Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make. Forty percent of people agree that buying a home is the most stressful thing you will do in your life. Because this large purchase can cause so much concern, completing the right steps during the process will make it much easier. The following are the main steps you will need to remember when starting the house hunting process.
Get Approved and Set a Budget
Before you can even begin looking at houses, you will need to get approved. Find a lender you trust and feel comfortable with. Plan a meeting with them to go over your finances. They will check your credit score and debt history. They will give you approval to buy a home that is up to a certain amount. They can also help you get an estimate of what your mortgage will be based on the price of the home you purchase. Ultimately, this will help you set your budget and know what price range you feel comfortable with.
Meet With Your Realtor
After you have met with your lender you can set up a meeting with your realtor. Make sure your realtor is also someone you can trust and feel comfortable talking with. You will be working closely with them through the whole process, so choose your real estate services wisely. During your first meeting with your realtor, tell them your budget. Tell them what areas you want to look for a home in and give them any other specifications you may have. For example, you might only want to look for single family homes, houses with an attached garage, or houses with a large fenced yard. Make sure your realtor understands all of your hopes for your new home.
Walk Through Homes
After your meetings with your lender and realtor, you can finally start your search. Look at real estate sites for new listings. As soon as you see a listing you are interested in, contact your realtor. They will set up a time to walk through the home. You can also drive around and find signs for open houses. Look at as many homes as you can so you can get an idea of what you want.
Make an Offer
Once you have found a home that you love, it’s time to make an offer. Tell your realtor you want to make an offer on the home. They will run comparisons to other homes in the area to see how well the home is priced. They will give you advice based on that for your offer. You will then sign your offer letter and your realtor will send it to the seller’s agent. After that, you will need to wait to hear back to see if your offer has been accepted or not. You might need to make several offers before finding a home.
Accept a Counter Offer if Needed
Once you hear your offer has been accepted, your realtor will tell you if the sellers gave a counter offer. This doesn’t always happen, but if it does, consider what their counter offer is. Oftentimes, the counter offer is minor and won’t make much of a difference to you. If that’s the case, you will need to sign an acceptance to their counter offer before moving to the next step.
Schedule Inspections and the Appraisal
The next step in the home buying process is to schedule inspections and an appraisal. Your realtor will recommend a home inspector to use and will help you schedule the appointment. You will want to be at the house in person during the inspection so you know right away if there are any issues. Other inspections are optional, but are sometimes highly recommended. For example, you might want to schedule a sewer scope if the home you are buying is older. Once the inspections are complete and there aren’t any major issues, you can move forward with the sale. Your lender will likely schedule an appraisal for your new home. If the home appraises low, you might need to work with the seller to find a new purchase price. However, if the home appraises for the agreed purchase price, there won’t be any issues for moving forward.
Do a Final Walk Through
After the inspections, your lender will help you through any other steps you need to finalize your loan. You can schedule a final walk through after that. It can be helpful to walk through the home one more time to make sure it looks exactly the same as it did the first time you saw it. Schedule the walk through close to your closing or move-in date.
Close the Sale and Get the Keys
The final step in the home buying process is closing the sale. You will need to meet in person to sign the final papers. During this time, you will either get the keys or you might need to wait a little longer before moving in, depending on the terms that were agreed upon with the seller. Once you sign the closing paperwork, the sale is finalized and you will be a homeowner.
All of the above steps can feel overwhelming at first. However, with the right real estate agent the process will go smoothly. Don’t rush the process of buying a new home and make sure you are thorough to avoid any issues with the sale or the home in the future.