Taking the First Step. Buying Your First Home.1/19/2018
It can be very intimidating trying to figure out the where to start. First time buyers need a little extra TLC and expert guidance in order to make good, solid decisions.
Here are a few initial steps to get you going:
- Before you start your house hunting, you absolutely should get get pre-approved for a mortgage by a local lender. This is the most important step to take and you should not skip it! Speaking with a lender will give you a clear picture of what you can afford to purchase. They will discuss the costs related to purchasing at house (closing costs), how much of a down payment you will need and other important factors that you will need to know. Mortgage calculators
- Once you are pre-approved, find a real estate agent in the area where you plan on purchasing in. It is very easy today to scan agents in an area to determine the best fit for you. Review agent’s credentials - specifically their experience and if there are testimonials available, you should take a look at them. This can give you some insight on how the agent performed with their clients.
- Make contact with the agent and discuss your pre-approval, home preferences, timeframe for purchasing and schedule of availability. Make an appointment to begin viewing homes that are possible matches. With the availability of real estate websites, it is very easy for you to "preview" the home online through multiple photos, virtual tours and in-depth descriptions. If you have time in your schedule, you might even want to drive by the homes/areas first to see if it has what you are looking for from the outside.
- Once you find a home that fits your criteria and budget, then discuss with your agent about making an offer. You may want your agent to verify tax and other information or questions that you might have (ex. how much does it cost to run the house annually?). Ask your agent to give you comparable sales in the area so that you can make an informed offer. Your agent should negotiate the best price and terms for you.
- After the offer has been negotiated an accepted, you will be asked to set up an inspection for the home. This is to educate you on the home that you are purchasing. You want to make sure that there are no major issues. The inspection also helps reveal minor issues that might need attention in the near future and general home maintenance tips. Home inspectors must be licensed and here are some FAQs that may be helpful.
- The next few steps are signing contracts, applying for your mortgage, appraisal, title search and then closing. This generally takes about 60 days but this is very dependent on the type of financing that you are using. Your agent should stay in touch with you along the way, answering any questions that you might have.
Good luck and happy house hunting!