July 2018

Making an offer? Be ready to run with it.

If you're thinking about buying a home this year, you may need to be ready to make an offer immediately when you find the home you want. With inventory remaining tight and demand high in some markets, houses are generally spending less time on the market before they get snapped up. In fact, 50% of the homes sold during the month of March 2018 were on the market for less than a month.Footnote1

Here's what you need to know to give yourself the best possible chance of a smooth path to a successful closing.

Before you begin
Make sure your finances are in order. Start by knowing your credit score and figuring out how much home you can comfortably afford. It's also a good idea to have saved at least 20% of your estimated down payment.

Once you have your home buying budget, find a mortgage loan that fits your needs and get prequalified. While a prequalification letter is not a guarantee of approval, it helps to show sellers you're serious about buying.

Making an offer
After you've found a home you want, you'll need to make an offer fast. Remember that in a seller's market, you don't have as much leeway to negotiate. Be prepared to offer close to the asking price, otherwise the seller may decide to go with another buyer.

Your offer was accepted! Now what?

Financial documents you'll needFootnote2

  • W-2s for the last 2 years
  • Pay stubs covering the most recent 30 days
  • Complete bank statements for all financial accounts, including investments, for most recent 2 months
  • Signed personal and business tax returns
  • If self-employed, a copy of most recent profit/loss statement
  • A copy of the signed Purchase and Sales Agreement

It's a good idea to gather your financial documents ahead of time so you can be ready to submit them promptly. I can also help you find out what other documents, if any, you may need for your mortgage loan. And don't forget to purchase your homeowners insurance as soon as possible since lenders require you have it before approving your mortgage loan.

Want to learn more?
Get more detailed insights into each stage of the home buying process with the handy guide "This way to a home of your own," available on Better Money Habits®.

The Bank of America Real Estate Center® offers a database of active listings in your area as well as access to information on mortgage loan types, today's interest rates and a mortgage calculator.

I'm here to help every step of the way, so if you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

1Existing Home Sales: March 2018 infographic, National Association of REALTORS®

2Depending on your lender, you may be asked to provide additional documentation. Talk to your lender so you can be prepared.

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