It’s important to take a closer look at why you need to buy a home in the first place. Is it because you no longer want to pay rent? Are you looking for a larger home for your growing family? Are you searching for an investment property?
Simply knowing the reason behind your decision to buy a new home will help you select the right property for your needs.
1. Choosing A Real Estate Agent
While it’s possible to buy a home without representation, working with an experienced real estate agent will make things easier and more convenient. Their job is to help you maximize your opportunities as a buyer by using their expertise in the local market, access to resources, and negotiating skills so you can get the perfect home that matches your needs, preferences, and budget.
2. Determine How Much You Can Afford
Before you even start looking at homes, it’s important to take a look at your finances. One of the best ways to determine how much you can afford is to get in touch with a mortgage professional. He or she will factor in your income, debts, current monthly expenses, how much down payment you need, and other key information to calculate what you can afford to pay every month, and provide you with a price range that’s ideal for your budget.
3. Check Your Credit
Taking care of any credit problems ahead of time is always a good idea. Paying attention to your credit status is a key part in any home buying strategy, as lenders will scrutinize your monthly expenses and your income when you apply for a mortgage. Any outstanding debts and obligations you may have will reduce the amount of cash you could spend on a home.
4. Qualify for a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a good idea before you start looking for a home. Obtaining pre-approval from a mortgage lender will let you know how much you can afford, and shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer.
5. Find a Home That Matches Your Needs
Think about what you want to have in a home. Make a list of must-have features, and features you’d like to have, but aren’t really necessary. Consult this list when you look at homes online or with your agent, so you can see which ones have the most number of features you need.
6. Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a home you’d like to buy, ask your agent to draw up an “Offer to Purchase,” which will be presented to the seller. This is a legal document that specifies the price, down payment, financing arrangements, and other terms and conditions. Your agent will also do a home evaluation on the property you’re interested in, so you don’t spend above market value for it.
7. Get a Home Inspection
Getting a professional home inspection is a smart thing to do before you complete a purchase. Consult your agent and find out whether they can recommend a qualified professional who can conduct a home inspection and provide you with a detailed report.
8. Get Your Mortgage Approved
Once your offer is accepted, your agent will submit your application together with a copy of the signed Offer to Purchase and the necessary financial information to the mortgage lender. The lender will review the application and conduct a valuation of the property you’re planning to purchase.
9. Prepare for Closing
Get in touch with utility companies in your area and start establishing necessary services like electricity, water, and gas under your name. Arrange for everything to be up and running on the day of closing, so you won’t encounter interruptions in service. Try to set everything up a few weeks in advance, as most utility companies require credit checks, deposits, and an advanced notice.
10. Plan Your Move
You have the option to hire movers or move everything by yourself. Most people decide to move by themselves to save money. Moving by yourself also gives you more control over the process, as you get to decide when and how all of your possessions will be handled and moved. Hiring a professional mover on the other hand, offers more convenience. You won’t need to worry about packing, renting a truck, and getting tired from all of the heavy lifting.
Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so try to figure out which one’s best for you.
11. Stay Organized During Moving Day
It can be difficult to stay on top of everything during moving day, so remember to stay organized. Set aside essential items that you will need when you arrive in your new home, and put them inside clearly marked boxes. Tell your mover that these boxes should be the first ones unloaded, so they don’t put them in storage. If you have kids, take the time to pack a bag filled with items like toys, snacks, and some things they’ll want to have with them once you reach your new home.