Being a first time home buyer can be overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. A home purchase may be one of the largest investments you may make so you should put an equal amount of importance on your research and learn about the home buying process. The process itself involves several steps to complete the process. Before you sign on the dotted line be sure you are ready to become a homeowner by learning the steps to buying a home.
The Five Steps to Buying a Home
After you decide you are ready to become a homeowner you will go through a series of steps that are required in buying a home.
Home Buyer Tip: There are many resources available to assist with the process but the most important advice is to make sure you are working with knowledgeable professionals for your loan officer and real estate agent.
Step 1 in Buying a Home: Getting a mortgage pre-approval
Before you start looking at houses the first step is to talk with a licensed loan officer that can help review your financial situation and advise you on what homes you can afford. Your loan officer will help you review your income, assets, credit and other important information that is required to get financing to buy a home. If it appears you are eligible for financing you will be issued a mortgage preapproval certificate.
Step 2 in Buying a Home: Find a Real Estate Agent or Realtor
After you are pre-approved for financing, the next step is to find a real estate agent to assist you in finding a home. While there are great sites on the internet that you can search for home on your own, a real estate agent can set you up on instant notifications of new listings, price reductions and other important information that most websites are unable to do. Typically, a buyer’s agent is no cost to the buyer as the real estate agents are paid from the seller’s proceeds.
Step 3 in Buying a Home: Make an Offer on a Home
When you find a home that fits in your price range and meets your needs, the next step is to make an offer. Your real estate agent can help you place your bid. They will have a good idea of the local market and what a “fair” price for the home should be. They will also advise you of important factors such as how long the house has been on the market, past sales and details about the home. There may be a negotiation process where the sellers make a counter offer to your bid. You can then accept or counter again until both side reach an agreement.
Step 4 in Buying a Home: The Loan Application Process
Once you have an agreement to purchase a home, you will provide this to your loan office and sign your mortgage application. At this time you will provide documentation of your income, assets and identification. You will also pay for an appraisal to verify the house is worth what you are paying. Other inspections such as home inspections and surveys can be done during this period. You may need to provide updates throughout the loan process if required by the loan underwriter.
Step 5 in Buying a Home: The Loan Closing
After your home loan is fully approved, you will be cleared for closing. This is the final stretch to becoming a home owner. Your loan officer and real estate agent will work with you to schedule a date to close your loan. The closing will typically take place at a title company. You will review and sign your final loan documents and provide your cashier’s check to cover your portion of closing costs and down payment. Once the closing is through, you will now own a piece of real estate.
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