If you are ready to make the big move that gets you into a new home, keep in mind that finding and buying a home doesn't happen overnight. To help you understand how the process should work, read on for a guide to starting down the path to homeownership.
Know How Much To Spend
Many buyers start off with high expectations of being approved for mortgages that are inaccurate. You can speak to a local lender and have them do some calculations based on your income, debts, and down payment. That results in what is called a pre-approval.
Get Professional Help
When you bring a real estate agent into your search, you are getting quite a bargain. You won't have to pay a thing to have an agent help you locate a home within your price range and that meets as many of your wish list features as possible. Once you find a home, they can help you know how much you should offer and then stand by your side as the home process comes to a close.
Tour Some Homes
Looking at houses can be fun but don't get too relaxed. Make the most of your time at a home by taking lots of photos and making notes. Real estate agents are on duty to answer your questions so take advantage of their knowledge.
Make a Purchase Offer
This is a big step because if the seller accepts the offer, you are now well on your way to becoming a homeowner. While your agent can clue you in on the popularity of the home (how many others have put in offers, for example) they won't tell you much about what they are offering. They can, however, give you advice on what price might be most readily accepted.
Apply for Lending
Expect a long and thorough application and vetting process before your loan is approved. Be prepared to show proof of income, employment, and more. The time after you apply until you are approved is known as underwriting. Be sure not to apply for more credit, change jobs, remove money from your savings account, or make any large purchases during this time.
Do Due Diligence
This term refers to a number of important tasks to be accomplished between the offer acceptance and the closing. That usually includes scheduling a home inspection and professional appraisal, purchasing homeowners' insurance, having a title search conducted, and more.
All of the above work pays off at the closing. It mostly involves signing a lot of papers and soon you will have the keys in hand to your new home. To find out more or start looking at single-family homes in your area, speak to a real estate agent.