Are you one of the 28 million people planning to buy a home over the next year? If so, welcome to one of the most exciting times of your life! However, if you’re not prepared for the process, it can also be one of the most stressful times.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
In this short guide, we’ve outlined the only home buying checklist you need to follow to help make your path to homeownership easier. Read on to learn how to be a smart home buyer every step of the way!
Calculate How Much You Can Afford
First things first, you need to figure out how much you’re comfortable spending, so you don’t waste time looking at homes that aren’t within your budget. When you’re trying to calculate a comfortable range for your monthly payment, you’ll need to consider the following:
- Your monthly income
- Your monthly expenses outside of housing costs
- Other debts you owe
- Your credit score
- How much you can put as a down payment
- How much you’ll need for closing costs
Of course, some of these are just approximations, but the more accurate you can be, the better idea you’ll have of how much you can spend on your new home.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Once you do find the house of your dreams, you’ll want to be able to move on it quickly before another buyer steps in. One of the best ways to prepare is to secure pre-approval before you start house shopping. First, explore the different mortgage options available to you. For example, take a look at FHA loan requirements vs those for other types of loans.
Then, find a lender to review your credit report, income, and debts to approve you for a set mortgage amount.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Once you’re pre-approved, you should look for a local real estate agent to help guide you through the home buying process. You’ll want to find someone with knowledge of your local housing market so they can work as an advocate for you.
We recommend asking friends or family members for a recommendation or doing an online search to find an agent in your area.
Search for Homes
Now, the fun part really begins! Work with your real estate agents to find potential houses in your price range and desired location. Then, set up tours for the houses you’re most interested in seeing.
If you find a place you love, be sure to determine the home appraisal value and get an inspection before moving forward in the process.
Put in an Offer
Once you’ve found the right home, it’s time to talk to your real estate agent about preparing an offer. They’ll help you determine the right price to offer and work through the negotiation phase on your behalf if needed.
Once the seller accepts your offer, you’ll all come to an agreement on any contingencies and a closing timeline and you can start preparing for your move.
Follow This Home Buying Checklist
Now that you’ve read through this home buying checklist, you’re ready to navigate the process of buying a new house. Time to begin so you can get on the path to becoming a smart homeowner!
Are you interested in reading more home and lifestyle content like this? Check out our other articles before you go.