HOMEBUYING 101: HOW TO BUY A HOUSE
The 10 Steps to Buying a Home
1. Find a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage
2. Find a realtor (Look no further - you've got us!)
3. Make a list of your "must haves", "would likes", and "dealbreakers" for your new house and start looking
4. Schedule showings for homes you like the most
5. Make an offer when you find "the one" and negotiate until agreeable
6. Get a home inspection and negotiate repairs
7. Secure financing by applying for your loan and providing lender with necessary documentation
8. Appraisal - your lender must determine home is worth what you agreed to pay/borrow
9. Title Search - a title company will check to make sure there are no liens or issues with the deed of the house
10. Close on your new home!
More Information & Where to Start
Your first step is to start with talking to a mortgage loan officer (or 3). You want to see what they qualify you for, what your timeline is, if you need to address any credit issues, if they have down payment grants available, interest rates, closing costs, and monthly payments. That will help you determine what budget you should look in. A good lender is critical to making sure you close on time. We have recommendations of lenders we've had good experiences working with, if you need any - just ask!
Next, you'll want to talk to a realtor about your budget and any other criteria you're looking for. They should set you up on a search in the Multiple Listing Service, which is the most all-encompassing search. This is important to note, because some homes don't make it out to Zillow and other sites, or by the time they do, they're already pending or sold. The MLS will send you alerts in real time as homes come on the market, so you'll be one of the first to know.
Now, keep in mind, good homes go pending pretty quickly in the current market, so once you're actively looking it's important to be quick to get in a house you love. For example, you should see it the day it's listed if it's new to the market. So make sure the lender and realtor you choose are quick and responsive, and let them know as soon as you see something you like.
Once you've found the home of your dreams, your realtor will help you write an offer, then negotiate it if the sellers counter. We always hope it will end up an accepted offer, and then you move to the pending process. At that point there are several more steps, like a formal loan application with your lender of choice, inspections, appraisal, title search, etc. We are here to guide you and offer advice through all of these steps and more, with the ultimate goal of closing on the home. This whole process typically takes 1-2 months to complete after your offer is accepted.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Home?
Commission - take this one off your list; you don't pay your realtor, the sellers do!
Home Inspection - typically $300-$500; this is paid directly to the inspector right after going under contract.
Down-Payment - this varies; many people assume it's going to be a whole lot of money, but with certain types of loans and down-payment assistance grants out there, it can be very affordable!
Closing Costs - this covers a lot of items: lender fees, points, title insurance, recording fees, etc.; we usually expect to see these add up to ~$3,500, but it is common for many buyers to ask the sellers to pay these costs in their offer.
Optional - cost of movers, moving truck rental, storage, new furniture, household supplies, paint, decor, etc.
Everyone's situation is different, and these will vary depending on yours. We have seen some of our buyers close on homes with as little as a couple thousand out of pocket! Talking to a lender will help you estimate what to expect for most of these items.
Buying a home is totally doable! Just pick the right people to guide you through it!