As a homebuyer, there are eight steps to the purchasing process that you need to be aware of and be prepared for:
1. Decide whether you actually want to buy in the first place. For most people, buying a home is the largest, most important investment they’ll ever make. There’s never really a wrong time to buy a home, and you don’t need to know everything there is to know about real estate because you can hire an agent to help you along the way, which brings us to our next step.
2. Hire an agent. There are thousands of agents out there, so you need to make sure the agent you hire will take care of you. You need to be able to connect with them and feel like you trust them. They’ll be able to provide you with a market analysis and other information to empower you to make the right decision for yourself. Remember, they’re the navigator, not the driver.
3. Secure financing. Whether you’re a cash buyer or using financing, you’ll need to provide proof of funds when you make an offer. If you can’t show proof of funds, your offer won’t be accepted. If you’re a cash buyer, that’s great. If you’re using financing, start talking with a few lenders in your area.
4. Find your home. For this step, I recommend you make a “wants” and a “needs” list. Your “needs” list encompasses everything you’ll need in to have in your home. Your “wants” list encompasses everything you’d like to have in your home. Ideally, you should be able to check off everything in your “needs” list and most items in your “wants” list.
5. Make an offer. This step can be tricky, but that’s why you have your real estate agent to help you out. When you make an offer, there are are many things to take into consideration, but the most important thing to do is to get a market analysis of the home. This will help you determine its true value. It’s also important to know that price isn’t the only thing sellers value. The terms of your offer can be just as important, and your agent should be able to find out what terms the seller favors.
6. Do your inspections and appraisals. Whether you’re buying a resale home or a new construction home, always get an inspection for it first. This will give you an idea of the home’s condition and help you decide whether to make any repairs first or buy the home as-is. During the appraisal, the appraiser will identify the actual value of the home.
7. Close on the home. During this step, it’s crucial that you not get reckless with your spending and buy new furniture or a new car. Wait until after the closing to do that stuff, otherwise you could jeopardize your loan. It’s also important that you stay in touch with your agent and lender to make sure nobody’s missing any documents. Again, a good agent should be able to guide you through this part of the process without missing a beat.
8. Get a home warranty and homeowners insurance. If you’re buying a resale home, a warranty will protect your appliances. If you’re using financing, most lenders will require that you get homeowners insurance. If you’re buying with cash, I recommend that you get homeowners insurance even if you think your home may not need it.
If you have any more questions about the home buying process or you have any other real estate needs I can assist you with, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help you.