Buying a house is likely the biggest purchase and investment you will make in your lifetime. It involves a great deal of research, vigilance, and, planning to purchase a place that is both likable and affordable. If you are thinking about buying a new house, the following steps will help make your search and decision-making a lot easier.
- Checking Credit History & Score
First and foremost, you will need to take your credit report into account, because you most likely will need to get a mortgage. To ensure that you qualify to apply for a mortgage, your credit history must be in good standing. Your mortgage broker or banker will then analyze your income, savings, and investments to check the amount of how much you will be approved to purchase your new home.
- Determining Budget
Once you know how much mortgage you qualify for, you need to decide how much you are willing to spend. In other words, even if you can get a larger mortgage it does not necessarily mean you should use the whole loan amount. You need to take into account other monthly/yearly expenses and plans while making such decisions. It is always better to not burden yourself with heavy mortgages.
- Use a Real Estate Agent
When you have an idea about your budget, you can start your search by hiring a real estate agent. The importance of a reliable realtor cannot be overstated. It is their knowledge, experience, and skills that will get you the best possible deal. You don’t have to worry about their charges, as they are usually compensated from the commission that is paid by the house seller.
- Begin the Search
Together with your real estate agent, start touring the houses the price range of which fall within your budget. You must have a checklist of the must-haves and deal-breakers when visiting houses. Also, remember to take notes, pictures, and videos so that you can analyze, compare and discuss later as well. Don’t overlook the details of the house such as electrical system, plumbing, security and facilities of the area, etc. It is likely that by touring numerous houses you will discover some new things to like or dislike which will further refine your search.
- Make an Offer
After you have found a suitable house, the next step is to work with your agent to craft an offer. The realtor’s market knowledge, comparative analysis of homes in the neighborhood, and negotiation skills come into play. You make the most attractive offer, contingent on a home inspection, and then wait to get a response from the seller.
- Hire A Home Inspector
If there is a positive response from the seller of the house, be sure to have a home inspector look over the home to ensure there aren’t unseen defects that you may have overlooked. The home inspector will create a report for you after a comprehensive search of the property. Based on this, you can renegotiate or even withdraw the deal. You can also ask the seller to fix certain defects before signing the sale contract. Besides a home inspector, you can also have different trade groups such as electricians and plumbers come in and check for any defects in the systems. They can provide additional information about the condition of the home and equipment.
- Select Suitable Mortgage Plan
There is a wide range of loan programs offered by lenders. An experienced mortgage banker will guide you in selecting your mortgage plan based on your priorities. Factors such as whether or not you want to make minimum monthly payments or how soon you may want to move into a new house are considered when choosing a mortgage.
- Have the Home Appraised
An appraisal is required to provide an independent estimate of the house and property. The appraisal is done by a third party hired by the lender. The purpose is for the bank to determine that they have not overinvested and that they are not putting up more money than the house is worth.
- Get Insurance & Establishing Utilities
Inform your insurance agent about your new home. A lender would require homeowners insurance. If you don’t opt for a mortgage, insurance is a crucial part of protecting your property and investment. You should also provide your move-in date to utility companies so that services such as power, gas, and cable are established and working in time for when you move in.
- Close on the Home and Complete Post Closing Tasks
When all the paperwork is complete and you’ve signed on the dotted line, you will get the keys to your new house. Once you do, don’t forget the minor post-closing tasks such as changing locks, meeting neighbors, changing address with the United States Postal Service, and informing your employers and other important people about your new address.