Here are the 8 basic steps to buy a home. A qualified, experienced Realtor will guide you through the process.
1. Decide to buy.
Although there are many good reasons for you to buy a home, wealth building ranks among the top of the list. Home ownership is the best “accidental investment” most people ever make. When done right, home ownership becomes an “intentional investment” that lays the foundation for a life of financial security and personal choice. There are solid financial reasons to support your decision to buy a home. These reasons include equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits.
Base your decision to buy on facts, not fears.
If you are paying rent, you likely can afford to buy.
There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. Find a good buy and make sure you have the financial ability to hold it for the long run.
You may not need a large down payment to make your first home purchase.
A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily stop you from buying a home.
The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now.
Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many professionals who will help you with the steps to buy a home.
2. Hire your agent.
The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen separate individuals. Insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters are some of the individuals involved in the steps to buy a home. Other individuals are inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, bankers, and title researchers. Numerous individual actions have to be orchestrated in order to get a home sale closed.
It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase. Moreover, your agent must act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout the process.
Seven main roles of your real estate agent:
Educate you about your market.
Analyze your wants and needs.
Guide you to homes that fit your criteria.
Coordinate the work of other needed professionals.
Negotiate on your behalf.
Check and double-checks paperwork and deadlines.
Solve any problems that may arise.
Important questions to ask your agent:
Qualifications are important. However, finding a solid, professional agent means getting beyond the resume, and into what makes an agent effective. Start with these questions to ask a potential real estate agent.
Why did you become a real estate agent?
Why should I work with you?
Tell me what do you do better than other real estate agents?
Explain the process will you use to help me find the right home for my particular wants and needs?
Describe the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
List some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?
3. Secure financing.
The thought of home ownership is thrilling. However, the thought of taking on a mortgage may be downright chilling. Many first-time buyers may be confused about the mortgage process. Others may be about making such a large financial commitment.
Here is a six-step, easy-to-understand process to secure the financing for your first home.
Choose a loan officer (or mortgage specialist).
Make a loan application and get preapproved.
Determine what you want to pay and select a loan option.
Submit to the lender an accepted purchase offer contract.
Get an appraisal and title commitment.
Obtain funding at closing.
4. Find your home.
Many think that shopping a home starts with jumping in the car and driving all over town. And it’s true that looking at homes is probably the most exciting part of the home-buying process. However, driving around is fun for only so long. If weeks go by without finding what you’re looking for, the fun can fade pretty fast. That’s is why the first step to buy a home is to carefully consider your long and short term values, wants, and needs.
What do I want my home to be close to?
How much space do I need and why?
Which is more critical: location or size?
Would I be interested in a fixer-upper?
How important is home value appreciation?
Is neighborhood stability and priority?
Would I be interested in a condo?
Would I be interested in new home construction?
What features and amenities do I want? Which do I really need?
5. Make an offer.
Approach this process with a cool head and a realistic perspective of your marketplace. The three basic components of an offer are price, terms, and contingencies.
The right price to offer must fairly reflect the true market value of the home you want to buy. Your agent’s market research will guide this decision. Other financial and timing factors are terms that will be included in the offer.
Schedule-a schedule of events that happen before closing.
Conveyances-the items that stay with the house when the sellers leave.
Closing costs-it’s standard for buyers to pay their closing costs, but if you want to roll the costs into the loan, you need to write that into the contract.
Home warranty-this helps to cover repairs or replacement of appliances and major systems. You may ask the seller to pay for this.
Option Period– the option period is the time set aside for the buyer to complete their due diligence.
Earnest money-this protects the sellers from the possibility of your unexpectedly pulling of the deal and makes a statement about the seriousness of your offer.
6. Perform due diligence.
Unlike most major purchases, there is not a return policy that comes with a home purchase. That’s why home owner’s insurance and property inspections are so important.
A home owner’s insurance policy protects you in two ways. It will protect you against loss or damage to the property itself and liability in case someone sustains an injury while on your property
Ideally, the property inspection should expose any issues a home might hide so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign your closing papers. The major concern is structural damage. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have a big problem show up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist.
The final stage of the home buying process is the lender’s confirmation of the home’s worth and your continued credit-worthiness. This entails a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final check of your credit and finances.
Your preclosing responsibilities:
Stay in control of your finances.
Return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.
Communicate with your agent at least once a week.
Before closing, confirm with your agent that all your documentation is in place and in order.
Obtain certified funds for closing.
Conduct a final walk-through.
Finally, you’ll sign documents that confirm you are the new homeowner on closing day.
Finalize your mortgage.
Pay the seller.
Pay your closing costs.
Transfer the title from the seller to you.
Make arrangements to legally record the transaction as a public record.
Because your expectations are clear and you follow directions, closing should be simple conclusion to your home-search process.
8. Protect your investment.
Throughout the course of your home-buying experience, you’ve probably spent a lot of time with your real estate agent . Hopefully, you now know each other fairly well. Therefore, there is no reason to throw all that trust and rapport out the window just because the deal has closed.
After you close on your house, you agent can still help you:
Provide information for your tax return as a homeowner.
Find contractors to help with home maintenance or remodeling.
Help your friends find homes.
Keep track of your home’s current market value.