Buying your first home can feel rather daunting. While buying a home is a great investment for your present and future, it’s also a huge commitment. Did you know most mortgages take 15 to 30 years to pay off?
However, when you find the right home for you and your family, the decision becomes rather easy. All the various costs and sacrifices are worth the benefits.
If this is your first time buying a home, you may not know where to begin. How do you make sure you find the best house for you, your family, your lifestyle and your budget?
We’re here to help! Keep reading for nine simple steps to purchasing a new home.
- Assess Your Finances
First and foremost, you need to think about your financial security. Buying a new home comes with amazing benefits. However, you should never obtain those benefits by putting yourself under financial strain.
Take an in-depth look at your monthly finances. How much can you afford to pay each month on mortgage payments? Remember, homeownership comes with additional expenses, such as:
- Home maintenance and repairs ($1,000 to $3,000 a year)
- HOA fees (if applicable)
- Property taxes
- Utilities (gas, electric, water, waste removal)
- Services (internet, cable, phone lines)
Make sure you allocate space in your budget for these costs. Don’t max out your monthly budget on your mortgage and end up short-handed with other financial obligations and unforeseen costs.
- Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan
Knowing how much you can personally afford in your monthly budget is not the same as being eligible for a loan. Before you start the home shopping process, you need to get pre-approved for a loan to determine how much money you qualify for. The last thing you want to do is find the perfect home and put down an offer only to find out you’re not qualified.
Instead, talk to a mortgage lender and get pre-approved for a loan. Find out how much money
you’re working with and what your potential terms and interest rates might look like. This largely comes down to your credit score and credit history.
- Hire a Real Estate Agent
When buying a home, especially your first home, we recommend working with an experienced real estate agent. Based on your budget and what you’re looking for, a real estate agent can help you find the perfect house. They have valuable insight and knowledge about the local real estate market and the scoop on local neighborhoods.
Real estate agents also have important connections with home builders, contractors and other service providers. Additionally, they are experienced negotiators and can help you get the best deal when purchasing a home.
- Prioritize Your Needs
In some cases, you can find everything you need in a home that’s within your price range. Alternatively, if you can’t find what you want in existing homes, you can build a custom home. Often, however, homebuyers need to compromise on one thing or another.
Though you may not be required to make compromises, you absolutely need to create a list of priorities. At the very least, it will serve as a checklist you can refer to when touring possible homes. More importantly, this list will help you identify what’s most important for you and your family in your new home.
Consider the following factors:
- Outdoor living space
- Lot size
- House size
- Number of rooms
- Number of bathrooms
- Layout and overall flow of the house
- Entertaining potential
- And more
Talk to your family about all possible wants and needs. For example, while it’s okay for children to share a room while they’re young, they’re going to want more space and privacy as they get older.
- Find the Right Location
Location is imperative when buying a home. The location of your house will determine where your kids go to school, the friends you and your kids make, how long your commute to work is and more.
Do you want a house that’s closer to town or do you prefer to be more isolated? Are there any parks or playgrounds nearby for your kids? How close are the nearest emergency services?
- Tour Potential Homes
Once you’ve found the right neighborhood or area of town, you can start touring houses. This is one of the most exciting aspects of buying a new home!
Remember, it’s easy to fall in love with homes as you walk through them and imagine yourself potentially living there. Keep your priorities and budget in mind to avoid making impulse decisions you’ll regret later.
Additionally, don’t put an offer down on the first house you see. Visit multiple homes to make the most informed decision.
- Get a Home Inspection
Once you find a house you’re interested in, you need to hire a home inspector to evaluate the property. This is one of the most important tips for home buyers.
A home inspector will inspect the fundamental aspects of a home. This includes:
- Heating and cooling
A home inspection report is vital for verifying the condition of the home. If you’re buying a home, you absolutely must hire an inspector. They’ll point out all possible issues, including water damage, peeling paint, signs of pests and more.
- Make an Offer
Once you receive the results of the home inspection, you can use them to make an offer on the house. If the results come back positive with limited or zero issues, the seller is unlikely to come down on the price. However, you can negotiate for other things, such as appliances, furniture, decor, etc.
On the other hand, if any major issues were found during the home inspection, you’ll have more leverage for negotiating. You can either ask the seller to come down on the price or request that they make all necessary repairs/renovations.
The seller will either lower their price, meet your demands, give you a counteroffer, or walk away from the deal.
- Secure Your Financing
One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying a home is sabotaging their financing. Just because you were approved for a loan amount, it doesn’t automatically mean that your financing is secured. Changes your financial status can easily disqualify you.
These include taking out a loan to buy furniture for your new home, purchasing a new car, or maxing out an existing credit card. Starting a new job can also delay the home buying process, even if your new job pays more. The lender will need to see several months’ worth of pay stubs to verify your income before they’ll back you.
The best thing to do after getting approved for a loan is NOTHING. Do not make any changes regarding your financial situation. Once the loan closes, you can get a new car, use your credit cards to buy furniture, accept a new job, etc.
Ready to Start?
Seriously thinking about buying a home? Is this your first time buying a house?
No matter what you want in your next home, we can help you find the right house for you and your family. We have several houses available and specialize in custom home building.
Contact us today to talk about your options. We would love to partner with you during this exciting journey!