8 Basic Steps in the Home Buying Process
Buying a home is exciting! But it's also a multi-step process that can seem overwhelming at times. If you’re a first-time home buyer new to buying a home in general, or if you want to learn about the home buying process, you can find a brief overview on this page to guide you through purchasing a home from start to finish.
Step 1: Determine Your Housing Needs
People buy homes for a variety of reasons — relocating for a job, requiring more space, wanting a home of their own.
Your housing needs are unique to you, so you'll need to make a list of what home features are essential in a property you'd consider buying before beginning your home search.
It's also important to determine the financial amount you would be able to budget for. In addition to home features, affordable price ranges are another home search criteria that you need to consider before beginning your search.
Step 2: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Knowing what you can afford is one of the biggest steps during the home buying process. Budgeting can only tell you part of the picture. To find out what price on a home you can afford, you should get pre-approved for a home mortgage.
Meet with the right lender and provide documented financial information, and the lender, in turn, will give you an estimated mortgage amount in a mortgage pre-approval letter.
As you’re shopping for a lender, it’s also important to shop for the right real estate agent. It’s the agent's job to keep your best interests in mind, guide you through the complexities of the home buying process, and make your overall experience as painless as possible. Real estate agents can even recommend a good mortgage lender to talk to.
Step 3: Begin Your Home Search
This is one of the most exciting steps in the home buying process. Once you have your necessary home features listed and your mortgage amount estimate, you can start searching for a home with those features in your price range.
Online home listings have pictures you can look through, but it’s important to schedule a home showing with the real estate agent to experience the house for yourself. Use these home viewings to imagine yourself hosting game nights, relaxing on the couch, eating dinner, and living in the space as your new home. If you need assistance searching for a home, your real estate agent can schedule a consultation with you to help you narrow your home search criteria and find your dream home. You can also sign up for email alerts to let you know when a home with your ideal features is listed on the market.
Step 4: Make an Offer to Buy the Home
You've found your new home, the place you want to call your own. First, research what you think the best price for the home is — using comparable homes in the neighborhood or a market analysis of the property. The next step is to make an offer to buy the house.
After you and the home seller have negotiated on a fair price on the property, you’ll let the seller know you’re serious about buying the home. You'll strengthen your offer to buy the home by depositing earnest money into an escrow account, which holds onto your payment until the home is yours, and having your mortgage pre-approval letter readily available to show the home seller.
Step 5: Filling Out Paperwork
With such a large financial transaction, there’s a lot of paperwork to fill out — mortgage applications, sales contracts, you name it.
Your real estate agent will help you handle the real estate paperwork that comes your way.
Step 6: Finance your Home
It’s time to apply for a home mortgage. Choose which loan product to use based on what you can afford, and determine whether you want to keep your monthly payments low or fixed.
You can easily calculate your monthly mortgage payments based on the number of years, interest rate, and the amount of your loan.
Step 7: Get a Home Inspection
Before signing the paperwork to officially purchase your home, you’ll want to order a home inspection. During this step in the home buying process, an inspector can tell you whether the home you’re interested in has structural damage or needs major fixes. Depending on what the inspector finds, you can then adjust the purchase amount on the property.
Your real estate agent will help you arrange a home inspection within a few days of having your home offer accepted by the seller.
Step 8: Closing on your home
After the pieces have fallen into place — securing your mortgage loan, ordering the home inspection, negotiating on a home price, and signing all the paperwork — you are now ready to close on the home!
At this point, you’ll want to establish utility service to your new home, take a final walk-through to make sure everything still looks good, and make sure any issues have been settled.
Congratulations! The home is now yours!
Want to Learn More About the Home Buying Process?
If you have any questions about the home buying process or want to know more about purchasing a home, contact us at any time. We are happy to answer your real estate questions.