What are the steps in the home buying process? Part 1
Published | Written by Sarah McCormick
You’ve decided to buy a home. Hooray! But…now what? Keep reading, friend!
Check your credit score. A good credit score will impact your interest rate. Pay off credit cards, don’t close any accounts, and better yet talk to a financial advisor.
Gather down payment funds. The more cash you can put down upfront, the less your loan amount will be. However, you don’t want to be “house rich, but cash poor.” It’s a good idea to save some cash for those never ending home repairs down the road. Don’t worry if you don’t have a huge down payment either. Ask your agent or lender about down payment assistance programs.
Reach out to your Real Estate Agent. Yes, this is coming from an agent. Contacting your agent first if you don’t know where to start is a great plan. A good agent will be happy to chat with you about your options and guide you on the next step. If you don’t already know a lender to apply for a loan, your agent can recommend a handful of trusted lenders. Which brings us to the next step…
Get pre-approved for a loan. Your lender will do a thorough analysis of your finances and how much you can afford. They will then give you a pre-approval letter, which you will need to submit with any offers. Pre-approvals typically last about 90 days, but ask your lender to confirm. Not ready to buy in the next 90 days and still not sure if you are qualified for a loan? Ask for a pre-qualification. This differs from a pre-approval in that it’s not as hard core and shouldn’t negatively impact your credit score.
Narrow down your “must-haves.” These are different from “wants.” Examples for must have items- location, single family home vs. condo, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Wants are things that can be changed once you move in like- paint color, kitchen cabinets, landscaping, etc.
Tour homes! This one is my favorite. Your agent will send you properties that fit your criteria, and/or you can always send them properties you find online. Then…go see them in person! It’s normal to tour several homes before finding “the one.”
Make an offer. Your agent will help you determine a fair and competitive price to offer for the home in question. A good agent will also be in close contact with the seller’s agent to see if there is anything special that the seller is looking for in an offer. In a seller’s market, you need to be willing to bend to their wishes, like it or not!
Come back next week for Part 2!