Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions and transformative experiences in your life. The process can be overwhelming, but once you break it down and understand each step, it’s much more manageable.
1. Choose a Real Estate Agent
It’s important to find a real estate agent that’s right for you. Meet with different agents in your area and ask friends or family for referrals. Once you’ve talked with several agents and learned about their experience, choose the one that best fits your needs and you can trust.
2. Find a Mortgage Lender
Ask your real estate agent to recommend a trustworthy, knowledgable lender who will lend you the money to buy your home. Whether you work with a mortgage broker or title company, this organization or individual person will handle the financial side of the home-buying process.
3. Check Your Credit Score
Before applying for a mortgage, you’ll want to ensure your credit score is solid enough to be approved for a loan. Meet with your lender to discuss any issues with your credit score, and how you can improve your score before applying for a loan.
4. Apply for Mortgage Pre-Approval
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a leg up when you make an offer on a home. Your lender will help you determine the price range of homes to consider and ultimately what you can afford. Be sure to consider homeowners insurance, association fees, and the total cost of utilities. Once you’ve considered all the factors, your lender will settle on an amount to lend you.
5. Determine Your Wants and Needs
Now that you have a budget and know what homes you can afford, it’s time to consider what you want and need in your dream home. While it’s important to consider the specifications of the house, don’t forget to think about the surrounding neighborhood. Are you close to essential amenities? What does the downtown area offer? Aligning your wants and needs to listings will help you find your ideal home!
6. Search for Homes on the Market
You’ve narrowed down your options and determined a list of what you’re looking for in a home and neighborhood. Using this information, start scouring the listings and take note of homes that fit your requirements. With the help of your agent, pursue homes that interest you by attending open houses, setting up showings, and ask questions!
7. Make an Offer on a Home
Once you’ve found the home of your dreams, work with your agent to make a competitive offer. Be sure to consider and take note of any issues with the home as well.
8. Finalize Your Mortgage Approval
Congrats, your offer has been accepted! This is when you and your lender finalize your home purchase and any additional fees you need to pay at the closing, such as property taxes or homeowners insurance.
9. Conduct Due Diligence
It’s essential to do a final walk-through of the house before the closing. This gives you a chance to ensure you haven’t overlooked any issues with the house that you might need to negotiate for the owner to take care of before closing.
10. Attend the Closing
The last step of the home-buying process is to attend the closing. You’ll meet with your agent, the attorney, and potentially the sellers to sign paperwork, receive the deed to your new home, and your house keys. Congratulations, you did it – you’re officially a homeowner!