The path to buying a home isn’t one to be treaded sans proper preparation. Know the steps, get prepared and you will find the process a lot easier than the person who didn’t. Here are seven steps to owning a home of your very own.
1. Get pre-qualified or pre-approved
Determine your monthly budget. Talk to a loan officer or find a Realtor and get a referral from him/her. Typically, whatever you are used to paying in rent will be close to what your mortgage payment should be (unless you can afford more). But determining your buying power is a crucial first step in finding the right home for you.
2. Select a qualified Realtor
Ask for referrals from friends and family, but make sure you check up on those referrals as well. Great agents produce content on the web, and lots of it, have a larger than life online presence and a big following on social media venues. Professionals network. Unprofessional folks do not.
3. Find a location, then a house
The location of where you buy is more important than the house. For instance, homes in areas with desirable school districts tend to appreciate more in value and sell faster than homes that are not. Even if you don’t have youngsters now, that doesn’t mean that the next family who buys your home will not.
4. Write an offer
Great agents will get you familiar with the contract before taking you shopping for a house, as well as give you an overview of the process in your state. Remember, buying a home in California is a little different than in Texas; for that matter, laws, contracts and forms are a little different everywhere. So, even if you have purchased before in another state, it’s good to get an overview if you relocate.
5. Contract to close
This process typically involves option periods, home inspections, re-negotiation (on some transactions) and appraisals. Your lender and real estate agent will guide you through this process. While you might not see a lot of activity on the front end, there is a flurry in the back on the mortgage side of the house. Do not be surprised if you are asked to produce additional financial documentation as you get closer to closing day.
6. Walk it
Once issued the clear to close, walk the property with your real estate agent to verify any negotiated repairs have been done and that the property is in acceptable condition.
7. Go to closing!
After the walk-through, you can head to closing. Generally, these appointments take one or two hours complete, but once the paperwork is done and the loan funds, you will be rewarded with keys and a place to call your very own!
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