After a crazy week of moving and unpacking, Jon and I are finally starting to feel like we are actually getting somewhat settled in our new home. Closing on our house at 32 weeks pregnant and moving at 33 weeks was less than ideal timing, but I am so glad we are now in our home. We love it here; we can’t wait to bring our baby girl from the hospital to her home.
These past 6 weeks have been a whirlwind, and looking back, I can’t believe we made it through. This Friday, I thought it would be fun to share a few things that I learned during closing. I’m far from an expert, but I picked up a few things along the way.
1. Get prequalified
It might seem like getting prequalified for a mortgage takes a while, but it really doesn’t. I think it took us about 15 minutes. Contact one (or several) banks in your area and try to get something in writing prior to going to an open house. Most sellers won’t even consider an offer unless it comes with a pre-qualification letter. Getting prequalified is not a guarantee from the bank that you are locked-in at that interest rate; things can still change. However, it’s a good place to start, and most pre-qualification letters are good for 90 days.
2. Know where to find all of your “stuff.”
During the closing process, be ready to produce lots and lots of documents to the bank…more than during tax time. If it looks like you’ll be closing on a home, it’s a good idea to start gathering your past W2s, pay stubs, and statements early on. That way, if it turns out you have a fast close (ours took 38 days), you won’t be scrambling as much. Be ready to prove where every single cent to your name came from, and maybe, where it came from before that! Just kidding…kind of.
3. Ask questions
To be totally cliché, there really is no such things as a dumb question. If it’s your first time applying for a mortgage, ask your broker or lawyer any question you need answered to avoid getting in over your head. Likewise, after closing, ask specifics about the house! We are fortunate that the sellers of our home have be extremely patient and welcoming to all of our questions. Find out who regularly did maintenance on the home, what paint brand/color is on each wall, about maintenance routines, for restaurant recommendations…anything you need to keep loving your new home!
4. Request a walk-though with the sellers
A final walk-through the night before closing is pretty standard. However, if possible, request that the sellers be present. It’s a great way for them to show you where everything is, answer any last-minute questions, and share tips/tricks with you. Be sure to take notes! I have a stack of manuals and papers from our walk-through that I can’t wait to get organized!
5. Don’t freak out
It’s pretty much a guarantee that something will come up that you didn’t anticipate during closing. Granted, it’s tough not to panic when you are likely already attached to the house; you picture yourself growing old there, only have have something come up on inspection, or with the bank…it’s not over.
Don’t freak out! If something comes up, talk to people. Google it. Ask for help from people that are on your side. In the end, if the entire process is a fight, it might not be the right house for you. Don’t give up too easy, but don’t let closing wreck you.
As I sit here in our study, typing and admiring the silence, I know we have been so blessed. I’m so thankful. As we prepare to welcome our baby girl in about 6 weeks, amidst the chaos of half unpacked boxes and belongings that still need a place, I feel at peace. We are finally home.
This Friday, I linked up with: