Tuesday, November 9, 2021 / by Kaitlin Delles
Being a first time home buyer is so exciting, but it can also be very intimidating! Most people know exactly what they are looking for in their new home, but are unsure of the process and the steps they need to take to make it as easy as possible. Not sure where to begin? You're in luck: We've created a home buyer checklist, so you don't have to!
Find the perfect real estate agent (we're right here!)
First and foremost, a good real estate agent can answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction. Even if you are not ready to buy for a while, an agent's advice will be invaluable. Avoid early disappointment. You cannot begin the process of determining a sales price until you get pre-qualified, nor can you look at homes until you know how much home you can buy. An agent can assist you with these tasks. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Most buyers work with the first agent they run into or a close family friend. You can find an experienced professional who will listen to you, conduct themselves ethically, and knows your market well through referrals, open houses, and other recommendations.
- Choosing the perfect agent will not only fulfill step 1 - but the right agent will also help you with ALL the steps to come, and make the home buying process as easy as possible for you!
Talk to a Mortgage Lender
Lenders come in all types. Some make only certain types of loans. Others have a broader ability to match a loan to specific needs. Don't automatically assume that the place where you maintain a checking account is the best place to get a loan. Ask your real estate agent for a referral. Agents know which lenders perform and which do not. This checklist will help you find the best loan:
- Get a free credit report from a reputable place. Don't bother paying to get a FICO score because your lender will use a different service.
- Just because you like a lender's website is no reason to get a loan from that lender, there are various places you can go to get a mortgage loan, and you're likely to find a better deal if you shop around.
- There are many types of mortgage loans, make sure you choose the mortgage best for you. Ask your agent how easy it is to get some of these financing contingencies accepted by a seller.
Get Your Finances in Order
Once you have determined your down payment amount, set the funds aside, and do not alter your financial situation. Lenders will track all monies coming into your checking and savings accounts, and large unexplained sums of monies from unusual sources could cause difficulties. Ideally, you want the money in your account for two to three months, which is called "seasoning." Make sure you:
- Get a preapproval letter. There is a difference between being preapproved and prequalified, and pre-approval is better.
- Do not make any large purchase on credit or by diluting your cash reserves. Learn what can go wrong in underwriting that could cause your loan to be rejected.
- Make sure you know what kind of preapproval letter you need. Presenting the wrong type of preapproval letter could affect your chances of offer acceptance. (Your agent will make sure you have the right one, so choose the right agent first!)
Find the Perfect Home
The best thing about home shopping after following this home buying checklist is the fact you have covered all of your bases upfront. You know you are prequalified to buy a home. You know you have the funds available to purchase. And you know you have hired the right real estate agent to help you successfully navigate the journey of homeownership. These steps will help you reach your goals:
- Once you have selected a neighborhood, you need to find a home to buy that meets your price range and fulfills your desires.
- Even though your agent is sending you listings every day, some buyers cannot resist the do-it-yourself approach and want to find the best places to find homes for sale online.
Make a Purchase Offer
Nothing is worse than writing offer after offer and none getting accepted. It can dampen your spirits and make you start to wrongly believe that you do not deserve to buy a home. Start by listening to your agent's advice. Don't be that buyer who thinks they know best, or you may become that buyer who needs to learn the lessons of rejection. Follow these tips to catch the eye of the seller:
- When you find the perfect home, you need to make a purchase offer immediately. Many buyers are looking at the same homes that have similar desires and tastes.
- If you encounter a multiple-offer situation, make your offer shine above all the rest by seeking out expert advice from your real estate agent. Some lucky buyer will win, and that buyer could very well be you
- Study the market comparables and your present type of real estate market, which changes all the time. Then learn how to make an offer to buy a home that will blow the seller away.
Close on Your New Home
Once your offer is accepted, you will enter escrow on your new home. Part of the home closing process involves due diligence on the part of the buyer. Talk with your agent about types of inspections you might want to order and the timeframe for your contingencies. These steps will help you close:
- The first order of business is to obtain a home inspection for your edification. Use a home inspection checklist to make sure you examine the essentials.
- Set aside funds for your home buyer's closing costs. It is money in addition to the balance of your down payment.
- You may pay upfront for an appraisal from your lender. Ask your lender and realtor about the closing process before you buy so you can prepare for potential closing costs?
Have any questions about the home buying process? Reach out to any of our specialized agents today!