1. Do Your Homework
Scour the internet, newspapers, and local real estate listings for available homes. Pay attention to how long homes stay on the market, and if there are any price drops. Before you buy, you should know the local trends.
2. Set A Budget
You should set a budget that is between three to five times your yearly income. Do you have a 20 percent down payment, or will you need to use an FHA loan to get 3.5 percent down? Make sure that you set a budget and stick with it.
3. Get Qualified
While you may think you can spend a certain amount on a home, the lender might have another number in mind. To find out exactly what your credit and income will allow, you need to get prequalified and preapproved for a mortgage. Go ahead and give them all the financial details so you can have that preapproved status. Some sellers only want to deal with people who already know they are approved, as it’s less risky.
4. Enlist the Help of An Agent
Real estate agents are a significant part of the buying process. They can give you valuable information on houses and localities. Many times, they have information that isn’t accessible to the public. Their familiarity with the buying process, bargaining skills, and experience with the neighborhood you want to live in is beneficial.
5. Start the Tour of Homes
It’s time to start touring homes. Make sure to stay within your price range. It’s also important to take pictures or make notes, especially if you’re going to tour many homes. Don’t rush the process. Since you’re going to make a 30-year commitment, you should take as much time as you need to find the right home.
6. Make an Offer
Once you find the place you want to call home, it’s time to make an offer. The offer phase is where the real estate agent is especially valuable. After a price is agreed upon, the home will be placed into escrow. It will remain here until the rest of the home buying process is complete.
7. The Home Inspection Contingency
Most contracts are written with the contingency of a home inspection. An inspector looks for any damages or things that you need to know about the home. You may need to renegotiate based on this report, or if everything is good, then you are on to the next step in the buying process.
8. Secure the Loan
Though you should already be working with a lender, it’s time to tell them that you’ve selected a home. They will give you the details about the loan packages they offer that fits your income and credit rating. It’s time to get the paperwork ready to sign.
9. Getting an Appraisal
An appraisal is conducted by a third party to estimate the value of the home. The appraisal verifies that you are not overpaying for the home or the area.
10. Closing the Deal
A closing date will be set after the lender has all the paperwork they need. Depending on the terms of the contract, you can get your keys at closing or up to 30 days afterward. Once you sign on the dotted line, you are the proud owner of a home.
It sounds overwhelming, but buying a home can be simplified if you have a real estate expert by your side. If you need help on this journey, call me. I can help you find the home of your dreams and remove some of the stress from the home buying process.