Getting ready to buy a house is exciting, and if you’re a first-time homebuyer, you probably have questions before you begin the process. This article goes over the basic steps of how to buy a house.
1. How to Buy a House: Create a List
Before you begin the homebuying process, make a two-column list of your needs and wants in a home. Needs are features or characteristics that are non-negotiable for you, for instance, having a certain number of bedrooms or bathrooms. A want is something you prefer in a home but is not necessary. Don’t base your decision to purchase on a feature that you want rather than need.
2. Choose a Real Estate Agent
While it seems like you could just browse the internet to find a home, you’ll get more options and expert advice when you hire an agent. Look for reviews online for agents in the area. Next, contact the agents and spend a few minutes speaking with them. Choose someone who is knowledgeable and easy to talk to because they will be guiding you through your major investment.
3. Get Loan Pre-Approval
Don’t wait to get approved for a mortgage after you find a home. This slows the process. Since you’re less prepared to purchase a home, it’s possible you’ll be passed up when you place an offer. When you’re deciding how much you can afford, aim for about one-third of your household’s monthly income. Make sure you have enough extra money to take care of routine maintenance and repairs. When you factor in all other expenses, make sure you’re not going to struggle month to month to afford your home.
4. Find Houses You Like and Compare
House-hunting is the fun part of home buying, but it’s also time-consuming. Once you find a few homes you like, compare and contrast to determine which one best suits your needs, wants, and budget.
5. How to Buy a House: Placing an Offer
The next step of how to buy a house is to place an offer. Your agent will help you come up with an appropriate offer for the house and the area. Negotiations may ensue, which are communicated through the buyer’s and seller’s agents. If you don’t get the home, don’t stress about it; with new homes listed every day, there will be another house that meets your needs.
6. Get a Home Inspection
If your offer is accepted, the next step is to order a professional home inspection. A home inspector will identify any major and minor issues that may be unknown to the seller and could affect the price of the home.
Understanding how to buy a house is the first step toward reaching your goals. If you don’t follow the correct steps, you could find yourself losing out on the home you want, or paying more than it’s worth.