Homeownership is a dream come true. When a person is ready to make that dream a reality there are certain steps to buying a home that must be followed. You want to make sure you are going about the right process so you will make as few mistakes as possible. Sometimes the process of buying a home can be complicated even if you have previously have owned a home. The following guide will help you navigate the home buying process as easy as possible.
In order to purchase a home, people must have cash for a down payment. This is why one of the first steps to buying a home is to save for the down payment. In some cases, lenders require a five to twenty percent down payment on conventionial loans or 3.5 on a FHA Loan. Buyers may choose to open a savings account in advance, or the down payment may be given as a monetary gift from a family member.
Get Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified
Before you begin the process you will need to know what you can afford. Typically this comes down to how much of a loan he or she can obtain. One way to determine is to pre-qualified. The pre-qualification process is one in which the mortgage company interviews the home buyer and asks questions about the individuals finances, including debts. An estimate of how much the buyer can afford is given at the end of the interview.
Pre-approval is yet another option that is available. For pre-approval a credit check is run and the amount of available down payment is taken into consideration. The lender also looks at any owed debt and even if the person is a first time home buyer. This results in an estimated pre-approved amount that is typically favored over pre-qualification.
Decide on a Location
Once you know how much you can afford in terms of a house, it is time to look at the details of where to live. Often people choose a location-based off of factors such as family, work, and school. Although a person may have a general idea of where he or she would like to own a home, it is important to consider all of the options. A person should visit potential locations keeping in mind his or her family’s lifestyle and commute.
Decide on a Type of Home to Buy
The type of home that a person prefers is another factor to take into consideration when determining where to live. Things to consider include buying a new home versus a resale home. Home types include single-family detached homes, semi-detached homes, duplex homes, town houses, or even condos. When determining what type of home is the best fit, a person should take into consideration the lifestyle that he or she lives, current needs – such as rooms – and future needs of the family if it should grow.
Choose a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent will understand the real estate market and lead homebuyers to the homes that they want to see. As a result this will save the home buyer time and frustration. Choose a real estate agent or agency that has a good reputation in the area. The agent should be a buyer’s agent dedicated to working in the best interests of the buyer. The agent should also be someone who listens and has no problem answering any questions that are asked of him or her.
Visit Available Properties
Now that a the home buyer has determined the type of home that he or she is most interested in, the location, and has obtained the services of a real estate agent, it is time to view available homes in the area. Of the steps to buy a house, this is often one of the most enjoyable. The real estate agent will locate and screen homes for the buyer and present him or her with the options that best match the established criteria. The agent can set up a date and time to visit potential homes. During this time the buyer should not feel pressured or make hasty decisions.
Making the Offer
Once you have found the perfect home, it is time to make an offer on the property. This is an area in which a real estate agent is invaluable. The Agent will base the offer price off of comparable homes that have sold recently in the area. The agent will draft a contract that is agreeable to the home buyer. The contract will include the price of the offer, as well as terms that the seller and the buyer will need to meet in order to achieve a successful transaction. The agent will ensure that the contract meets all of the necessary legal requirements.
Secure the Mortgage
Once the offer has been approved, the buyer will need to secure the mortgage. This is done by complete the mortgage application. Usually a buyer should “shop around” for the best rates and terms. Most buyers choose fixed rates rather than adjustable rates.
Arrange for a home inspector to look over the property. The real estate agent can help locate a reputable inspector for the task. A qualified inspector will check the foundation, plumbing, electrical systems, the roof, walls, and visible insulation. An inspector will also look for signs of mold, asbestos, and pests.
The buyer will need to purchase home owners insurance for the property. This will protect it in the event of fire, theft, or other potential liabilities. Title insurance is another type of insurance that homebuyers will want to consider. This will protect the buyer against liens. This should be equal to the home’s full value.
Closing on your Home
Prior to the closing date, the buyer will want to verify with his or her agent, lender, and escrow company that all of the necessary documents have been signed and terms met. If they have not this should be taken care of immediately to ensure that there are no last-minute problems. The buyer will also want to verify what forms of payment are acceptable. Day before closing or the day of closing a walk through is done to make sure everything is on the property that the seller promised. On the closing date, closing costs and fees will be paid.
YOU ARE READY TO MOVE IN!