So, you’ve decided to buy a home. Congratulations! Getting the keys to your dream home is a very rewarding and exciting experience you'll never forget.
Sometimes, however, it can get confusing and stressful. But that’s okay. That what we’re here for and that’s also why it’s so important to have a professional Realtor you can contact whenever you have a question or don’t understand something, rather than attempting the process without one. Realtors are true advocates for you. They’re familiar with the industry, they know all the ins and outs and what will be more beneficial for you in your specific situation.
Here you can find a basic guideline to buying a home with the major steps you’ll take along the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us or a realtor directly with any questions you may have. You can also browse through our search and see if you find any homes you like. You have the option to register and save specific homes that catch your eye.
Also, check out our board on Pinterest dedicated to Tips and Advice when buying a house. Whether you’re a first time home buyer or a seasoned pro, you may find something you didn’t know before.
First and foremost, this will take up a pretty good chunk of your time and effort so it’s a good idea to start researching early.
Step 1: Prepare
It’s a good idea to know the condition of the real estate market in your area before you start your search. You can use a free report we provide called Market Snap Shot. This report will update you every 30 days on housing trends in your area. It’s free to sign up and there’s no obligation. You can cancel anytime.
Step 2: Mortgage Preapproval & Budget
Next you’ll need to get preapproved for your mortgage. This is a very important second step because you’ll need to know how much you can afford and how much the bank will let you borrow before you actually start looking at homes. If you don’t already have a mortgage lender you prefer you can ask your Realtor for recommendations.
We recommend Adam Hughes with Legacy Mutual. He has helped several of our clients and even some of our agents. You can contact him at 210-999-5906.
The rule of thumb is to buy a home that’s no more than 3 times the amount of your annual income. That can vary based on how much of a down payment you plan on putting down and other debt you may have. The lender can help you figure out your budget based on this information and once they tell you how much they will let you borrow, you’ll know what price range of homes to look at.
Step 3: Find the Right Real Estate Agent
As previously mentioned, Realtors are crucial when buying or selling a home and finding one is easy. Their experience equips them with helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that the public doesn’t have access to. Their knowledge of the home buying process, their negotiating skills, and familiarity with the areas you’re interested in is extremely valuable.
Did you know that Realtors assist in negotiations well beyond just the sales price? The also assist in negotiating the following:
- Who will pay the title policy
- How much Earnest Money to put up
- Who will provide the survey
- Reimbursement for a Home ServicePlan
- Assistance from the seller to assist with your closing costs
- How much to pay for an Option Period and How Much will you pay
- Appliances to be included
- Who will provide the HOA Documents and pay for the Resale certificate
- The closing date
- Financing Terms
Step 4: House Hunting and Offers
Now that you have your budget you can start looking at homes in your price range. Make sure you have a list of deal breaker details that are important to you. It may also be helpful to take notes and pictures since you’ll be looking at several different homes and it can be hard to remember the specifics of each one.
Once you find the right home (it’s normal for this to take some time so it’s okay to be patient) work with your Realtor to come up with an offer based on other homes that have sold in the neighborhood. Don’t be surprised if they don’t accept your first offer and come back with a counter offer. This is normal. After you both agree on a price, it’ll be time to get ready for the inspection.
Step 5: Home Inspection
The very next thing you’ll need to do is get an inspection on your home. Your Realtor will assist in getting the inspection scheduled and set up. At this point, the home is under contract but if there are significant problems found during the inspection, you can still ‘back out’ or cancel the contract, possibly renegotiate the price, or ask for repairs to be completed.
You and the seller will both get a copy of the inspection report. Have a discussion with your Realtor if either of you notice anything that may be of concern or that you’d like the seller to repair. During the final walk through of the home, you’ll be able to confirm if your requests were fulfilled.
Step 6: Appraisal
After having the home inspected, it will need to be appraised. The appraisal serves a few important purposes. First, it will determine the market value of the home and that amount will be used to calculate how much the owner will be charged in property taxes.
Also, the appraised value is important to the lender because they need to make sure the value of the home is equal to, or more than, the amount you’re borrowing from them.
Step 7: Closing!
After the home is appraised and the lender is happy with the appraised amount, usually a title company will get all of the paperwork together and you can close on the home! It’s usually at this time that you’ll need to secure your Homeowners Insurance. If you’ve never had Homeowners Insurance, call your car insurance company. Chances are they offer Homeowners as well and get your policy set up right away.
When you close you’ll sign all the required paperwork and documentation to finalize the purchase of the home. Usually you will also get the keys to the house at this point and will be ready to move in! Congratulations!!