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Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It’s an investment and a huge responsibility. But with the right tools and knowledge going into the process, you can set yourself up for success and eventually land the home of your dreams! Everyone’s journey is different, but most follow a similar roadmap.
Checking your credit is an important first step when buying a home. Your credit score determines what kind of rate you may get, or even whether or not a lender will give you a mortgage. We recommend that you get this step out of the way first. Nothing is worse than finding your ideal home, and then learning that you may not be able to afford it or that you’re not an ideal candidate for a lender. Working with a lender may also demonstrate you have the ability to buy a larger, more expensive home which better suits your needs. That brings us to our next step.
Determining how much house you can afford to buy may surprise you. Some people discover that they can actually stretch their dollar per square foot a little further than they thought. Others learn that they may need to reevaluate their must-haves list. A quick way to determine how much house you can afford is by researching the housing market in your area and by using a mortgage affordability calculator. Not only will it give you a general idea of what you can afford, but it will also give you a better understanding of what neighborhoods you should be looking in. Additionally, you can speak to a lender or financial advisor. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Ultimately you are best served to review your financial situation with a lender as there may be unique conditions with your situation which will not be identified using the mortgage calculator.
Picking a good real estate agent goes a long way in making your home buying process smoother. An experienced REALTOR(r) will know the fine details of property buying and can advise, listen to, answer questions for, and generally help you navigate the entire ordeal. These days, picking an agent can be as easy as asking friends and family for a referral, reading online reviews, and talking with a few agents to see who is the right fit for you. Reach out to a few agents and discuss what you’re looking for. They will welcome the opportunity to help a potential new client! It is important that you feel comfortable communicating openly and clearly with your agent. It is also important you sense their integrity. You need to trust your agent without condition.
Getting preapproved shows potential sellers that you’re serious about buying a home and are capable of doing so. Buying a house can take quite a while, and while agents will be happy to show you any house you want to see. Sellers are more likely to accept an offer if they know you already have a lender lined up, ready to provide financing. Just because you get preapproved doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to take the loan they’re offering you, but it gives sellers the confidence to agree to negotiate with you. Be prepared to undergo a credit check, provide pay stubs, and answer questions about employment. We promise it will pay off in the end! And remember, any major purchases which you make during the process may have a negative impact on your ability to obtain the financing you need when you find your home.
This can be a couple of steps rolled into one, because it is! Once you’re preapproved, your agent will begin showing you houses. When you find one you’re interested in, your agent will help you prepare an offer and, hopefully, negotiate successfully so that you and the seller will enter into a contract. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the conditions of your offer and the seller’s wishes. When the contract is in place, there’s a specified time period for you to make inspections and the sellers to make repairs. Finally, the closing happens. At closing, all of the appropriate paperwork is signed and money is exchanged. After that, the house is yours! All that’s left to do is to get the keys and a moving truck.
LEARN MORE: FAQs for First Time Home Buyers
At Marx-Bensdorf, we know being a first-time home buyer can be one of the most nerve-wracking and exciting experiences of your life. That’s why we’re here to help guide you through the process. Find out why our clients choose us!