The home buying process has so many steps, what do I do?
The home buying process can be a long and sometimes stressful process. It is important to take the time you need to find a home that truly suits you and your family’s needs.
Step 1: Start researching where you want to live and what you want in a home. We’ve laid out a list of things to consider when first starting to look for a new home in our Housing Checklist. Neighborhood, proximity to work, schools and shopping, along with the general area are all things to consider when first beginning the home buying process.
Step 2: Determine how much house you can actually afford. For this step in the process, take into considering your current rent or mortgage, all your bills (car payments, cell phones, cable, internet, electricity, gas, water, etc.) and determine how much more or less you can reasonably afford while still maintaining a cushion for emergencies or future issues.
Step 3: Get pre-qualified for your mortgage. Speak with different lenders, research current mortgage rates, and get a pre-approval letter. Remember, just because the pre-approval letter has a specific number on it, that doesn’t mean you have to spend that much on a home. The pre-approval letter has the maximum amount, which will not necessarily be the most viable amount for you or your family. Being pre-qualified for a home is also good for sellers, if they have 2 offers that are pretty much identical but only one potential buyer is pre-qualified, the one with a lender lined up could be who the sellers go with, simply to make the sale move quicker.
Step 4: Find a real estate agent you like and who understands what you’re looking for and what your budget is.
Step 5: Start touring houses! Open houses are a great way to see a home, sometimes while other buyers are also looking at it. This can be beneficial because you may hear other buyers discussing issues they see that you simply missed. You can also tour a home with your realtor or by calling the home’s listing agent. When touring a house, it is important to note everything you like and dislike about the home, along with any possible problems or issues you may see. We’ve created our Homebuying Checklist specifically to help you keep track of all the different houses you tour during your search. Printing one Homebuying Checklist per property you are interested in will help keep you organized and make it easier for you to compare them all down the road. The step of looking at different homes can seem overwhelming, which is why we’ve set up a page specifically to address Touring Houses.
Step 6: Choose a house you love and make an offer!
Step 7: Get a home inspection done. A home inspection is generally required by the lender and you will end up with a list of items that may need to be fixed within the home. A good home inspection can also uncover issues you may not have noticed yourself, such as mold behind walls or in the attic, roofing that needs replacing, or things that aren’t up to code. A home inspection can lead to negotiations prior to closing if things were not previously known about the home or not disclosed. This could drop the overall price of the home in the end.
Step 8: Finalize all the paperwork and purchase the house through the closing process. During the closing process, one form you will see that you need to understand is the Loan Estimate form. We have lots of information on this form and what each section means.
Congratulations, new homeowner!