Email about the home buying process
I'm really glad that you guys are excited and want to move forward! What I wanted to talk about is that typically, a buyer doesn't go to the expense of a home inspection until they've agreed on a price with the seller and the seller is contractually obligated to sell the house. Make the seller commit to you before you spend that money!
What I don't want to happen is see you guys go to the expense before you have a contract on the house and then have the seller accept an offer from someone else.
Making an offer to the seller is really the second step in that process, and I'm happy to get with you guys and work with you to figure out what you want to offer and also what you want to ask the seller to do (like getting a survey). Once the selling price and obligations are agreed upon by the buyer and seller, then it makes sense to schedule the inspection. When the inspection report comes back, at that point there's usually some further negotiation that goes on, with the buyer asking the seller to address some of the issues that come up in the inspection report.
The first step to get the ball rolling is to get the mortgage process underway. All sellers want to know that the buyer they're negotiating with is in a financial position that will allow them to buy the house. The seller is going to want a prequalification letter from the lender, and many sellers now want to see an actual loan approval (contingent upon appraisal) within a week or ten days of agreeing to a contract with a buyer.
I've managed to lay that out backwards, sort of, but here's the order I'd recommend:
1. Get your mortgage loan lined up. Should be pretty easy to sort out with your downpayment and knowledge of how lending works.
2. Make the offer - This is where we get together and figure out what you want to offer, when to close, and what you'd like to ask of the seller (think property lines).
3. Once you and the seller have agreed on a price and terms, that's the point where you would schedule a home inspection, and then perhaps negotiate with the seller to address some of the things the inspector finds. Normally the buyer has ten days from the date the contract is signed to get the inspection done and make any requests of the seller that come out of the inspection.
During this time, the seller has a bunch of things to work out as well, like the survey and termite bond.
Usually about 30ish days after signing the contract, the contract closes, the mortgage gets funded, and you get the keys to your new home.