How to Buy a House
Buying a home, especially if it’s your first home, can easily feel like an overwhelming process. Most people will not make a larger purchase than a house in their lifetimes and there are hundreds of details to comb through and decisions to make before the keys get handed over. There’s so much to learn when purchasing property! Here are some key steps to take when buying a house that might just make the process a little less worrisome for some – especially those with no prior experience.
Preparing to Buy a Home
Like most large endeavors, preparation is key. The more you know upfront, the less likely you’ll be to run into scary surprises later on. The first step to take in buying a house is to prepare your mind and bank account before going on the hunt. Here are some ways to do that:
● Mentally and emotionally recognize that the home buying process can feel lengthy – but for good reason.
There are a lot of important expenses that should be weighed early on and understanding these will have you in your dream house quicker than waiting to be caught off guard. The process can feel lengthy, but it’s wise to pay attention to the details and not rush too quickly!
● Start saving money now.
Start saving for a down payment well before you’re able to purchase. If you buy right now, with most traditional mortgages, this could be as low as 3% of the purchase price of the home.
Investigate which mortgage options are available to you. If you’re a first time buyer, research different incentives offered in the current market. Understanding the basics of mortgages, like the difference between a 15-year fixed rate mortgage vs. a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, will help you determine the best option for you.
You’ll also need to have finances prepared to spend on closing costs. Closing costs are usually between 2-5% of the loan amount. What’s included in closing costs? Homeowners insurance, appraisal fees, title fees, property taxes and more are all part of the closing cost package.
● Check your credit.
Most lenders will require buyers to have a history of paying bills on time and your credit score will affect the amount of interest you’ll be required to pay on a given loan. If you find your credit isn’t in good condition, research proven methods for restoring and strengthening credit so you can get the most out of your purchase.
● Get a pre-approval letter.
If you have healthy credit, shopping around for a local lender you can trust and getting a pre-approval letter helps get your offer accepted and will speed up the process once you’re ready to purchase. In a competitive market, this is especially beneficial. A pre-approval letter is essentially a lender’s written offer to lend a specific amount under certain conditions and gives sellers some assurance the translation will be finalized.
Decide What Kind of Home Suits Your Needs
Do you absolutely need a home that’s walking distance from a great elementary school? Perhaps you’re looking for a location near the water. Do you need a yard for your dogs to enjoy and burn energy?
● List the “must have” features you need your home to have.
What are your “non-negotiables?” Do you need 3 bedrooms and a master suit? Would you like 2.5 bathrooms or is 1.5 enough? How about a room for a work-from-home office? Or a two car garage? Writing these out will help eliminate homes you won’t need to waste time exploring. It will also help your real estate agent clearly understand what you’re looking for.
● List the “nice to have” features you’d like your home to have.
What are the home features you don’t need, but simply would be nice to have? These are the aspects of a house that won’t necessarily make you cross it off your list, but would make your living situation easier or more enjoyable.
Find a Qualified Real Estate Agent
A great real estate agent will consider your situation and exhaust every resource available to present you with great buying options. They’ll walk you through each step of the home buying process and ensure you have all your questions accurately answered. Finding the right professional will have a significant impact on your experience and eventually the home you purchase. Find someone who is a good communicator, someone with a great reputation who knows the area and overall, someone with whom you’d like to grab a cup of coffee!
Once you’ve done the work of preparing to purchase, your real estate agent can continue to assist you in landing in the home of your dreams.
If you’re searching for a real estate agent you can trust, contact one of Brevard’s best, Misty Morrison at 321-209-1523.