If you’re a first-time homebuyer, purchasing a home might seem straight forward, but there are more steps than just searching and making an offer. Here are all the tasks you can expect when purchasing your first home. If you’re already a homeowner, consider this a refresher!
14 Steps to Buying a Home
- Determine what’s on your list for your dream home. A location close to schools, work, recreation? What features are important to you, such as a garage, fireplace, roomy back yard, number of bedrooms? Does the home need to be on a bus route, or in a certain school district?
- Select the right REALTOR for your needs. A REALTOR costs you nothing, and does most of the actual searching and sourcing of homes for you, based on the list of features you supply. A REALTOR will help you negotiate the purchase contract and manage the timeline to close to ensure your contract stays in play until you can close. It’s in your best interest to hire a REALTOR, such as The Columbus Team, with strong experience and a proven track record.
- Become pre-approved for financing. It’s a simple step that makes you a very desirable buyer. Sellers know you are ready and able to buy, and that gives you a stronger negotiating position. Great homes at market prices often attract multiple buyers. It pays to be ready to offer!
- Decide if you need a real estate lawyer. A lawyer can review all the documents, help write contracts and contingencies. Although not every buyer uses one, it may be the right option for you. The fees are very affordable, often in the $300-$500 range.
- View selected homes. Take notes and pictures. It’s surprising how difficult it can be to remember which house had which features after seeing several properties for sale.
- Narrow your choices, and prepare to make an offer. Now is the time to think of possible contingencies, and to use your REALTOR’s experience and Comparative Market Analysis of homes similar to your favorite.
- Sign the purchase contract and write a check for any earnest money deposit. If the seller counters your offer, be prepared to negotiate. Have an idea in mind of what your “bottom line” will be, but remain somewhat flexible. Also, don’t forget that with each counter offer or rejected offer, that previous offer is now null and void.
- Come to an agreement, and sign the contract.
- Complete the loan application process; this should be a snap if you’re already pre-approved.
- Determine the closing date.
- Arrange inspections of your dream home. A whole home inspection, termites, radon, lead, well and gas line inspection are standard, but inspections for mold and other issues are also possible. If there are negative findings, be prepared to negotiate with the seller for remediation or compensation for the issues. Double check with your own insurance about insuring the new home, it’s another great way to be forewarned of possible issues with the home.
- Make final arrangements for all financing prior to the closing.
- Prepare for your change of address. Forward mail, notify bill collectors, friends, family, and arrange for the transfer of utilities.
- Attend the closing, sign the forms, pay the fees, and receive the keys to your new home.
Congratulations! You have completed all 14 Steps to Buying a Home and are now ready to move into your new home!