Thinking of buying a home in or relocating to the Pittsburgh area? There’s a lot that goes into buying; it’s a pretty complex process! But with the right information, and a little preparation, it can all go smoothly—searching, signing, packing, and all!
Got questions? We’ve got answers.
Q. Where do I start the home buying process?
A. Your finances are always a good place to start the process. Usually, we recommend that interested buyers start by researching lenders in the area (or asking for recommendations), then making some calls to learn more about what loan options are available, what they might expect to pay, and what’s required to get prequalified.
Lenders should be able to discuss various areas of concern, such as credit scores and history, current debts, savings and assets, other home loans, credit card balances, and other factors affecting your income (like child support, tax payments, dividends, etc).
Q. Should I get prequalified?
A. Yes! There’s no cost associated with getting prequalified, nor is there (typically) any obligation to any one lender. It’s a pretty simple and easy process, too. You’ll provide a potential lender some basic personal information, like income, savings and assets, and a few other things, and your lender will tell you how much they’d be willing to lend you.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that PREqualification does not mean QUALIFICATION. It is a light check, not a full check. Once you make an offer, the lender will complete a full authorization, including an in-depth credit check, employment verification, financial history, and more. There could be things on your credit report that are inaccurate or that you have forgotten about that could inhibit the loan process or affect the loan amount. Nothing is final until closing day!
Q. When I find a home I like, how do I go about purchasing it?
A. Buying a home is a multi-step process, and it all starts with making an offer. When you see a home you love, you’ll work with your agent to determine a fair offering price and submit a Purchase and Sale Agreement. An earnest money check for a small portion of the total offer is typically included with your offer to show the seller you’re serious.
At this point, the seller has three options. They can reject your offer, they can accept your offer, or they can make a counteroffer. Negotiations after the initial written offer are usually conducted verbally until an agreement is reached. When both parties accept terms, you have a binding contract for sale on that property and due diligence begins.
Q. What’s due diligence?
A. After a contract is signed between buyer and seller, you as the buyer have a set amount of time to do some checking up on the house to make sure you’re getting a fair deal—called due diligence. This typically includes a home inspection and appraisal, among other various checks (like a title check) completed by your lender or attorney.
The home inspection will usually uncover a few issues ranging from very minor to very serious. At this point, you have the option of requesting that the seller make repairs or reduce the price of the home. Should they refuse, it’s your right to walk away.
The appraisal is typically conducted at the request of the lender. Its purpose is to ensure that the value of the home is at least equal to the value of the mortgage they’re providing. Should the home’s value come out lower, the lender won’t approve the loan and the sale will fall through—unless the seller reduces the price.
Q. Is it best to make a low offer first?
A. Making a really low offer typically isn’t recommended, as it comes with some unwanted risks. First and foremost, it may insult the seller and they may flat-out refuse to work with you. It’s also possible that another prospective buyer will submit a more appealing offer before you have the opportunity to issue a better offer.
Q. If I find a Pittsburgh area home not listed by your realty company, can you still show it to me?
A. I am able to show you ANY home, new or resale, no matter who the listing broker is. If you see a home advertised in the newspaper, or if you drive by a home that interests you, please call me! If you visit an open house or a new Pittsburgh community, be sure you do NOT sign on with that agent, as they represent the SELLER and not you. Remember, Pittsburgh home information is always available to me, even if it is not a Jim Dolanch listing.
Q. Do you have any suggestions to prevent problems when I relocate to the area?
A. Absolutely! It’s all about preparation, so take some time to do your research and give yourself plenty of time to learn about the area, set up utilities and other providers, and get yourself settled into your new community before launching into everyday life.
Before jumping back into work and school, you might want to take a few days to drive or walk around your neighborhood to learn your way around and figure out where things are. Meeting neighbors and finding ways to get involved in your community can also help you settle in more quickly.
Q. How do I tell my kids we’re moving to Pittsburgh?
A. Make it an adventure and put the most positive spin on it as possible! This has worked for us—even when going to the dentist. Make sure you encourage questions and answer them as truthfully and in as positive a way as possible.
Q. My child is starting to rebel because of our upcoming move. What can I do?
A. Many children act out when they feel like they have no control or they’re uncertain where the future is headed. One of the most important things you can do is to make your child feel like they’re part of the process.
Encourage them to pack their things. Let them decorate their room at the new house. Help them to keep in touch with their old friends. Doing these things and making the move a positive experience will help your child feel better about moving to a new community.
Q. My child is very shy. How can I help him/her make friends in their new community?
A. Everyone loves a party, right? So have a welcome party and invite all the neighborhood kids that they’ll most likely see in school, too. This way, your child will have a head start on getting to know neighbors and making new friends. Getting your child involved in a community sport or activity is another great way to introduce them to new friends close to the same age who share the same interests.
Q. Would it be in my best interest to work with several agents or just one?
A. It is in your best interests to work exclusively with me! I have access to every home that is on the Pennsylvania Multiple Listing Service (MLS). I am self-employed, not on an expense account, and will only be paid when I find the right home for you. Your loyalty is appreciated, and in return, you’ll receive the maximum service from my team and me! All of my time and professional advice, experience, and assistance is FREE to YOU!
I Still Have Questions!
That's easy! Contact us today and we can answer any of your home buying questions about homes for sale and real estate in Pittsburgh or its many communities.
Want more information? Learn more about buying a home in Pittsburgh!
Pittsburgh Home Buying Resources