- Save for a down payment. You’ll want to have some money set aside in your savings account to put toward your down payment on a house. Down payment options can vary widely from 0% down options to all the way to 20% down. This is a great time to consult with an experienced Realtor about available options, based on your individual situation.
- Work on your credit score. The higher your credit score, the better the loan rate. A small difference in your mortgage loan interest rate can either save or cost you a lot of money over the life of your loan.
- Select a real estate agent. Your Realtor will be your representative, so choose an agent you are very comfortable working with. A good place to start is by asking friends and family members for referrals. A strong professional relationship with your Realtor can truly make or break the home buying process.
Look for a loan/lender. Your Realtor should be able to make recommendations, but it’s up to you to decide on the type of mortgage (fixed rate or adjustable rate, for example), and the term (15- and 30-year mortgages are two popular options). The interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage will never change, and a fixed-rate mortgage is a popular choice if you plan on staying in the home for many years. An adjustable-rate mortgage will fluctuate, but it may be a better option if you’re only planning on staying in your home for a couple of years. Please read up this golden rule “Know before you owe”
- Get pre-approved for your mortgage. Doing so will allow you to know exactly what you can afford and will also make you a stronger buyer in the eyes of the seller. Your Realtor can possibly give you a few recommendations for getting a pre-approval, but you can decide on any lender who gives you the best terms that suit you.
- Decide on a location. Where do you want to live? Once you have decided on a community or neighborhood, begin to search online, make comparisons and make appointments to see the homes through your Realtor. Your Realtor is also your best resource for local guidelines about HOA fees, pricing trends and other market resources. We can show you local heat-maps which are a great guide about the investment potential of the location you are considering.
- Decide on a style of home. What’s best for your living situation and lifestyle? Depending on your personal circumstances, it could be anything from a small one-story ranch to a large Colonial with lots of bedrooms and bathrooms for lots of kids.
- Make an offer. Once you’ve checked off all the boxes above, you can finally feel comfortable making an offer on the home of your dreams. This will also be done through your Realtor. Your Realtor will also be your resource for your negotiation pathway to an accepted offer. As your representative, we will be your guide through the best negotiating strategies and market guideline on the home you wish to aim for.
- Closing Checklist. Once you have an accepted offer, you are under contract. In real estate, time is of the essence, and all timelines begin with your executed contract, and buyers are required to perform according to the terms stated in the contract. The real estate contract is an enforceable, legal document. Your Realtor will be your best resource to guide you through the maze of inspections, surveys and other documentary procedures that are part of a buyer’s responsibility in the buying process. Throughout this process, your lender and your Realtor and other team members like Inspectors, Surveyors and Title company will be your best resource to be on time for the closing deadlines. Your Realtor will also be your best guide through the negotiation of potential repair requests to the seller, based on inspection reports.
- Walk-through and closing We will schedule a walk-through on your property if you would like to do one, before closing. This is not mandatory, but your choice. Before closing day, consult with your lender and your title company or closing attorney about how they would like you to bring your closing funds. They will either require a certified check or wired funds. Please remember to authenticate wiring instructions at the source, to keep yourself from becoming a victim of wiring fraud.
And finally…. CONGRATULATIONS!! You are a homeowner!