How to find exactly what you want, and how to work with the experts whoâ€™ll help you get it.
So youâ€™re thinking about buying your first home. Your very own house (and mortgage). A place to call â€” and make â€” your own.
Itâ€™s a big move, literally and figuratively. Buying a house requires a serious amount of money and time. The journey isnâ€™t always easy. It isnâ€™t always intuitive. But when you get the keys to your new home â€” that, friend, can be one of the most rewarding feelings pretty much ever.
The key to getting there? Knowing the home-buying journey. Knowing what tools are at your disposal. And most importantly? Creating relationships with experts who can help you get the job done.
Thatâ€™s where this guide comes in. Weâ€™ll show you not only the major steps youâ€™ll take during the home-buying process, but also explain the relationships and experts youâ€™ll need along the way. Weâ€™ve even made a handy infographic that outlines the home-buying process from start to finish.
You ready to live the dream? Here we go.
Oh sure, everybody wants to jump right into open houses. But before you even set foot into a foyer, you should identify your list of â€śmustsâ€ť and â€śwants.â€ť This list is an inventory of priorities for your search. And thereâ€™s so much to decide: Price, housing type, neighborhood, and school district â€” just to name a few.
To get yourself grounded, we recommend filling out this brief worksheet.
If youâ€™re planning to buy a home with a partner (in life or in real estate), fill the worksheet out with them. You want to be on the same page while buying a house. If youâ€™re not, youâ€™ll be less able to give agents or lenders the information they need to help you. And you risk wasting time viewing homes you canâ€™t afford â€” or donâ€™t even want in the first place.
Once you know what youâ€™re looking for, the next step is to start looking at listings and housing information online. (This part? Youâ€™re going to crush it.)
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Your relationship with your real estate agent is the foundation of the home-buying process. (And your agent = your rock.) He or she is the first expert youâ€™ll meet on your journey, and the one youâ€™ll rely on most. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to interview agents and find the agent whoâ€™s right for your specific needs.
Once youâ€™ve found your agent (AKA, your new best friend), ask him or her to recommend at least three mortgage lenders that meet your financial needs. This is another big step, as youâ€™ll be working with your lender closely throughout the home-buying process.
Once youâ€™ve decided on a lender (or mortgage broker), youâ€™ll work with your loan agent to determine which mortgage is right for you. Youâ€™ll consider the percentage of your income you want to spend on your new house, and youâ€™ll provide the lender with paperwork showing proof of income, employment status, and other important financials. If all goes well (fingers crossed) youâ€™ll be pre-approved for a loan at a certain amount. (Sweet.)
Now that you have both an agent who knows your housing preferences and a budget â€” and a lender to finance a house within that budget â€” itâ€™s time to get serious about viewing homes. Your agent will provide listings you may like based on your parameters (price range, ZIP codes, features), and will also help you determine the quality of listings you find online.
Then comes the fun part: showings, which give you the unique opportunity to evaluate properties. Your agent will help you navigate showings, whether virtual or in-person.
Once you find the home you want to buy, youâ€™ll work with your agent to craft an offer that not only specifies the price youâ€™re willing to pay but also the proposed settlement date and contingencies â€” other conditions that must be agreed upon by both parties, such as giving you the ability to do a home inspection and request repairs.
Making an offer can feel like an emotional precipice, almost like asking someone out on a date. Do they like me? Am I good enough? Will they say yes? Itâ€™s stressful! Some home sellers simply accept the best offer they receive, but many sellers make a counteroffer. If that happens, itâ€™s up to you to decide whether you want your agent to negotiate with the seller or walk away. This is an area where your agent can provide real value by using their expert negotiating skills to haggle on your behalf and nab you the best deal.
If your offer is accepted, then youâ€™ll sign a contract. Most sales contracts include a home inspection contingency, which means youâ€™ll hire a licensed or certified home inspector to inspect the home for needed repairs, and then ask the seller to have those repairs made. This mitigates your risk of buying a house that has major issues lurking beneath the surface, like mold or cracks in the foundation. (No one wants that.) Hereâ€™s what to expect.
When you offer to buy a home, your lender will need to have the home appraised to make sure the property value is enough to cover the mortgage. If the home appraises close to the agreed-upon purchase price, you're one step closer to settlement â€” but a low appraisal can add a wrinkle. Not one you canâ€™t deal with. Hereâ€™s how to prepare.
The last stage of the home-buying process is settlement, or closing. This is when you sign the final ownership and insurance paperwork and make this whole thing official. Thereâ€™s some prep work you have to take care of first.
When itâ€™s all said and done â€” break out the rosĂ©. Youâ€™ll have the keys to your new home!
Source: From Spotlight: See All Steps to Buying a Home Houselogic