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Home buying: the big picture

Thinking about buying a home can be a little intimidating, this being one of the largest purchases of your life. Looking at the big picture can help reduce that sense of intimidation.

The first thing you have to do is make a list of “Must Haves” and “Plus Haves.” Your “Must Haves” might include three bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a fenced yard, etc., and your “Plus Haves” might include an attached garage, a finished basement or other things that you might be able to live without.

The most important factor in your decision will be location. This often drives your search more than your musts and plusses because location usually dictates price.

The next step you’ll take is to meet with a loan officer to get yourself pre-qualified. Please understand that pre-qualification is NOT an approval of your loan. You’ll review all your options — like conventional, FHA, VA, 203K, and ARMs, just to name a few — and pick the best one for you.

Once you get pre-approved from a lender, it’s now time to find your new home. That typically involves making appointments to view properties in search of your “Must Haves” and “Plus Haves.” For some, that involves visiting one or two properties, and for others that could involve visiting 10 or 15. Never get discouraged, though, and never give up. Your dream home is out there somewhere!

Once you find your dream home, you’ll make an offer based on the asking price, the price of comparable properties, and other factors.

And once you’ve settled on a price and a contract, it’s time to get an attorney and an inspector involved. Attorneys review the legal aspect of the contract and the inspector will identify any hidden problems that might affect the final cost. The cost for an inspection could be between $300 and $400, but I believe it’s well worth it since it could save you thousands of dollars due to hidden defects.

So we’ve gotten a pre-approval, found your perfect house, gone through the attorney review, and completed the inspections. Now it’s time for the loan approval and the closing.

Congratulations! You’ve made it to closing day! On the morning of the closing, you want to take your final walkthrough so that you can make sure that the home is in the same condition as when you first saw it. The actual closing usually takes place at a title company. This is where you become a landowner.

Closing times vary but usually are completed in less than two hours. At that point, keys are given to you and the property becomes your NEW HOME!

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as sergeant-at-arms for the village of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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