When it comes to first-time homebuyers, expert advice is just what’s needed to help you with the step-by-step process to buying a home. Therefore, I have a quick step-by-step guide for what you should expect during the home buying process. You’ll find everything from finding the right realtor, to getting pre-approved to the closing and all that in between.
First-time homebuyers guide:
Step 1 – Find the right realtor for your home buying needs. Don’t settle for just any real estate agent, you need an expert with at least five years of real estate experience to help you search for the home that will be perfect for you and your family. Find an agent that is willing to listen to all your needs, one that will communicate well and one that has references.
Step 2 – Get pre-approved for the loan needed to buy a home. Prequalification is okay but it’s not the same as preapproval for a loan. If you are able to get preapproved for a loan, you have a better footing when you start the home buying process. Start with your own bank to see if they offer mortgages, then branch out from there. Don’t waste your time on Internet sites where you will get tons of calls from lenders around the nation who really can’t help you any better than a local mortgage company.
Step 3 – Talk to your realtor or mortgage company about special programs for first-time buyers like down payment assistance, closing cost discounts, interest rate discounts and more. You can also ask about HUD, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Step 4 – Once you find the home you are interested in and want to place an offer on, get an inspection on the property. The seller may have their own inspection done, but get one for yourself to see how they compare. If it’s a new construction, several inspections may be needed.
Step 5 – Meet the neighbors to see if these are the people you won’t mind living near. You can also get a better idea about a neighborhood just by asking the neighbors what they like and dislike about the area. Also, try visiting the home at different times of the day and week. You can also visit the local police station where they will be happy to let you know if the area you are looking at is a problem area.
Step 6 – Visit schools, parks, local shopping, churches and more to see what’s nearby that will be convenient for you once you’re settled into the new home. Check your commute time too. Once you do this, ask yourself if this is where you can see yourself for an extended period of time.
Step 7 – Schedule your closing where you will put your down payments, purchase homeowners insurance, pay closing costs, setup escrow and so much more. Your realtor should be able to help you with the whole closing process.
Step 8 – Move in and enjoy your new home.