5 Basic Steps to Follow When Buying Your Home
1. Decide How You Are Going to Pay For It. If you are paying cash for your home, you will need to make sure that your funds will be liquid in time for the closing date. If your money is tied up in a retirement account or in a settlement, you will need to make sure that the funds will be accessible in time. If you are paying with a mortgage, you will need to talk with a mortgage lender, or your bank, to see if you qualify for a loan and what kind. Your income, employment history and credit will have to be verified. You also will need to know what your down payment will be and your closing costs. There are also other out of pocket expenses such as private home inspection, appraisal and home owner's insurance. You will also want to know your potential monthly mortgage payment and be comfortable with that. Is it manageable with your current lifestyle? You don't want to lose your home to foreclosure right after buying it.
2. Decide Where You Want to Live. There are things to think about when choosing your location. Is the distance from your work, the school system for your children, the closeness to other family members (or not haha!) things that need to be considered? You may also want to research the crime in the area by talking with the local police department and the neighbors. The neighbors are usually more than willing to share the neighborhood gossip! It's also a good option to drive the area at different times of the day and week if possible. If you fail to consider these things in the beginning, you may be unhappy when you move into your new home. Do your homework ahead of time.
3. Decide What Type of Home You Want. You should have your wish list of must haves as well as some items that you are willing to negotiate on. Sometimes having too many restrictions will limit your search while looking for a home. Working with a real estate agent and/or traveling to open houses should also help in your search. Some buyers believe that working with the seller's agent will benefit them. The listing agent signs a contract with the seller to work on their behalf. They can't work in the buyer's best interest as well. You may be hurting yourself.
4. Time Is Of The Essence. If you find a home that you like, don't hesitate! Someone else may be interested too! If someone can't decide on writing an offer, I ask, "If someone else bought this home, and you couldn't get it, would you be disappointed?" If the answer is yes, then you better write an offer! You can always do your due diligence with your research during your inspection period! The goal is to get your offer accepted first!
5. Pack Your Patience. Plan on having some snags along the way. Nothing is final until everything is signed, and the closer says, "congratulations on your home purchase!" There are many things that are really out of your control that will take place from the accepted offer to the closing table. The best advice is to just stay in constant communication with your lender, your real estate agent and anyone else that is working with your transaction. Everyone involved generally wants to get to the closing table as well! Buying a home is one of life's top stresses, but it can be so worth it in the long run! Good luck!