Below is a step-by-step guide to help you buy your first home with ease and at the best price.
1.) Find a registered real estate agent licensed to operate in your town or area of interest. It is advisable to look for a reputable agent that specializes in buying and selling of homes, although agents with backgrounds in construction management can be of assistance too.
2.) Find a house that meets your desired criteria such as location, size, roofing style, etc. This is where property agents come in as they already have several homes for sale in their portfolio and you can discuss with them your preferences so they may source for your dream house.
3.) Once you find a house that meets your criteria, work with your agent or lawyer to make an Offer to Purchase (sometimes referred to as Agreement of Purchase and Sale). This is a legal document that should be carefully prepared – hence the need to work with a legal officer.
Offer to Purchase includes your name, the name of the seller, the address of the property, the price you are willing to pay, amount of your deposit, the closing day (the date you take possession of the house – usually up to 90 days), request for a current land survey of the property and the date the offer expires.
The document may also request a satisfactory home report, appraisal and lender approval of mortgage financing. In this case, the document will become legally abiding only when the conditions are met.
What happens after you make an offer?
i) The seller accepts your offer and you proceed on to the next step.
ii) The seller makes a counter-offer asking for a higher price or different terms. You may send the offer back to the seller offering a higher price than your initial offer but lower than the seller’s counter-offer. If the seller accepts this counter-offer the deal is done and you can move on to the next step.
iii) If both parties can’t agree on the price and/or terms the sale does not sail through and you leave it at that.
4. ) Once the seller accepts your offer and terms you can now proceed to carry out a house inspection tour. House inspection is very important because it helps you evaluate the condition of the property and any repairs needed.
6. ) If you’re planning to purchase the house through mortgage, get pre-qualified with a mortgage lender or bank to help determine the size of loan and type of payment that best suits you. Your lender may ask you to get property appraisal, a land survey or both as well as title insurance.
7.) Once your mortgage application is approved the final stage is to close the title. Closing is done by a property lawyer at his/her office or bank after a thorough review of the contract and conducting a title search for the property. The lawyer also reviews all documents required by the mortgage lender.
NB: You have the right to inspect your new home 24 hours before the closing. This inspection is your last opportunity to inspect the house before signing the deed.
It is important to note that prices of houses are usually dependent on the location of the property, with Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu and Thika holding some of the most expensive homes in the country.