Buying a home can feel like an intimidating process, but with a clear understanding of the steps and the support of an experienced real estate agent, you can conquer it with confidence. Keeping track of the following steps to buying a house can help you stay organized and maintain a relaxed schedule, allowing you to make good decisions when it comes to purchasing your next home.
How to Buy a House
This article will provide ten steps to buying a house in order to simplify the process for both you and the seller.
1. Early Research Matters
As soon as you realize that you are ready to purchase a home, begin researching real estate listings in websites, newspapers, and magazines. Think about the type of home, neighborhood, and other amenities that catch your attention. Make note of changes in asking prices and how long homes tend to stay on the market to help you begin forming a buying strategy.
2. Determine Your Budget
After considering your preferences, determine how much you are willing to spend on a house. Experts typically recommend that buyers purchase a home that costs no more than three to five times their annual income if they plan to make a 20% down payment to ensure that the mortgage and other costs will not be prohibitive. Various first time homebuyer programs, which can vary from state to state, may help you stretch your budget by providing down payment assistance or more favorable mortgage terms.
3. Get Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved
Getting prequalified for a mortgage helps you solidify your budget. To get prequalified, you will need to submit your income, savings amount, and investments to your mortgage banker. The lender will review the information and provide you with a loan amount, which can help you narrow down the price range of a new home. The lender will later pre-approve you for credit and verify your financial status to formally disburse the loan.
4. Find a Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent will quickly become your strongest ally in the home buying process. They will help you find information on homes and neighborhoods that may not otherwise be available to the public, negotiate prices with sellers, organize home tours, and file paperwork to finalize the purchase of your new home. While it is possible to buy a home without the assistance of one, choosing to work with a real estate agent can ensure that the process is completed quickly and accurately.
5. Begin Touring Homes
When you start looking at homes within your price range, be sure to take notes and photos of each one to help you remember what you liked and did not like, then share this information with your agent to refine the types of homes you are shown in the future. Also, remember to test the electrical system, plumbing, windows, and other details of each home. It is also important to evaluate the neighborhood by checking the condition of other homes, traffic and availability of parking on the street, and proximity to restaurants, schools, or other points of interest. Once you find the right home, your real estate agent can help you negotiate a fair offer with the seller.
6. Get a Home Inspection
Purchase offers are typically contingent on a home inspection, which evaluates signs of structural damage or necessary repairs. Your real estate agent will ensure that this inspection is conducted within a few days of your offer’s acceptance and renegotiate your offer or withdraw it if the inspection reveals significant damage to the home. You may also ask the seller to complete repairs and take a last tour of the house to confirm that the repairs were made before closing the sale.
7. Select Your Loan
Lenders typically offer a wide range of loan programs, so work with your mortgage banker to select the right one for your needs. Some loans will help you keep your payments as low as possible, while others keep your monthly payments at a consistent rate for the life of the loan. The length of time for which you intend to reside in the home may also be a factor. Explain your priorities to your lender to choose the most appropriate loan.
8. Have the Home Appraised
Your lender will then have an appraiser provide an independent estimate of the value of the home. This value can be affected by the home’s location, condition, and repairs that may need to be made by the new owner. The appraiser’s report will determine whether you are paying a fair price for the home and ensure that the lender is offering a fair amount for their loan.
9. Coordinate Paperwork
Finalizing the sale of a home includes extensive paperwork. A real estate agent can help you stay organized and ensure that all of the paperwork is correct before you sign or file any documents. Lenders typically arrange for a title company to assist in this process and ensure that the seller is the rightful owner of the property they intend to sell.
10. Close the Sale
Finally, it is time to close the sale. You will need to sign a variety of paperwork, including loan documents, to do so. The loan will be funded within a few days, and you can move into your new home after the final check is delivered to the seller.
Working with a Real Estate Agent
Contact The Katie Zarpas Group for more information about the steps to buying a house and how a real estate agent can assist you throughout the process. Zarpas has won numerous awards over the course of her career and specializes in transactions involving investment properties, vacation properties, country homes, and historic homes within the Virginia Beach area.