When you finally make the decision to buy a home, you need to get informed on how the whole process takes place. Gaining knowledge will leave you feeling knowledgeable and in control. It helps to settle nerves and doubts if you know exactly what you are entering into beforehand.
Is buying a home the right choice for you?
Some people are meant to be homeowners and some aren’t. It’s really a decision made by you. Are you comfortable having an obligation to pay a set mortgage amount, on the same home, to the same lender for the next thirty years? Or do you feel like renting is less demanding and a better option for you? It’s best to figure out exactly what you want at the beginning and not when you’re already under contract on a new home.
Get your finances into tip- top shape
You need your credit to be at its best before attempting to buy a home. Have your credit report pulled. Catch up any delinquencies, pay down balances, and dispute any problems. Having a spotless credit report will increase your home buying success and lower your interest rates. Contact a lender and ask about current rates and fees.
Decide what an acceptable down payment is to you. The higher your down payment, the less your monthly mortgage payment will be. Keep in mind though, that the type of loan you get can also affect the down payment. If you go with an FHA the interest rate and the down payment can be considerably lower than a standard loan. When you know which type of loan you qualify for, get a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender stating exactly how much you can be financed for.
Hire a real estate agent to lead the way
Real estate agents have volumes of experience in their field. They will lead you on what decisions to make and what mistakes not to make. Interview different agents and find the one you are most comfortable with since you will be working closely with this person through the duration of your buying process.
Know how to haggle before you make an offer
In order to get a good price on a home, you need to know how to negotiate. Often times, an initial offer will receive a counter offer. This is an offer made in response to your first offer, which for some reason wasn’t acceptable to the seller. A counteroffer changes your initial offer (usually making it more agreeable for the seller.) Responding with a counteroffer allows the seller to decline your first offer, while allowing negotiations to move forth.
Get inspections and disclosures
Have the home inspected and know which disclosures you are legally entitled to receive (for example, the disclosure of lead based paint and major structural defects). Have a final inspection done prior to closing as added protection. You want to make sure that everything is still the same as when you agreed to purchase the house.
Closing usually occurs 1-2 months after your offer was accepted by the seller. Have your movers ready to go and the insurance company with the best rate picked out. The time leading up to closing can seem to take forever, but once it finally arrives; things start to happen very quickly. Do yourself a favor and be prepared in advance.