Two things you need to keep in mind before you embark on the “home-buying” journey is that this will require some serious cash and a whole lot of your time. The decision might be intuitive but when you finally get the keys in your hand… that will be the best feeling of your life.
Let’s get down to business – The journey is not that easy. There are tools that you need to have at your disposal, relationships with experts and a good head on your shoulders when it comes to finances.
This guide will take you through the steps of buying a house and provide you with help on how you should tackle every problem that comes your way.
Here we go.
Come Prepared – Do Your Homework
Before you start going to open houses, sit down and make a list of your wants and needs. Things such as housing type, price, school district, neighborhood and nearby facilities should be at the top. If you are buying a house with your partner then make sure that you both are on the same page.
What will this all do? When you finally hand that list to your real estate agent, they will save you time by showing you houses that are under your budget and have the key points you are looking for.
Look for an Agent
A real estate agent sets the foundation of your home-buying process. They are the ones who will help you browse through listings and will provide you with expert advice on every step of the process. A great agent will give you the peace of mind of making the process as easy as possible and finding you exactly what you want.
Shop for a Lender
Ah… the most important part of the process – The mortgage. Often real estate agents themselves provide a mortgage lender for their clients. If such is the case, then check at least three lenders to compare interest rates and other loan terms.
At this step of the process, there are a few documents you need in order to get the loan. These include your credit card statement, proof of income, important financials and employment status. Based on these factors, the lender will decide how big of a loan they can give and what payment terms should be set.
Visit Open Houses
One of the best advantages of hiring a real estate agent is that you no longer have to browse for a house online and try to satisfy yourself with pictures. With the help of private showings and open houses, you get to evaluate the properties and note down what they are lacking.
Make an Offer
All right, so let’s assume that you finally found your dream house. It’s time to make an offer. Sit down with your agent and list down what conditions you want to be included in the offer. Go over the specifics such as the mortgage pre-approval letter, propose settlement date, request for repairs and home inspection and then approach the seller.
It’s time to let the agent work their magic. If the seller comes with a counter offer that is above your budget then, let the agent handle the negotiations. A good real estate agent will come prepared with knowledge about the current real estate market and comps.
The Inspection Contingency
If the seller has lied on the home inspection report, then you will have a small window to retract the offer even after the papers are signed. So, make sure that your inspection includes looking at every corner of the house.
Make Sure the Appraisal Goes Well
The appraisal depends on the condition of the house and how much its worth on the market. If the appraisal matches the purchase price, you will get the full loan amount you asked for.
Close the Deal
From final ownership to insurance paperwork, make sure everything is signed and in order.
Once you get the deed to the house in your hand, you can pop that champagne bottle.