Buying a house can be an experience juxtaposed with excitement and trepidation. Purchasing a home may likely be your biggest financial investment, and you want to avoid buyer’s remorse. Here are six steps to successfully purchase a property.
- Prepare your credit. Your credit score and history are critical in large purchases. Access copies of your credit report and repair any derogatory statements. Do this before you begin to look at properties as buying houses can be time sensitive. Other buyers may be looking at the same house you are. Be ready to compete by having your credit reports and score in great order. Avoid making any big ticket purchases that may affect your credit. Do not change jobs or work history until the acquisition of your desired home is complete.
- Establish cash savings. When you make an offer on a house, you’ll be asked to make a good faith deposit. You’ll be required to pay a significant down payment on your home mortgage loan, and then be responsible for closing costs, which are estimated to be between one and eight percent of the price of the home you’re buying. Have these funds ready in advance so you don’t experience delays when making an offer.
- Get pre-approved for a home mortgage loan. Once you find the home of your dreams, you may not have time to begin applying for home loans as the market is competitive and someone else may beat you to the punch. Be prepared in advance by establishing approval for your mortgage. Being pre-approved also gives you a reasonable idea of what your budget should be.
- Hire the right real estate agent. Ask friends, family, and colleagues for referrals, and then do your homework. Your agent should be an expert in the type of property you’re buying, as well as the neighborhoods in which you desire to live. Avoid working with friends and family, and beware of part-time agents. Discuss with your agent their preferred communication techniques, and their policy for terminating the relationship if you’re unsatisfied. You’ll be working closely with your realtor throughout your home-buying experience, so a healthy and productive relationship is crucial. Discuss with your agent your list of must-haves and deal breakers, and be realistic in your expectations. Your list of desires must align with your available budget and current market values.
- Be patient during required appraisals and inspections. Once you’ve made an offer on a home and the seller has accepted, the bank will require an appraisal of the property to ensure its value matches the amount you’re borrowing. Then, the home will be inspected to make sure everything is in good, working order and that there’s no damage to roofing or major systems and appliances. The home may also be inspected by a pest inspector to prove the property to be free of termites or other damaging pests. Once appraisals and inspections are complete, you’re ready to close on your home. During the evaluation and inspection processes, you have the legal right to re-negotiate contract terms based on findings, or withdraw your offer if necessary. Renegotiating terms could involve lowering your offer to cover necessary repairs, such as carpet allowances. Your realtor will help you make these important decisions. There should also be a title search to make sure there are no liens against the property.
- The home closing is where the clear title is transferred from the seller to the buyer, closing costs paid, and you receive the keys to your new home.
Prepare your credit before you begin the search. Save adequate funds to cover down payments and closing costs. Research real estate agents and hire the realtor that best suits your needs. Be realistic when looking for your new home. Be aggressive with your offer. Then, be patient with the processes as the property undergoes appraisals and inspections. And when the purchase is complete, you have the keys, and you’re completely satisfied with your home-buying experience, make sure you highly recommend to others the real estate agent that helped you make your dreams of home ownership come true.