Steps to Buying a Home
1. Get Ready to Buy
The decision to purchase your first home is one of the biggest and best decisions you could ever make. There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. The key is finding a good buy and taking the time to carefully evaluate your finances. Figure out what you can afford. It will save you time, energy, and money if you have a realistic picture of what you need and how much you can afford before you start shopping for a home. Your credit score is a key factor in determining the rate of interest that you will pay for your mortgage loan. Generally, a higher credit score will qualify you for a lower interest rate.
Choose the type of home that fits your lifestyle, in a location that has the amenities and community services that you want.
Know your rights. You have the right to equal housing opportunities; disclosure of settlement costs; and protection from predatory lending practices
2. Find Your Agent
Working with a real estate agent makes the home search process easier. A real estate agent will educate you about the current conditions of market, analyze what you want and what you need in your next home, guide you to homes that fit your criteria, coordinate the work of other needed professionals throughout the process, and solve any problems that may arise. An agent can prescreen houses, easily access properties, negotiate with other parties on your behalf, prepare the necessary paperwork, facilitate earnest money transactions, ensure purchase contingencies are fulfilled before closing (repairs, carpet cleaning, etc.), work with the title agent, attend the closing and provide you with any post-sale assistance that you require.
When you are looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, good agents put their clients first.
A Buyer Broker or Purchaser's Agent, who is committed to using the experience gained through hundreds of successful negotiations for your benefit - at no charge to you! Your agent can be paid from the same commission that the seller's agent is paid from - by the seller.
An experienced agent can help you avoid the other costly mistakes outlined here, and make your home buying experience an enjoyable, stress-free one!
3. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage Loan
Knowing how much you can comfortably afford before looking at real estate for sale will ensure you are looking in the right price range and prevent you from buying a home that will strain you financially and emotionally.
The "pre-approval" process allows lenders to take a look at your finances and credit history in order to make a general assumption about your loan amount.
4. Start Your Home Search
So you are preapproved and ready to begin your search. Know your housing priorities, including the type of structure, size, location, and community services that are important to you. Determine your housing needs and wants to decide what types of houses you should be considering.
A great agent will help you more accurately pinpoint homes that fit your criteria. The right home will meet all your important needs, and as many of your additional wants as possible.
5. Narrow Down Your Choices
You should start cutting down your list to a target group of two or three homes. Selecting a home should be relatively easy once a home falls somewhere in your criteria and the property is desirable for purchase. Then make a second visit to do a "detailed" viewing. This way, you will always be aware of your best alternative if your top pick doesn’t work out.
6. Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a home you love, the next step is making a compelling offer. Your agent will research similar properties in the neighborhood to help you determine the market value, and fair price, for your home. Look to your agent to explain and guide you through the offer process.
The three basic components of your purchase offer are price, terms and contingencies.
7. Negotiate with Seller
When you make an offer, the interested seller usually will negotiate back and forth with you until you reach a joint agreement. Every point in the contract is negotiable, but it is usually best to know common practices and accepted standards in the negotiation of the contract before you start the process.
8. Get a Home Inspection ( We Always Recommend That)
Use a licensed home inspector to carefully inspect the property before agreeing to buy it.
His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road. This way you’ll know what you are getting into before you sign closing papers. Protect yourself and do not skip this step! All of the work that you have done up to this point may be wasted if you do not thoroughly investigate the home.
9. Set a Closing Date
The final step in the home buying process is called the "closing" or "settlement." The closing usually takes place using the services of a settlement agent who oversees the transfer of the property from the seller to the buyer. Closings usually take about 30 days to complete. This mainly depends on the buyer’s financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, termite inspections, surveys and appraisals).
The closing process is the transfer of the title of the property from the buyer to the seller. The buyer will receive the keys to the home or the deed to the land, while the seller receives payment for the property.
10. Move to Your New Home and Start Enjoying it!