The Home Buying Process

Step 1: Hire Your Realtor

Your real estate professional will analyze your needs & wants in a home, guide you to the homes that fit your criteria, coordinate the work of other needed professionals, negotiate on your behalf, complete any necessary paperwork, and inform you of current market conditions. Know that above all else, great Realtors put their clients first.

Step 2: Your Budget & Getting Pre-Approved

Determine if buying a home is feasible for you with your current income. Ask your Realtor about how a mortgage professional can help you break down your costs, create a budget, and find a mortgage option that works for you. It is important to note that you should only accept monthly payments that YOU are comfortable with and not what you can ultimately afford.

Step 3: Determine Your Home Needs & Wants

Now that you’re pre-approved, you most likely have an idea of what you wish to spend on a home. Let your Realtor know of your desired price range as well as other criteria you would like in your future home. These could include: location, style of home (single family, townhome, condo, etc.), number of bedrooms & bathrooms, basement (finished or unfinished), year built, schools, amenities, and much more. Let your Realtor know what is absolutely necessary and what you prefer but can forgo. Remember, most people do not find EXACTLY what they want in their home search.

Step 4: Make An Offer

The three basic components of your purchase offer are price, terms, and conditions. Price is the dollar amount you are willing to pay for the property. This should also reflect the fair market value for the home you want to buy. Terms cover the other financial and timing factors that will be included in your offer. Conditions are clauses that let the buyer out of the deal if the house has a problem that didn’t exist or that you weren’t aware of when you went under contract. Specific conditions can be included in each offer in order to protect the buyer from purchasing a problematic home.

Step 5: The Home Inspection (optional)

Although optional, home inspections are crucial when buying a home. They are done mainly to determine if there any serious structural problems. Home inspectors will also evaluate the exterior of the home, test the furnace & air conditioner, any electrical systems, plumbing, fireplaces, and check the roof & attic. Every home inspection will turn up some problems as no home is perfect. It is up to the buyer to determine if these problems are significant enough to back out of the original agreement to purchase the home. The inspector will inform you if a problem is of serious or minor concern. Remember, every problem can be fixed and can be added as a condition before the home is purchased.

Step 6: Finalize The Agreement

Everything was agreed upon (price, terms, & conditions) and any major problems found during the home inspection (if any) have been remedied. It is now time to find a real estate attorney who can help you with your closing documents and perform the needed paperwork to finalize the deal.

Step 7: Close

You’ve closed and moved in, but now you’ll need to protect your investment for years to come. And you can do so by performing routine maintenance on your home’s systems, depending on their age and condition. A good rule of thumb is to watch for signs of leaks, damage, and wear. If you fix small problems early, you will save yourself from having to spend big money later. Enjoy your new home!

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