Feb. 13, 2020
For those of you currently renting, you may have wondered if buying a house would be a better option for you. Having never purchased a home, how do you even start the process?
Who do you contact? What does your Realtor need to know? What is involved with getting a loan? Well, we're going to tackle the issue of house hunting for the first time.
Get an Agent - the next two steps are also really important and often happen at the same time as getting a Realtor. We like to suggest getting an Agent first. Real Estate Agents are here to help with every step of your home-buying journey. This includes answering questions about what you're looking for, how much you'd like to spend, and recommendations on where to get loan quotes. Getting started with an agent is super simple. Just call or email one and let them know that you're interested in purchasing a home. They will ask you some simple questions to get an idea about what location you're interested in, the size of a home you want, and any amenities that interest you. You might have a very specific idea or not. Both are fine to begin the process.
Know Your Budget - most likely, you're already paying something for housing. Think about the amount you're currently spending and determine if that is a good amount for your life goals. Maybe it's too much and you know that you'd like your monthly payment to be less. This is a good first step in knowing your comfort level.
Get Pre-Approved - pre-approval gives you and your agent a solid number to start your home search. There are many times that your pre-approval amount comes in at a number higher than what you're comfortable paying. Communicate this information to your Realtor. It is better if you're both on the same page regarding your budget. Also, it's hard to fall in love with a home knowing it is more than you want to pay.
Start Looking - now that you have the top amount you want to spend, you can start looking for a home! Communicate the items that are the most important to you. If you want a 2-car garage, tell your Agent. There is no point in looking at homes without if you won't be interested in them. Be patient in this process. Your perfect home might not be on the market currently. Don't just put an offer in on any home. Wait until it feels right. Adjusting your "must-haves" is also okay. If you've looked at a bunch of homes and you don't think that 2-car garage is as important anymore, tell your Agent. They can gather a list of additional homes that match your other criteria and you might find what you've been searching for.
Put in an Offer - finally found the perfect home? This is where your Agent will shine! Realtors know the market. They will know if a home is a hot commodity and you need to come with your best offer, or if it has been sitting a while and you can place a bid for an amount under asking price. Also, let them know if you want items included from the house. Washers, Dryers, Couches, etc. can all be added into an offer, but it might not be accepted as is.
Counter Offers - be prepared for a counter. The purchase of a home can sometimes be a dance. You ask for all the things you want upfront. The seller then weighs what you're asking for and what they want to give up. Their counteroffer might be acceptable to you and you can accept, or it might need a little tweaking.
Loans - there are many loan options out there, and most of them no longer need 20% down. Some programs require zero, 3 or 5% down. There are programs for first-time homebuyers, or homebuyers looking to purchase in rural areas. Your agent can point you in the direction of reputable lenders. These lenders will help you determine what loan is right for your unique situation.
Gather Financial Info for Mortgage - you've got a lender, and you know what loan you're applying for. Now it's time for all the financial paperwork. Your lender will give you a list of items they need. This list will include your income and employment documents, loans or other debts you're paying (car loans, student loans, etc.), and retirement accounts to name a few.
Wait for the Loan - don't make any big purchases while you're waiting for your loan to be approved. A new car, furniture, or anything that disrupts the balance of how much you make vs. what you owe could jeopardize your home loan status. Save all large expenditures until after your loan is approved and closed.
Move-In - congratulations! You just bought a new home and you can move in! Paint it how you choose, hammer holes into the wall to hang your photos and get that new pet - this place is all yours. If you need any help with small repairs after you buy the home, contact your Agent. They will have a list of contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc. that they trust and can recommend to you.
Real Estate Agents are here to help you when you're house hunting for the first time, and beyond purchasing a home! All it takes to start the process is a call or email letting them know you're interested in buying a home. So, what are you waiting for? Contact Robinson and Co. Realty today.