Home Buying How-To:
Step-by-Step Instructions for Buying Your New Home
Step 1. Examine Your Finances
The first home buying steps should always be a good review of one's financial situation. A mortgage lender can teach you how to judge your buying power and review your credit situation. You may have a 'good idea' of what you can afford, but remember there are many things to consider when purchasing a home. PRICE is not the same as COST. You may know the price you want to pay, but you must also consider the total cost of buying the home.
PRICE = Sales Price
COST = Sales Price+Closing Costs+Interest Rate+Taxes+Insurance+HOA fees....
Step 2. Get Pre-Approved
Our next step to buying a home will be choosing a mortgage lender and getting pre-approved. Pre-approval is NECESSARY to begin the home buying process. It will show sellers that you are serious about buying their home (and financially capable). This can make a big difference in whether or not they consider your offer to purchase. In addition, 99% of sellers REQUIRE a copy of your pre-approval letter before they will even let you see their house. If a buyer is not serious enough to get a pre-approval letter, sellers assume they are not serious about buying a home at all and will not allow access to the home. This step is easier than you might think. It can usually be done via firstname.lastname@example.org or even over the phone.
Step 3. Find a Real Estate Agent
Next, you will need to find a qualified REALTOR® to help you through the remaining home buying steps. The home buying process can move pretty quickly, and there's a lot at stake financially. Having a skilled REALTOR® on your side can help you avoid making costly mistakes, especially if it's your first time buying a home.
Step 4. Start House Hunting
Now that you've got your finances in order, been pre-approved for a mortgage, and chose a REALTOR®, you're ready the most exciting step -- the house hunting process. This part is not only the most exciting, but also the most emotional. Here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid making any emotionally based decisions:
- Don't end up 'House Poor' - Keep your finances in mind, no matter how beautiful a house may be.
- Consider the commute - It's easy to be so enamored with a home that you forget about the drive time.
- Location, location, location - Remember, you can always change the house to fit your taste, you CAN NOT change the location.
Step 5. Make an Offer
Once you find a home you like, you'll need to make an offer on it. For this step you must work closely with your REALTOR® to determine a reasonable offer amount based on recent, comparable sales in the area (referred to as "comps"). Be prepared for negotiations. What will you do if the seller turns down your initial purchase offer for the house? What happens if there are offers from multiple buyers and a bidding war develops? Discuss these possibilities with your REALTOR® before making your initial home buying offer. Your REALTOR® will help you develop a plan for each scenario.
Step 6. Communicate
The most important steps happen between negotiating the sales price and closing on the home. This is where your REALTOR'S® job really begins. Your REALTOR® will work for you through the entire process. They will navigate through the home inspection, termite letter, financing, insurance, and tax issues (just to name a few key obstacles). USE THEIR EXPERTISE!
When in doubt, follow your REALTOR'S® advice! They are the professional. You may only do this a few times in your lifetime - Your REALTOR® does it everyday.
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