First things first, read through our list of the steps to buying a home in Montana. Purchasing Land? Jump to the bottom!
This is a snapshot of the process, and we will talk more about each step as you have questions. Don’t be afraid to ask, this is one of the biggest purchases of your life and we take it seriously. We want you to have all the information possible.
Buying a home Step 1: Get approved for a mortgage.
This will be one of the first questions we ask when we first speak, and that is because our goal is to have you successfully close on the property you want to buy. If you haven’t spoken to a loan officer yet, we have great recommendations for you. A loan officer will look at your debt to income ratio, your downpayment and will give you a good budget and loan programs to fit your needs. Once you have that number, we can discuss what that means for monthly payments, the pros and cons of needs vs wants and start looking. We want a preapproval letter in hand from your lender when it’s time to put in an offer. That letter shows the seller you are a ready, willing and able buyer. This step to buying a home is so important!
Buying a home Step 2: Finding A Realtor
You will be working closely with your REALTOR, trusting them, communicating with them- A LOT!- Be sure that your needs are met and you feel confident in their expertise. Be sure you feel comfortable asking them questions and that they have the time and patience to answer them.
Buying a home Step 3: Find the home for you!
We recommend think about your “must haves” vs your wants in a home. And be prepared for those to change during the course of your home search! Be open to seeing types of homes you might not have considered otherwise, you may surprise yourself. We will shop within your budget. Looking at homes that you can not is not a good idea.
Buying a home Step 4: Time for Showings
In this market, we suggest being flexible and ready to see homes as they come onto the market. We will discuss ideal times to view homes with your schedules and try to plan accordingly. But, just as we will be flexible and ready to get you into a home when a prospect comes up, you may need to do the same. Let’s talk about your expectations before we begin
Buying a home Step 5: Make an Offer
You found the one and are ready to move forward! We will discuss price, other comparable properties, any issues we foresee coming up on inspection, or what has been disclosed, activity on the property from other buyers and write an offer. We will need your PreApproval letter for this step!
Items to have on your radar:
Closing Costs- Depending on the situation, market activity and other variables, you may want to ask the seller to pay for your closing costs. Here is a good article, but let’s discuss it together for your specific situation.
Home Warranty: You can ask the seller to provide one or you can purchase one yourself. We have clients who absolutely rave about home warranties and others who feel they don’t pay for themselves. Be sure to read the fine print!
Buying a home Step 6: We’re under contract, now what?
The offer we wrote contains dates for inspections, insurance and financing. Dates MATTER! I’ll keep my eye on them and please be responsive when we need to make decisions or sign documents.
Buying a home Step 7: What should you know about the Inspection?
The inspection period is your time for all of your due diligence at your property. The main step is to schedule a licensed home inspector, I will recommend three I trust, but you may also want other inspections. The links below will give you additional information about these inspections, but let’s discuss any questions you may have and how these tests apply to our region.
Well Inspection– A well is a great amenity! It’s important to be sure it is all working properly.
Buying a home Step 8: The Appraisal
If you are purchasing with a loan, your bank will most likely require an appraisal. That is a cost you pay for, usually out of pocket.
Buying a home Step 9: Schedule the Closing!
That’s my job. I’ll communicate with you, the lender and the title company and make the appointment. You will need your photo ID, a CASHIER’S CHECK for the cash to close ( your lender will provide this in a settlement statement you must review 3 business days before closing) and a warmed up hand. You’ll be signing a lot of documents if you are getting a mortgage. We will meet at the title company
Buying a home Step 10: Hook up Utilities
Schedule this for closing day. In Missoula County, this is a good resource:
In the Bitterroot Valley
- Northwestern Energy
- Northwestern Energy
- City of Hamilton
- City of Stevensville 406.777.7033
- Bitterroot Disposal 406.363.3630
Buying a home Step 11: Get your Down Payment Ready
Your lender will give you the exact amount that you need to bring to the closing table. If you are a cash buyer, the title company will provide a settlement statement. You will need a cashier’s check made out to the title company. While this step is at the end, you absolutely need to make sure you have this money in the bank before making your offer!
Buying a home Step 12: Attend the Walk Through
Essential! This is the last time you walk through the home as a prospective buyer. Make sure the seller has removed their items, followed through on contract language, there are no strange leaks or other unknowns. We want this to happen as close to closing as possible, preferably on the day of closing.
Step 13: Attend Closing
You will need your photo ID, a CASHIER’S CHECK for the cash to close ( your lender will provide this in a settlement statement you must review 3 business days before closing) and a warmed up hand. You’ll be signing a lot of documents if you are getting a mortgage. We will meet at the title company
Receive the Keys!
Dang, this does not happen at the title company! The title company gathers all documents signed by buyer and seller, receives funds from the lender, and then takes the documents to the Court House to be recorded. Once that is done, ownership transfers according to Title and you get the keys! Congratulations!
What about Land?
Montana Land Company sells a lot of land each year. Buying or selling land is a different process than a home purchase. Be sure you are working with an agent who has experience with land sales. Let us help guide you through this process!