You’d think that the whole home buying process is a simple and linear event. Find a home. Check the price. Buy it. Sadly in the real estate market the entire home buying process is a lot more complex than what you might think, but the goods news is this:
Once You Know the Steps, It’s Easier Than Eating Pie to Buy Your Own Home, EVEN Without a Realtor
- Start Checking Listings NOW — It can’t hurt to window shop. Look at Zillow. Look at anything. Check the papers. See how long certain listings stay on the market. Watch how the pricing fluctuates.
- Look at Your Budget VERY Carefully — It’s easy to say that you can afford a $150K house. But remember: you’ll most likely be required to put up 20% of it for a down payment, not to mention minimal debt on your credit report is a bonus. Typically lenders like homes that’ll cost you no more than three to five times the annual household income. So, again…pay close attention.
- Get “Prequalified” and “Preapproved” — Sounds redundant, but it’s important. You need to know how much you can actually spend on a mortgage loan. Get prequalified first, THEN shop around.
- The RIGHT Realtor Matters — Keep in mind that the realtor makes it possible for you to negotiate the pricing of any house. So get a good one. And the best part? Realtors are free! They’re typically commissioned by the seller of any given house.
- NOW You Can Shop for Your Home — This is fun part. You get to see a bunch of homes. But don’t just look around. Test the plumbing, turn the switches on and off. Open and close those windows. Even check out the other houses around as well as the neighborhood. Remember: if you buy that home, chances are you’ll be in that house for a long time.
- Don’t Forget to Get That Home Inspection — Even the best realtor might miss a weakness in the house. So what do you do? You get a home inspection. Sometimes the things you don’t see in the house might be the worst problems with it.
- You Thankfully Have a Lot of Loan Options — Don’t think you’re restricted to just one kind of home loan. Work with a mortgage banker, and you’ll see a wealth of possibilities. Chances will be good you’ll find a home loan option that best fits your needs.
- Definitely Get a Home Appraisal — It’s all about accountability. Think about it. The home price is not the same as the home value. An appraisal will determine whether or not you’re paying a fair price for that home.
- Yes, You’ll Have to Do a Lot of Paperwork — There’s the title company for one. Home insurance for another. Be prepared to sign a lot of papers.
- And Then…You CLOSE — Once you sign all the required documents, you typically wait a couple days for the loan to get funded. Once that check’s delivered to the seller, guess what: you can move in!
That’s All It Takes…. It Does Look Like a Lot, Though
But with this awesome checklist, you’re pretty much set. You’ll never be left in the dark, all thanks to the H.O.P.E. Program!