A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Home
Purchasing a home for the first time can be exciting, scary, overwhelming, happy… essentially an emotional roller coaster. Knowing what to expect is helpful, so we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to buying a home to help you along the way.
Guide to Homebuying #1 – Price Range
First things first, you’ll want to decide a price range for your new home.
- You’ll need to pull your credit score. If you want a low interest rate, you’ll want a high credit score. You can get free credit reports from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax yearly. Once you’ve looked at these you can determine if you need to work on building up your credit score, taking care of any discrepancies, or moving on to the other stuff.
- You’ll want to look at your monthly bills, your household income, etc. to determine how much you feel comfortable paying for your home (and how much you can afford). While you’re deciding your house-buying budget, it’s a great time to get a pre-approval for your mortgage. A reputable lender can help you through the process, so you are credit worthy as soon as you start shopping.
- As you’re calculating credit and budget, you’ll also want to figure out a down payment. How much you have saved for a down payment will greatly affect that monthly mortgage number.
Guide to Buying a Home #2 – Location!
At the same time as you’re getting your budget in order, you’ll also want to think about where you want to live. You’ve heard the saying: “Location, Location, Location.”
- Think about where you work and the commute you are willing to endure to get to work in the morning. Do you need access to public transportation? Do you know that you don’t want to drive on a high-traffic highway?
- If you have kids or plan to have kids, you can research schools and parks to find areas that would make it enjoyable for your family.
- Pay close attention to entertainment and activities in the area you’re searching. If golfing is important to you, you may want to find a home near golf courses. Instead, you may want a home that is in walking distance to restaurants. Or maybe one that is far away from neighbors. Location will help you find the right fit.
Tip #3 – Choose Your Real Estate Agent
You have your budget. You’ve chosen a location. And maybe you have even found some homes you like online. Now it’s time to get a Real Estate Agent! Their expertise is invaluable when it comes to making a decision as important as buying your first home.
Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Home Tip #4 – Tour Homes
It’s time to tour some houses! Remember to have a list of must-haves vs. wants so you don’t get too overwhelmed and forget what you actually need in your home.
Tip #5 – Make an Offer
When you find the house you want to call your home, you’ll want to make an offer. Your Agent will help you do this and will also discuss things like closing date, contingencies and more. If you’re requesting an Inspection, this will happen next.
Once the inspection is good, your lender will want to do an appraisal to determine the house is worth what you are agreeing to pay for it. There may be some final paperwork for the mortgage, too.
Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Home Final Tip – Closing Time!
The last step is to head to closing, which is also known as settlement. You will sign all the papers needed to make the house yours. This is usually 30-45 days after the offer if there are no special circumstances. No matter how excited you are, this is NOT the time to add anything to your debt, like furniture or a new car. This can affect your mortgage and the ability to close.
Lastly, take those keys and enjoy your new home!