What should a first-time buyer know about buying a home? For those of us in the industry, we tend to forget that all of us started somewhere. It isn’t brain surgery, but there are a lot of moving parts. If you’ve never done it before, it can be overwhelming.
Let me give you a simple “how-to” buy a house guideline:
- Before you start the search for a home, start the search for a lender. You need to know how much you can afford. There is no sense in looking at $400000 homes if your budget is $200000. A good lender can pre-qualify you for a loan before you start the search. Knowledge is power.
- Decide what you really need. Decide what you want. Decide what you can live without and what you can’t live without. Now, make a list. Do you need three bedrooms? More? How many bathrooms do you need? Is a garage a need? What about a basement?
- Decide where you want to live. Are you a city dweller or a country buyer? Does it matter? Drive around and get a feel for neighborhoods, subdivisions and areas. Eliminate those that you don’t like and add those you do.
- Run a few searches online. Load in your list and your price range and see what’s out there. Get a feel for what you really like and what you don’t.
- Now it’s time to call a Realtor. I bet that seems late in the process, but the truth is until you know what you can afford, where you want to live and what kind of house you might want, you may not get the best service out of your Realtor. Realtors operate on information, and until you’ve settled some of the basic information you really can’t give it to them. Once they have your information, it’s time to look at houses.
- When you’ve settled on a house, you’ll negotiate a price and settle on a contractually binding offer, and you will be in escrow (meaning, you have a house under contract).
- The process begins with a series of contingencies, such as: a home inspection, a financing contingency, an appraisal contingency, potentially a well and septic inspection, and other geographic-specific contingencies.
- Once all contingencies have been satisfied, you will be cleared to close. A closing date and time will be set. At the conclusion of the closing, you will receive the keys and your new home.
There can be more steps within some of these steps, but the basic idea is here. There is a lot to a home purchase, but with the right Realtor, the process can be pretty painless. When you’re ready to buy, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., agent a call.