Have you done your homework? Try to learn as much valuable information you can before you start the home buying process. Knowledge is power, especially in a real estate purchase. Having some basic home buying knowledge will make your experience a lot easier. Have you saved enough money? Depending on the type of loan you get, you may need to have between 5%-20% of the loan amount available for the down payment. There are many different programs to give you different options. You also need to have the money for the closing cost. Closing cost are the final cost associated in closing a loan. I know this may sound a little bit overwhelming to a first time home buyer. To give you some relief, a good loan officer will break down all of the numbers for you so you won't be surprised when it is time to close.
2. Get A Good Agent! (Hey...I'm always here!) #ShamelessPlug lol
I'm not just saying that because I am one, but because you need guidance. Buying a home can be a complicated matter. After the easy part of looking at all of the beautiful homes on the internet and saying "I like this one and that one," the real process begins. What I have found, after the client finds the house they want, they always ask me "now what?" There are plenty of forms to sign, you need to know about pricing, negotiating, the home inspection requirements, and financing options. Most importantly you need someone who knows and understands the current real estate market. That can heavily impact real estate transactions. A good real estate agent can help you go through this maze with ease. You could just call the agent selling the home, but why? Why would you want to work with someone that has a fiduciary loyalty to the seller? They will not have your best interest in mind. You need an agent to represent YOU!
3. Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved (Pre-Approval is preferred)
This is the part when a lot of people seem to tense up, but really it shouldn't be. If you want to be a home owner you need to know sooner than later where you stand as far as financing. First, get pre-qualified to see how much you qualify for. How can you, or your real estate agent look for a home not knowing how much the bank will loan you? Getting pre-qualified only takes a few minutes to let you know where you stand, and what you need to do if an issue pops up. You don't want to be ready to move, just to find out you are not qualified at that particular time. It is best to know in advance so you can be prepared. You might also think you don't qualify and you do. That also happens. On top of that, you cannot submit offers/bids on homes without one. Sellers want to know up front if the offer on their house is from someone who is serious about buying it, and has the funds to do so. Getting pre-approved comes after you have submitted all of the appropriate documentation to actually be approved for the loan. It puts you in a better position of winning a bid when submitting an offer. Best of all it is a guarantee that you have been approved for the loan. I suggest that you should get pre-approved while you are looking for a home before you get a contract. Getting pre-approved is always better than getting pre-qualified. If you are already approved before you have a contract on a home, it can lead to a faster and less stressful closing.....TRUST ME!! If you choose to get pre-qualified first, the pre-approval process starts right after you get a contract. There are many different bank options for this process. You can always talk to your agent to get help.
4. LOOK FOR YOUR HOME!! (I know, I know.....you thought this was #1)
This is the part you have been waiting for! Now that you know for a fact that you can get a house, it is now time to look for one. You have to know exactly what you want. Not just how many bedrooms and bathrooms. You have to consider square footage, how much land, yard work, split level, ranch, ranch with a basement, do you want a pool? If so, have you calculated pool cost? You also have to consider the taxes each year (you can get homestead exemption. Will explain in another blog),
5. Choosing A Home
When choosing a home, you should consider your future needs. And most of all LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Location is everything. You may want your children to be in a certain school district, you may not want to have a long commute to work, be close to shopping, or be in a quite area. You may want to be close to love ones. Location is most of the time the number one thing on a home buyers list. After you know exactly what you want, your agent can start sending you houses to look at, and you can look as well. Your agent will be able to get all of the details on a house you may like so you can compare your options. Once you do that, you will be able to make an informed decision when choosing your home.
Stay tuned for steps 6-10. It will be featured in my next blog post.