Purchasing your first home is a huge milestone. Just like doing anything for the first time, having a handy checklist prepares you for what comes next. Consider several factors to ensure a smooth first-time home-buying experience. So, getting yourself a Realtor, ensuring your finances are ready, and making active decisions are some things you need to consider before closing the deal. Read more below and tick each item off your list as you begin your journey toward opening a new door.
1. Find a Realtor
Working with a professional makes sealing the deal a lot easier. A Realtor can provide you with unique insights into selecting your perfect home. They know the housing market in your area, so don’t be afraid to ask. What’s better is that they can help you stay within your budget and advise you on how much to offer on a property.
2. Prepare Your Finances
Setting a budget narrows down your home search. It ensures that the home you want is in the options that won’t hurt your pocket. Additionally, figuring out your debt-to-income ratio is also essential, as it helps you determine how much your monthly mortgage payments are. Another thing to focus on is improving your credit score. It guarantees that you qualify for the loan you’re aiming for. Also, double checking, despite having a good credit score, assures that there will be no errors.
3. Get Your Mortgage Pre-approved
Before you get excited about shopping for a home, you have to work with a lender to get settled on a mortgage loan. It means that the next thing on your checklist is knowing how much you can afford and which loan programs you qualify for. Getting your mortgage pre-approved provides you with the answers. Moreover, this will give your future offer more weight, as it will assure the seller that you won’t have trouble funding the property.
4. Begin the Hunt for a House
Finally, the moment that you’ve been waiting for! The fun begins after you settle on an amount you can afford. Establish your must-haves and non-negotiables with your Realtor to narrow down your list. Additionally, research and visit neighborhoods to spot the home you desire. Considering more than just the location and features of the house allows you to check for issues. Feel free to examine areas like plumbing and the electrical system. Correspondingly, spotting deal-breakers while still in the viewing stage saves you time.
5. Make an Offer and Negotiate
Once you’ve set your heart on the home of your dreams, it’s time to lay out your offer. The seller will accept, reject, or counter it. Your Realtor will most likely take the lead, but it never hurts to take an extra step to learn winning strategies. Give yourself a competitive edge when you know the ins and outs of negotiation. Sure, you want your offer to win. However, increasing your bid on that matter decreases your chances of being able to pay for the house. Remember, always consider your budget. Don’t fret too much; working with a trusted Realtor will ensure a desirable outcome.
6. Schedule a Home Inspection and Appraisal
A home inspection is to certify that the property is structurally sound and up to par with the code requirements. If you find potential problems and issues, it is your discretion whether you’ll move forward or change your offer. On the other hand, an appraisal determines the fair value of the property. It is when you’ll know if you’re paying more than the house is worth.
7. Do a Final Walk-Through
It typically happens 24 hours before closing. Confirm if your prospective home reflects the condition you have agreed upon. During this time, the house is empty besides the furniture and appliances you have arranged to keep. The final walk-through gives you one last chance to check every nook and cranny, so ensure you test everything. Plus, examine if the seller has completed all the repairs you noted.
8. Close on Your Home
Congratulations! Get ready to close your house! Signing all the paperwork and taking control of your property is next and final on the list. Along with two IDs, bring any paperwork you’ve received or signed throughout the process and settle the payments you need to make. After this, you can now get the keys to your new home.
The Bottom Line
Diving into the first step toward a new experience can be tricky, especially when buying a house. But once you’ve covered all bases, everything follows. Working with someone with experience and expertise can guide you and make the process seamless. It is why working with a good Realtor makes a huge difference. Even then, putting effort into understanding the ins and outs of buying a house will further help you secure your dream home. So, take the time to study this checklist and be ready to get the ball rolling.
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