THE STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS OF BUYING A HOUSE
Whether you’re looking for your first home, a vacation home, or a home in a new area, here’s a step-by-step guide to buying a house.
1. DETERMINE HOW MUCH YOU CAN AFFORD.
Don’t make the mistake of “window shopping” before you’ve determined how much you can afford to pay for a new home. Do your math—taking into consideration your income, savings, and monthly expenses—to see how much you can comfortably pay. A mortgage calculator can help you plan out your monthly payment.
2. GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE.
Once you have an idea of what you can/want to pay for a new home, make an appointment with your bank or financial institution to talk about mortgages. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you save a lot of time and stress later on in the process.
3. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR MUST-HAVE FEATURES IN A NEW HOME.
Before you start looking at homes, make a list of your must-have features. These are features that you absolutely cannot live without. Some examples include number of bedrooms, square footage, proximity to schools/your work, etc… Additionally, you’ll want to make a list of features that would be nice to have but aren’t necessary. Keep this list for reference if you’re ever stuck deciding.
4. CHOOSE AN AREA YOU’D LIKE TO LIVE IN.
Are you looking to stay local? Are you moving across the country? Would you prefer to be near the beach? Do you need to live close to your job or school? Choose the ideal city or neighborhood that will best fit your needs.
5. FIND A REAL ESTATE AGENT IN YOUR CHOSEN AREA.
Search for a real estate agent or team who is familiar with the area you’re interested in. They’ll be able to help you find homes that have all of (or a majority of) the features you’re looking for in your price range.
6. SEARCH FOR AND FIND YOUR IDEAL HOME.
Your real estate agent can help you narrow down the thousands of available homes in your area using resources like the MLS search and databases only available to real estate professionals.
7. PUT IN AN OFFER ON THE HOME OF YOUR CHOOSING.
Once you’ve chosen the right home, you can work with your real estate agent to put in an offer on the house. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a competitive offer within your budget.
8. SUBMIT YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION.
If you’ve already been pre-approved for a mortgage, this step will be a lot easier. If not, you’ll want to find a bank/financial institution and get started on your application. Your lender may require an appraisal and/or inspections on the home before approving the loan.
9. SIGN THE PAPERS AND FINALIZE THE SALE.
Once your loan is approved, all that’s left to do is sign some papers (being sure to review them carefully with your real estate agent) and finalize the sale.
10. MOVE IN AND ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!
Now it’s time to move in and enjoy your new home!