Buying a home is often an overwhelming process. When you break it down into manageable steps, you’ll soon find yourself moving into your new house, cooking in your kitchen, and sitting on your very own front porch. If you want to purchase a home, there are professionals who will help guide you through the process. Here are six things to know about buying your first house.
1. A Real Estate Agent will Help with Buying Your First House
There are many ways a real estate agent can help you find and close on the perfect home. When you work with an agent, he or she will be your representative throughout the transaction. An agent has access to public and privately listed homes and can give you a good idea about the fair market value of the property you are interested in.
Working with a real estate agent means you have access to their contracts and contacts. Agents can get you inside of the properties, too. They have master keys and will arrange a showing with the seller. Once you get a house under contract, there will be many things to take care of in a short period of time. Your agent will keep you on track.
2. Shop for a Lender
A mortgage lender helps you buy a house from a financial standpoint. Before shopping for a home, meet with a few lenders to find out what home loan you qualify for. Sometimes the bank may be willing to loan you more money than you are comfortable paying. Just because you’ve qualified for more doesn’t mean you’re required to spend it.
Learn what the mortgage will cost and ask if it includes homeowners insurance. Plan a budget for all the costs of becoming a homeowner. Taking the time to review your monthly income, bills, and debt will put you in an excellent position to make a solid offer.
3. Features and Amenities
Once you’re pre-qualified for a loan, make a shopping list. When you sit down with your real estate agent, have a list of features you need in a home and a list of items that you want.
When you are buying a house, it is important to know what items are non-negotiable. Some things you can be specific about are bedroom and bathroom count, location, and school district. Some examples of things you might like but are optional are a fireplace and swimming pool.
4. Making an Offer
Buying a house will eventually come down to making an offer. Your real estate agent will help you understand the value of similar homes and, with that information, you can make a reasonable offer. Inside that offer, details about the transaction will be defined. It will address issues such as the closing date, inspections, and down payments.
It is not uncommon for a seller to counter an offer, but your real estate agent can guide you through the process. Once you reach an agreement and have a signed contract, it is time to get a home inspection and make sure your loan is in order.
5. Inspection Period
Before you close the deal, order a home inspection. Your inspector will help you learn more about problems with the home’s major components and any maintenance issues. Some sellers may have already had a home inspection while preparing for the sale, but it is recommended that you order your own inspection.
If you are having a new home built, you will want to get the building inspected so that you have a professional, third-party opinion of the property.
6. Buying Your First House in a Limited Market
If you are competing with many other buyers, it can be tough and discouraging at times. You will need to be ready to tour a property as soon as it becomes available. As a buyer, you’ll feel pressure to make decisions quickly. If you don’t get the first property, remind yourself that there will be more homes available. Every day more properties are listed for sale.