Contrary to popular belief, shopping for houses is not the first step in buying a home. In fact, the house-hunt is among the final steps in real estate transactions. Before you set your heart on the house of your dreams, prepare yourself for the journey into homeownership by following these six steps.
About your Credit
Unless you’ve got resources to pay cash for your property, you’ll need to get a home mortgage loan. However, before you get a home mortgage loan, you’ll need a healthy credit score.
Therefore, step one of home ownership is to eliminate any derogatory statements on your credit report. During this phase, avoid making any significant purchases that could ding your credit. You’d be surprised at how many would-be buyers miss out on their opportunity because they made large purchases such as cars before applying for their home mortgage loan. Lenders qualify buyers in part by determining the debt to income ratio.
Even with a home mortgage loan, you’ll still need a healthy chunk of change to cover your down payment, earnest deposit, and closing costs. Closing costs include the inspection, appraisal, agent commissions, escrow agent, lending fees, and administrative processes such as transferring the title. You can estimate closing costs at around 1-8 % of the home’s value.
Step two, then, is to prepare your nest-egg for property investment. Remember that you’ll also have to pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and possibly association fees, depending on the location of the home you’re buying.
Get Prequalified and Preapproved for credit
Step three is to get pre-approved for your home mortgage loan. If you wait until after you’ve found your dream house, you may find yourself in the throws of despair when another pre-qualified buyer swoops in to snag your prize before your lender processes your loan application. Pre-approval establishes you as a serious buyer and gives you an edge against potential buyers who’ve not yet secured their loan. A pre-approved mortgage loan also sets a clear budget for your home purchase and can help you refine your wish list accordingly.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Step four is to find the right real estate agent. Finding the right real estate agent involves more than a quick Google search for agents in your area. Don’t be afraid to interview agents to find the right match. Your agent should be an expert in the types of properties you’re considering, as well as being familiar with the neighborhoods in which you’d like to live.
Start Shoppig for your Home
Once you’ve prepared your credit, saved accordingly, obtained pre-approval for a home mortgage loan, and paired up with the right real estate agent, it’s time for step five. Step five is when you get to engage in the fun part – house shopping! The tricky part to exploring real estate possibilities, aside from a realistic wish list to match your budget, is keeping your heart out of the equation. You’re likely not the only buyer interested in a particular property. Multiple offers could lead to a bidding war. There’s no guarantee you’ll get a house just because you put in an offer. Try not to become emotionally attached to a property until your transaction reaches the closing table.
Get a Home Inspection
Step six can also be tricky. Before you seal the deal, the house you’re attempting to purchase must first undergo an inspection to make sure the structure is in good standing as well as an appraisal to verify the property’s value. The lenders want to know the house is worth what you’re borrowing. During this phase of your home-buying journey, the contract is still up for negotiation. If the inspection or appraisal reveal problems, you have the right to ask for a lower price to allow for repairs or to ask the seller to repair any damage or faulty systems before closing.
A little bit of foresight and advanced planning can improve the odds for a positive home buying experience. Prepare your credit first. Second, save accordingly. Third, obtain pre-approval for your home mortgage loan. Fourth, find a qualified agent who fits your needs. Five, be realistic about your wish list while house-hunting, and don’t attach emotionally to a property before closing, even if you put in a good offer. Six, be patient during the inspection, appraisal, and clerical processes.
Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give VS International Properties a call today at 407-513-4722 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.