Buying a home is a big decision. One that no matter how much research you do, there are still so much you probably didn’t prepare for. As you move through the process of buying a home, the most important thing you can do for yourself is hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the process. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.
To help you prepare for the home buying process, especially if this your first time, here are 5 important factors to be aware of.
Pre-approved. Before you begin your search for your dream home, take a moment to get pre-approved. This is important so you know how much you can afford and have realistic expectations going in. Too many times first time homebuyers skip this process and they start looking at homes that are way out of their price range, which can put throw them off once they see what they really can afford.
In addition to this, being pre-approved before talking with a real estate agent will help your agent support in your house hunt—and yes, you’re going to want to have an agent help you.
Search for dream home. The house hunt can be a frustrating experience or a wonderful experience, depending what you’re looking for and what the market is like. However, with a qualified agent helping you along the way, this will take a lot of the stress away. While looking for your dream home, remember to take some time to look at various homes to give you an idea on what you’d like. Also, don’t fall in love with just one home, in case someone makes an offer before you’ve had a chance to. During this process, your agent can help and answer all your questions about making counter-offer and negotiations.
Earnest money. This can be a surprise if you’re not prepared for it. When you make an offer on your dream home, putting down some earnest money to show the seller you’re serious. Depending on the situation, either the earnest will go towards your closing costs or will be returned to you. Again, your real estate agent and loan officer can answer your questions.
Inspections. Once the seller has accepted your offer, prepare for home inspections. Three of the more important ones are a meth test, mold test, and radon test. In addition to having these tests, hiring a professional inspector to inspect the property, both inside and out. This is important to know if there are any foundational and structural problems you should be aware of. If you find out these before the set deadlines, you can pull out of your offer which out losing your earnest money.
Loan Process. This is another in depth process you should be prepared for. Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for, your credit score, and other financial documents, this may be a long process as your lender determines if you qualify for a loan. Going into this process, make sure you have your last 2 years tax information, w-2s, paycheck stubs, and any other information your lender may need.
There is a lot that goes in the home buying process and at times you may feel like it will never end and you’ll never buy your home. However, the process is worth it because in the end you’ll have a home you love, will start building equity, and have pride in owning your very home.
Remember buying your first home? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.