How to Buy a House: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide
Are you ready to buy a house? Before you begin the search for a new home, you need to make sure you are actually ready to purchase one. There are several important steps throughout the home buying process, including some make-or-break factors to consider before you even talk to a realtor.
Here are the steps involved to buy a house:
- Save up for a down payment and other costs.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
- Connect with a trusted real estate agent.
- Begin the search for a house.
- Submit an offer on a house.
- Get a reliable home inspection and an appraisal.
- Close on your house.
- Move in!
Let’s look closer at each step to buying a house.
1. Save up for a down payment and other costs.
Before you ever start scrolling through real estate websites looking for a house, you need to make sure you are financially prepared to buy one. When you buy a house, you are making a huge investment. While you might be able to convince a loan company to approve you, once you’re in the home all the financial responsibility falls on you. If possible, try to get out of debt completely and save up an emergency fund. As a homeowner, you are the landlord. This means you’ll have to pay for repairs and surprise expenses. Even before you get in the house, you’ll need to be prepared to pay closing costs and moving expenses. Set yourself up by being financially healthy before you buy a house.
You’ll want to save at least 10% of a home’s cost as a down payment before you buy a house. If possible, save 20% or more as this will also save you money on your mortgage.
2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Once your finances are in order, you may be thinking it’s time to start the search to buy a house. Well, actually, before you find any potential homes, you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. To get pre-approved, all you need to do is meet with your mortgage lender and submit your proof of income, assets and down payment. ONce they verify your financial standing, they will approve you to borrow a certain amount for a home loan. It is important to get pre-approved because it tells you exactly how much house you can afford. This helps you narrow down your search to houses in your range. It’s also important to note that there are multiple types of home loans to choose from. A good lender will help you pick the one best suited for you.
3. Connect with a trusted real estate agent.
Choosing a real estate agent is perhaps the most important item on this list. The right agent can help you through the entire process to buy a house, not just the home search portion. Here’s what to look for in a real estate agent:
- Several years of full-time real estate experience
- Excellent communication skills with you and all parties involved.
- A “friends and family” mentality that makes you feel like you’re their most important client.
- A track record of homes sold and happy past clients
- Experience in your specific local market
Ruth Stutlz has over 30 years of experience in this area. If you’re looking for a realtor you can trust, talk to us!
4. Begin the search for a house.
Once you’ve been pre-approved and your realtor is on board, now you can begin your search to buy a house. It’s important to understand what matters most when house hunting. The two most important factors are the location of the house and the layout of the house. You can’t change either of those things later so get them right from the beginning. Factor in schools, access to major roads, neighborhood quality, etc. Your realtor should be able to tell you everything you need to know about the area you are moving to.
5. Submit an offer on a house.
Once you find the perfect home, it’s time to submit an offer. Before you officially buy a house, your offer clearly lays out the conditions to the purchase. It will include items like:
- Buyer and seller information
- Property address
- Purchase price, lender information and down payment amount
- Earnest money deposit
- Contingencies: home inspection, appraisal and final mortgage approval
- Closing date
- And more
Your realtor will be able to help you with all of these aspects and also with negotiation. A great realtor will help you buy a house at the perfect price.
6. Get a reliable home inspection and an appraisal.
This step cannot be overlooked when you buy a house. Hire a home inspector to come and examine the home before you close on it. A home inspection could save you from surprises like structural problems or hidden issues that need repairs. It can help you negotiate to have the seller fix the problems, reduce the price, or if needed, to back out of the deal altogether. A home inspection could save you thousands of dollars or keep you from making a huge mistake.
You’ll also want to get an official appraisal. This will determine the true value of the house and help you feel confident you’re making a good financial decision.
7. Close on your new house.
The final step to take when you buy a house is the closing. Get ready to sign a ton of paperwork! Actually, with a good realtor, the closing process can be fun. When you close on a house, you will need to have closing costs ready, as well as other expenses like prorated property tax, HOA fees, and home insurance. This is a great time to ask your realtor questions as some information can seem daunting or confusing.
8. Move in!
Once you’ve signed all the paperwork, you can get the keys to your new home and move in! How exciting! All the hard work or saving money and house hunting has finally paid off. Congratulations!
If you’re ready to buy a house and you want to make sure the entire process is enjoyable and hassle-free, then let’s talk. We guarantee you won’t find a better realtor in the area and you’ll love your journey to find your perfect house! Let’s start today!