It’s been said time and time again: Buying a home is one of the biggest commitments most people will ever make in their lifetime, and this can make for an especially daunting process, particularly if it’s your first time buying. In order to help you navigate the process, we’ve put together a 10 Step Guide of what to consider before buying, what to expect during the process, and how to seal the deal.
Before contacting a lender and applying for a loan, you will first want to check your credit score. If you aren’t sure how to do this, visit Annualcreditreport.com, where you can get a free report annually. The higher your score, the lower the interest rate on your future mortgage. Typically, a score of 720 or above will secure you a good mortgage rate. Once you learn your score, you can research what interest rates you will likely qualify for.
While you could get pre-approved for a sizeable loan, you will have to decide how much you are ultimately able to pay every month. Consider your annual income, debt, and how much you can afford for a down payment.
This will be one of the most important steps in helping you to make your dream a reality. When looking for a real estate professional, you want to make sure they can act and serve as your #1 advocate. The best agent for you will be knowledgeable in current conditions of the market, understand your needs and wants to guide you to the perfect home, be able to negotiate with the seller on your behalf, and be able to stay on top of all paperwork, deadlines, and requirements. After closing, your agent will still be able to help you with tax returns, find contractors and repair services, and track your home’s current market value.
This will give you an idea of the price range that you can afford. Getting pre-qualified will require that you provide a lender with some basic information on your income, assets, and debt. Realvolution Home Investments can arrange to have this done for you at no cost.
Now that you are pre-approved and excited to begin your search, you will want to ensure that the home you choose will meet all of your needs (and as many wants as possible). Some great questions to ask include:
Armed with this information, check listings online and with your agent so you can begin touring.
So you finally found a home you know will suit you and your needs. Now is the time to work with your agent to come up with an offer. Consider the market and whether or not you will have any contingencies. Remember – this step can sometimes be a dance. The seller may say yes, no, or have a counteroffer. Be prepared to have patience.
It sounds simple enough, but this is a critical step in the home buying process. Having a property inspection will ensure there are no surprises at closing time, and it is highly recommended that you are there when the home inspector begins looking over the home. Don’t sweat the smaller issues, but if there is any major structural damage, you may want to either bring in a specialist, or even walk away from the purchase.
Once your home passes inspection, you will still need to buy homeowner’s insurance to protect you against any future loss or damage to the property.
You are now in the home stretch! But don’t relax just yet. There are still several things you will want to be mindful of:
Congratulations! You are now officially a homeowner. You successfully completed the home buying process, and are now ready to move in and celebrate!