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Step 1: Get Prequalified and Preapproved for credit for Your Mortgage

Before you start looking for a home, you will need to know how much you can actually spend. The best way to do that is to get prequalified for a mortgage. To get prequalified, you just need to provide some financial information to your mortgage banker, such as your income and the amount of savings and investments you have. They’ll pull your credit which also will help show which loan product fits your needs the best. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much they can lend you. This will tell you the price range of the homes you should be looking at and also give you some estimated payments so you know what you’re getting into BEFORE you even find a house.

The different types of loans are VA, Rural Development (zero money down) FHA (3.5% down) Conventional (3% – 5% down)! You DO NOT need 20% down to purchase a home! Also, keep in mind the type of loan you qualify for can also determine what homes are available to you. Not all homes are approved for just any loan. Educating yourself before looking at houses will greatly increase your chances of having a smooth process when buying your first home!

Step 2: Find a Realtor

Realtors are important partners when you’re buying or selling a home. Realtors can provide you with helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that isn’t easily accessible to the public. Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. If you arent using me as your preferred Realtor. Make sure you’re using one that understands the buying process well, non-confrontational, and can point out simple defects on a home while touring it to make you aware! You don’t want a Realtor that just unlocks a door for you. You want them to get along with their fellow Realtors, know when a roof is at the end of its life expectancy or any other obvious defects, and not just there to sell you the first home you walk into. Ask your Realtor about their experience, how many houses they sell in a year, and if they are full time or part time! These are honest questions!

Step 3: Shop for Your Home and Make an Offer

Have your Realtor set you up on property alerts that match your search criteria. Consumer sites like Zillow and do have a lag times on new properties when they are listed. You want your property alerts coming directly from the MLS. By the time a new listing shows up on Zillow it may already have an offer because it was actually listed 24 hours ago!! Send the ones you like to your agent so they can check out the immediate area, flood zones, flooding etc. so you can be aware. If the houses you like check those boxes you can start touring homes. It might be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit. You will see a lot of houses! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home.

Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:

  • Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
  • Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
  • Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly

It’s also important to evaluate the neighborhood and make a note of things such as:

  • Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
  • How much traffic does the street get?
  • Is there enough street parking for your family and visitors?
  • Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation?

Take as much time as you need to find the right home. Then work with your Realtor to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached an agreement on a price, you will then go into a due diligence period which allows you normally 7-12 days to inspect the home! Just because you have a signed agreement DOES NOT mean you’re locked into buying that specific house.

Step 4: Get a Home Inspection

Typically, purchase offers are contingent on a home inspection of the property to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing. Your Realtor usually will help you arrange to have this inspection conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. This contingency protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty if the inspection reveals significant material damage.

Both you and the seller will receive a report on the home inspector’s findings. You can then decide if you want to ask the seller to fix anything on the property before closing the sale. Before the sale closes, you will have a walk-through of the house, which gives you the chance to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.

Step 5: Work with a Mortgage Banker to Select Your Loan

Lenders have a wide range of competitively priced loan programs and a reputation for exceptional customer service. You will have many questions when you are purchasing a home, and having one of our experienced, responsive mortgage bankers assist you can make the process much easier. Using a LOCAL lender has HUGE benefits in the buying process because communication is key! Lots of big box companies will offer you a lender that doesn’t even live in the State you’re buying in!

Every homebuyer has their own priorities when choosing a mortgage. Some are interested in keeping their monthly payments as low as possible. Others are interested in making sure that their monthly payments never increase. And still others pick a loan based on the knowledge they will be moving again in just a few years.

Step 6: Have the Home Appraised

Lenders will arrange for an appraiser to provide an independent estimate of the value of the house you are buying. The appraiser is a member of a third party company and is not directly associated with the lender. The appraisal will let all the parties involved know that you are paying a fair price for the home.

Step 7: Coordinate the Paperwork

As you can imagine, there is a lot of paperwork involved in buying a house. Your lender will arrange for a title company to handle all of the paperwork and make sure that the seller is the rightful owner of the house you are buying.

Step 8: Close the Sale

At closing, you will sign all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. This is where you get the keys, garage door opener, etc and the home is officially yours!!! From the time you make an offer on a home you can expect to close within 30-45 days! If you are ready to see what you’d qualify for or if this article raised some questions please fill out the form below.

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