What to Expect When Buying a Home – A Step-By-Step Guide to the Homebuying Process

Freepik.com | Drazen Zigic

Buying a home is a big commitment that can impact your life in many ways. It’s essential to take the time to consider your finances, personal readiness, and the real estate market before making an offer.

An experienced real estate agent will be a valuable resource during home buying. They can offer guidance and insight on local markets and how much to offer.

Know Your Budget

Buying a home from a reputable company like Davidson Homes can be one of the most exciting times in your life. But it’s also a significant financial decision to consider carefully before you start touring homes.

Knowing your budget and how much you can afford to spend on a house is essential. A solid plan will help you avoid costly mistakes and maximize your home-buying experience.

A common rule of thumb is that no more than a percent of your income should go towards your mortgage payment, but it’s essential to consider other costs when creating your budget. These include property taxes, homeowners insurance, and homeowner association fees.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Buying a home is one of your most significant financial commitments. It’s essential to consider your lifestyle, career goals, and family responsibilities when selecting the type of residence and mortgage that will suit you best.

Get preapproved early in your homebuying journey to establish loan options and show agents you’re a serious buyer. Be sure to shop with a budget smaller than the amount you are approved for, as this will allow you to avoid being in a bidding war that you may not win. Also, remember that mortgages with PMI often have higher interest rates than those without. This is due to the additional risk incurred by lenders.

Find a Real Estate Agent

Before beginning your search, ask people in your network for recommendations of real estate agents they’ve worked with. You’ll also want to interview prospective agents for their experience and expertise. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, ask what type of homes they typically help buyers find, how long the average transaction takes, and whether they’re familiar with state and national first-time buyer programs.

Also, make sure the agent has a valid real estate license. You can verify that online or by calling your state’s real estate regulator.

Look for a Home

Buying a home isn’t for everyone, but it can be a wise financial investment. Before you start searching for homes, make sure you’re financially ready.

Ideally, you’ll want to save for a down payment and closing costs. You can also use gift money from family members to help with these expenses.

Historically, real estate inventory peaks in the spring and summer. However, your timeline for when you’re ready to buy can depend on more than just the housing market. You’ll also need to consider your lifestyle and long-term goals. A good realtor can help you weigh your options. They can also recommend mortgage brokers and real estate attorneys.

Make an Offer on a Home

Buying a home is one of your most significant financial commitments. It’s essential to go into the process prepared and confident in your ability to negotiate a deal that makes sense for you.

Once you’ve found a house you love, it’s time to put in an offer! Your agent will send your request to the seller, and they may accept it, decline it, or make a counteroffer.

Before submitting your offer, you should prepare your mortgage loan pre-approval letter. This will help you bargain more strongly with the seller, proving you can afford the house. Your offer should include standard contingencies, such as an inspection and an appraisal.

Negotiate the Offer

Mastering the art of give and take is critical when buying a home. Many buyers think the purchase price is the main negotiation point, but other important factors must be considered.

For example, if the seller has an existing mortgage and needs to sell to buy their next home, they may be more willing to negotiate on other terms, such as closing cost credits. Buyers can also ask for things like a home warranty and replacement costs for outdated appliances, among other things. Closing on the home typically requires the assistance of a closing agent, which will coordinate document signing and ensure the transfer of funds and deeds.

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Close on the Home

Homebuying includes finding a property, securing financing, making an offer, getting a home inspection, and closing the property. It can take 30 to 45 days between signing a contract and closing.

Some lenders may offer first-time buyer programs to help you afford a down payment on a new home. But it’s still important to shop for an excellent real estate agent and ensure you have enough money saved up for a down payment.

At closing, you’ll pay your down payment and closing costs, sign your mortgage note, and receive the keys to your new home.

Move In

It is time to move in once you have closed on your new home! There are a few essential steps to take before moving in, including getting to know your new neighborhood and changing the locks.

If the previous owner had a home warranty, review it and understand what is covered. In the long run, this can save you money if something goes wrong with your furnace, appliances, or water heater.

Walk through the house while it is empty and note if any repairs are needed. Also, find the emergency shut-offs for water and electricity and locate the circuit breaker box. Finally, collect all appliance manuals and documents in one place.

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