If it’s your first time purchasing a home you may wonder what to expect during the buying process. If you’ve purchased a home before, the process has many variables and may not be the same. There are 3 basic stages to this process:
1. Do your homework. When you know what you want, you’ll have an easier time finding it. Ask yourself where do you want to live? Drive around the neighborhoods and write down what inspires you about the homes that catch your attention. What do you want in a home? List the features of your ideal home, including the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen size and style. Also, note your ideal size, commute and proximity to schools or other amenities. What are your deal breakers? What features or characteristics do you want to avoid or would make you pass on a particular home?
Since buying a home is a process of elimination, not a process of selection, you may have to prioritize the items on your list to find the right home for your needs. Consider how much you’d be willing to give up for each item on the list. You might consider a home that has a smaller yard than you want if it’s closer to work and has great schools. You may not find a home that is 100% to your liking, so decide which features you are willing to negotiate on.
2. Get prequalified for a mortgage. This will help you determine how much house you can afford as your lender will use your financial information for this determination. Later on, when you reach the pre-approval stage, you’ll be asked to submit paperwork, including bank statements and your W2’s, to help your lender verify your finances and credit. Two things you want to consider before applying for a mortgage. Make sure your credit is in good shape and avoid making large purchases. It is tempting to shop for furniture and large items for your new place but wait until after the sale closes. The lender will be pulling your credit until the day of closing.
3. Start your home search. In addition to meeting with a professional to discuss your options, look online and drive through your desired neighborhoods to view homes on the market.
Lastly, if you have a home to sell, don’t do it alone. Although sellers may initially try to sell their home themselves, they soon realize they need the experience of a professional on their side to help them through the process.