I purchased my 1st home in 2004 and learned a lot in the process. Since 2013 I have helped hundreds of potential buyers with their 1st home purchase. Below are the simple steps to the home buying process.
Don't miss out on your dream home but don't pay too much. It's a balancing act and the right decision can make all the difference
How long does it take to buy a new home?
1st decide on how soon you would like the move. If you are currently leasing or renting make sure to read your rental agreement so you know if there is a penalty if leaving early. Buying a new home can occur in less than 30 days if needed. However, I have found from experience that you are likely looking at a 60-90 day process on average from decision to purchase to new keys in hand
PreApproval - Underwriting review of income, credit, debt, and assets. Conditional approval for financing prior to home search.
Home Browsing - Use sites such as realtor.com , Redfin.com , Trulia.com . Many listing agents will not show properties on all of these sites so check multiple sites and check often. It's important to get an idea of the housing market and availability in your desired area.
Pick your Realtor - Interview a few before deciding which one is the best match for you. I would recommend they are familiar with the area you are searching. Also, since they earn commission once the home closes make sure they have your best interest at heart. The realtor you chose can be the difference in you finding the right home, making the best offer for you, and getting your offer accepted. I have seen contracts where realtors maxed out on an offer just to get it accepted. Other times where buyers miss out because the offer was not strong enough. Don't miss out on your dream home and don't pay too much. It's a balancing act and the right realtor can make all the difference
Search for Home - Before looking at homes make a list of "must haves" and "would likes". It should start with the purchase price range and expand to include things like a garage, ranch, school district etc. This will make it easier for your Realtor to find a home but find the right home.
Under Contract - Congratulations your offer is accepted! If you have already been pre-approved then it should make things a little bit easier. There are representatives from 3 entities you will be working with to get you into your new home
Realtor- Earnest Money Deposit, Home Inspections, Contract deadlines
Title Company - Schedule Closing Apt., Prepare Closing Documents, Survey (if needed), etc
Lender - Financing Documentation, Appraisal, Final Financing Documentation
Closing - Sign Closing Documentation with Title Company and bringing final Cash to close (down payment + closing cost & any fees). Congratulations you now own you #newhome!
So, where do you want to live?
Before looking at homes make a list of "must haves" and "would likes". It should start with the purchase price range and expand to include things like a garage, ranch, school district etc. This will make it easier for you to focus in on your dream home. Keep in mind that most homes are not perfect even if it's a new home construction but it can be perfect for your situation. Below are some of the items to include in your list:
Investment Potential - If you are able to find a home on the market for awhile or in need of cosmetic upgrades you can usually get a great deal. Meaning purchasing at a lower price with potential for increase in value after cosmetic adjustment or minor renovations. I have advised many clients to put less down then intended so they have funds after closing for the desired improvements
School District - Even if you do not have kids in school, districts play a major part in home values. More desirable schools will usually yield higher price points for a similar home in a less desirable school area. Also, pay attention to the elementary, middle, and high schools in the area you are considering. My 1st home was in an area we expected to be in until middle school. This allowed us to choose the best home for 7 years before selling an moving to the another area for middle school. The point is to think about when you buy your home and also when you may want to sell it in the future.
Square Footage - Obviously square footage, bedroom and bathroom count are important items to consider. Further it is generally less expensive and easier to remodel square footage then to try and add square footage.
Equity Position - Are home values going up? Peaking? Stabilizing or dropping? Your realtor should be able to help you do a #marketananalysis . You want you home to be a great home and a great investment.
Accessibility - Do you want to commute? How close is shopping? How long will it take you to get to regular activities? Sometimes it makes sense to drive a little further out to meet all of your needs in a home. Other times it makes sense to sacrifice a "would like" for easier access to work, restraurants, shopping, church, etc.