biz. I’m here to make sure your home-buying experience is less about the stress and more about the celebration.


Make Your Home-Owning Dreams Come True with Team Erin Wasik

Remember, in the world of Michigan real estate, you’re not just investing in four walls and a roof; you’re creating a backdrop for life’s most precious moments.

For more tips or if you’ve got questions, my door is always open. Just reach out – I’m here, ready to help you make all your home-owning dreams come true!