First time homebuyers may think they are ready to purchase, but it pays to know what you’re getting into. Not preparing in advance can set you up for some nasty surprises. Here are the key steps you should understand to ensure you’re ready to walk the path to homeownership.
Step 1: Connect With A Loan Officer
A knowledgeable, experienced loan officer is essential in making your homeownership dreams a reality. Find one who makes you feel comfortable asking questions, and who is accessible to walk you through the process.
Step 2: Obtain a Pre-Approval Letter
A pre-approval letter shows the seller you’re serious about buying a home. It gives you an edge on other buyers who didn’t have the forethought to secure one. Knowing you already qualified for a mortgage loan may give you additional bargaining power if other buyers are vying for the same house.
Step 3: Select a Real Estate Agent
Some buyers go it on their own, and this is a mistake. Real estate agents can navigate the process and be by your side to make sure you make the right moves. Find one you like and who understands what you’re looking for.
Step 4: Find Your Dream Home
Look in the neighborhoods you like for homes within your budget. This takes knowing which features you must have – and which you can live without. Make a list and narrow down your must-haves so you can be specific with your real estate agent.
Step 5: Make an Offer
If you’ve decided on a home, offer what you think it’s worth, along with your earnest money. Be prepared to bid against other offers and to counteroffer if the buyer doesn’t accept your first one. This process can take several days.
Step 6: Get an Appraisal and a Home Inspection
The seller has accepted your offer. Things are moving along well, but you’re not to the finish line yet. Wait for the appraisal and home inspection before you get too excited about living in the house, since both have a bearing on qualifying for your mortgage.
Step 7: Request Repairs
You might need to go back to the seller to address repair issues found in the home inspection. This may cause another round of negotiations.
Step 8: Get Final Loan Approval
The loan officer can finalize your loan once they have all your information and the appraisal in their possession.
Step 9: Purchase Homeowner’s Insurance
Talk to a couple of insurance companies to get the best quote on insuring your new home. Some give discounts on a house/auto combo.
Step 10: Receive Closing Documents
These are sent three days prior to your closing date. Review them carefully and ask questions on anything you don’t understand.
Closing time is here! Get the keys to your new home! It’s time to take ownership of your new place. Congratulations on being a new homeowner!