A recent study by the National Association of Realtors found that homebuyers identified the most difficult step in the home buying process was ‘finding the right property’. While not all consumers use the Internet in their home search, a growing number are first finding their future home online.
Forty three percent of today’s buyers are finding the home they purchased on the web, that number was just 8 percent in 2001.
The report found that finding the right property was ranked as the most difficult step in the home buying process. Since the Internet is now the first place many people go for information, it’s not surprising that 4 in 10 buyers looked for properties online as a first step in the home buying process (up from 36 percent in 2010). However, 88 percent of buyers in 2014 purchased their home with assistance from a real estate agent, up from 83 percent in 2010.
The president of the National Association of Realtors, Chris Polychron, said, “Consumers have the ability to do more home buying research online and be more connected during the home search process but the report proves they are still seeing the value a Realtor brings to the transaction, from the initial search to well after the closing.”
The “closing” is the last step in the process of buying and financing a home. It’s when you and all the other parties in a mortgage loan transaction sign the necessary documents. The closing of your loan is the time when your loan becomes final and the funds are distributed and when you become owner of your new home.
Your closing will include your title insurance company, your lender, your attorney if you hire legal representation for your closing, your real estate agent and the agent for the seller.
In Maine it is customary for all the parties to sit around a table and sign all the documents at once. Sometimes the closing may take several days if the signatures of each party are collected separately. Some companies allow you to electronically sign documents, either in advance of closing or at the closing table. A closing may even be conducted by mail or even on the internet.
Regardless of who performs the closing or where it occurs, you will be committing yourselves to abide by the documents you sign that will have lasting financial implications on your life. Although it’s unlikely you will have the time to read all the loan documents, don’t sign if you suddenly realize you can’t make the payments or until you fully understand the loan terms.
Enjoy your new home!
New federal rules under the Dodd-Frank Act will integrate existing bank initiated home loan closing disclosures with new rules intended to improve consumers understanding of the mortgage process and aid in comparison shopping and help prevent surprises at the closing table. This new initiative is known as “Know Before You Owe.”
Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said, “ It is time consumers have more power in the mortgage process, and our new forms and online tools will help make that a reality.”
The Bureau’s new online tools (www.consumerfinance.gov/owning-a-home) provide the public a set of tools to help consumers have a better understanding of the mortgage process. It offers a guide to the new mortgage closing forms, a closing fact sheet, a disclosure timeline, and educational videos to assist home buyers.
Realtors nationwide have worked to educate themselves on rule changes related to “Know Before You Owe” so they can continue providing expert advice to clients.