Buying a home can feel exhilarating and daunting all at once. To help you keep your anxiety at bay, we’ve put together a quick list to make the home-buying process as painless as possible.
Step 1: The often-uncomfortable B-word — Budget
Before you attempt to make any big decisions or purchases you should sit down and get real with your budget. What budget, you might say. Do yourself a solid and track your expenses and income for a good three months. This will give you a pretty clear picture of what you could feasibly afford each month. Knowing your budget may help you think twice about how that monthly payment is going to impact your ability to maintain your current lifestyle and habits.
Step 2: Get pre-approved
It’s a competitive market these days, and if you want a seller to take you or your offer seriously, you’d better come armed with a pre-approval. The last thing you want is to find the home of your dreams and have it swept out from under you by someone who was more prepared. We’ll explain the different mortgage options that may be available for you and help you get your pre-approval underway without any headaches.
Step 3: Figure out your must-haves and wish list items
Maybe you’ve been dreaming about the perfect place forever and can rattle off exactly what you’re looking for, or maybe you know exactly what you don’t want, and that will help you narrow in on your list. Think about the non-negotiables, if any, and get ready to share your must-haves and wish list items with a real estate agent. Remember to be realistic about what is available in your price range.
Step 4: Find your wingman (or wing woman)
You may be tempted to do the legwork yourself, but finding a reputable real estate agent you can partner with will save you a ton of time and headaches. Got a friend, or a friend of a friend that recently bought a home? Hit them up about their experience! Talk to a few agents in your area, don’t be afraid to ask for references, and go with your gut. You want someone who will work with your best interests in mind, and truly understand what you’re looking for in a home (and help you stay within your budget).
Step 5: Let the games begin — time to make your offer
You’ve found “the one” and are ready to make an offer. This is another area of your agent’s expertise that is worth its weight in gold. They can help you craft the right offer and if necessary, negotiate on your behalf to get you one step closer to having those keys in your hand.
Step 6: Bring in the professionals
Whether the home you’re looking at is brand new or has experienced a little life, hiring a thorough home inspector is a must. They can help prevent any unwanted surprises down the road and alert you to anything that may need to come into play with your offer negotiations. Don’t be tempted to skip it and save a few bucks, you don’t want to end up in some HGTV nightmare.
Step 7: Close the deal
Prepare your writing hand, you’ve got a workout ahead of you! Lean on your FSB lender and real estate agent to make sure you understand everything you’re signing during the closing process. You’re this close to having keys in hand and being able to walk into your very own home!
Whenever you are ready to take the leap into homeownership our Home Loan Experts are here to help! Never any sales pitches, or uncomfortable meetings, just real answers to your questions.