If you are in the market to buy, we put together a helpful overview to help you navigate the process and know what to expect.
Prepare Yourself for Home Ownership
The first step to take is to be sure you are prepared to purchase a home. For a first-time buyer this means evaluating what you can afford, ensuring you have a down payment and closing costs saved up, and that your credit history is strong. It is also good to go talk to a mortgage professional at this time and get a pre-approval to know what you qualify for.
If this isn’t your first home, there are still some things to consider. You will still want to check your credit, and if you are planning on moving to a more expensive home, you will need to budget for the increased expenses. Also, you will need to determine if your purchase of your new home will be contingent on the sale of your existing home.
Find a Real Estate Professional
It’s important to have an experienced real estate professional to help you navigate through what’s ahead. Ask friends and family for referrals to help you find one. Often, for the buyer, you will not need to pay for a real estate agent, as this cost typically comes from the seller. Having a professional can save you time and money, as they are experienced in narrowing down your home search and helping you through all aspects from your offer, to negotiations, to paperwork.
Have a meeting to explain you budget and your needs in your new home. Try to prioritize what are your must haves, to what you might prefer to have. Depending on your budget, you may not get everything you want, and many first time buyers go into the process with high expectations.
Find the Right Property
Start touring homes in your price range. It’s helpful to take notes and pictures of the properties to help you remember more details when you are comparing them later. Be sure to check out certain details in each home like:
- Test the plumbing for water pressure, leaks, and see how long it takes for the water to get hot
- Turn switches on and off to test the electrical system
- Open and close doors and windows to make sure they work and lock properly
Remember, there will be a home inspection, and these are always repairs you can request be made prior to closing.
You also want to evaluate the neighborhood for things like:
- How well are the other homes maintained?
- How much traffic is on that street?
- Is it convenient to places of interest for you: schools, restaurants, or parks?
Make an Offer
you have decided on a home, the next step will be to make an offer. Depending on the market, there may be others making an offer on the same property. Your offer will include what you are willing to pay with the home, along with any contingencies you may have; the home passing inspection, the seller paying closing costs, or you current home selling first. Sometimes the seller may come back with a counter offer, and you will need to decide if you agree to their new terms. Offers can go back and forth several times between buyer and seller before an agreement is met. Your realtor can help you through this process.
And keep in mind; you may not always get the first home you go for. You will need to be prepared to move on and continue looking at other homes.
Once you have selected your home, you can finalize financing with your bank. Part of this process will be to order an appraisal to let both parties know you are paying a fair price for the home.
Closing on Your Home
At closing, you will sign all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. It typically takes a couple of days for your loan to be funded after the paperwork is returned to the lender. Once the check is delivered to the seller, you will get the key to your new home.
Once thigs are finalized, you will want to ensure your homeowners insurance is in place, and you will need to switch utilities to your name. Find a safe place to store all of your closing documents.
Visit our mortgage page for more information
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