The Simple, Step-by-step Guide to Buying Your New Home
Being in the real estate world, I often forget just how much insider lingo we have. That is, until clients who are just beginning the home-buying process look at me like this:
The prospect of buying a house can seem overwhelming at first. That's why I've put together a step-by-step, easy-to-understand guide that will help you feel in-the-know from start to finish.

Step 1: Define your Goals

Start your home-buying journey by examining your financial situation and figuring out what a realistic monthly mortgage payment would be. You want to end up in a house you love, but still be able to enjoy your life and not stress about making your payments every month. Your budget will depend on your own income, debt, and lifestyle, but most experts agree not to spend more than 25-30% of your pre-tax income on a monthly mortgage payment.

Step 2: Partner with a Great Agent

Finding a home-buying agent you trust will make your entire experience much smoother and less stressful. A great agent will not only help you locate homes for sale, but walk through the entire process with you — assisting you in finding a good deal, recommending lenders and other professionals you will need to work with, and helping you make sense of the mounds of paperwork. If you're looking for an agent, I'd love to help you find your new home! Contact me here.

Step 3: Get Pre-approved for a Loan

Your agent should be able to recommend some great lenders (banks, credit unions, etc.) who can help you get pre-approved for a home loan. Pre-approval is your ticket to a great deal; it will help you set a realistic home-buying budget, as well as make you more appealing to sellers. If there's competition for your dream home, a seller is much more likely to go with a buyer who is pre-approved.
Step 4: Find a Home

Think carefully through your lifestyle and future plans and decide what you actually need and want in a home. Then, make three lists: a must-have list, a dealbreaker list, and a wish list. Share these lists with your agent and they will help you look around online and in-person at homes for sale.

Step 5: Make an Offer and Negotiate with the Seller

Once you've found the right house, your agent will help you put together an offer that is fair to you and to the seller. This offer will include a contract, your loan approval, and other necessary paperwork. Your agent will guide you through the process of counter-offers and negotiations (as well as when to walk away from a deal that isn't right for you). Once your offer is accepted, your agent will coordinate with the lender, sellers, and title company to keep the process moving along.

Step 6: Do your Due Diligence

In the month or so before you close, you'll have the opportunity to make sure this home is everything it seems. You'll coordinate with home inspectors, termite inspectors, appraisers, etc. to make sure you know what you are getting with your house.

Step 7: Order a Homeowner's Insurance Policy

Work with an insurance agency to make sure your new home and all the valuables in it are covered. The insurance company will need your personal information, as well as some information on the house, such as the year built, closing date, and coverage amount.

Step 8: Do a Final Walk-Through

In the final days before closing, your lender, agent, and the title company will be working behind the scenes to make sure everything is ready to go. Double-check that there isn't any last-minute paperwork you need to take care of, but don't worry too much — no news is good news! Your agent will take you through a final walk-through of the house to make sure the home is in the condition you last saw it.

Step 9: Coordinate with Movers and Utility Companies

You don't want your first week in your dream home to come without hot water or working lights! Don't forget to contact all utility companies a week before you close, and make sure movers are ready to get you settled into your new home as soon as possible.

Step 10: Close on Your House and Celebrate

You'll be giving out plenty of autographs on closing day — signing documents that finalize your mortgage and make the house officially yours. You'll also pay the seller, so don't forget to bring copies of your I.D. as well as your down payment in the form of a cashier's check (no personal checks). Congratulations! You're a homeowner! Time to plan a killer celebration (or, more likely, moving party).

Buying a home can feel intimidating, but I'm here to ensure that every step is the right step for my clients. I'd love to help you along on your home-buying journey. Contact me, and we'll work on the next right step for you.
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