Home Buying Process: 8 Simple Steps to Buying a home
If you want to know the home buying process you have come to the right place!
Purchasing a home is a big step and one of the largest financial investments a person will make. But one that is highly recommended. Homeownership is one of the single biggest ways Americans build wealth and prepare for a stable retirement.
Understanding the steps of the home buying process empowers you to make smart decisions about your home purchase. You will feel more confident in your home buying journey when you understand the chain of events and what’s required of you and others around you.
Use this step-by-step guide to buy a house the smart way.
8 Simple Steps For Buying a homE
Step 1: Meet with an Experienced Realtor
The home buying process can be a long and involved process but thankfully you do not have to go through it alone. Your home search may have started with an online search but when you are ready to get serious, you will need an experienced local Realtor.
A Realtor will help you navigate the home buying process, look out for your interests, make sure you find the best home for your situation, and protect you during the negotiation process. A local Realtor will know your area and have information on schools, crime, and public services. You will also need other professional help along the way. A good Realtor will be able to recommend local lenders, home inspectors, insurance companies, contractors, etc.
An experienced local Realtor will walk you through every step of the buying process and recommend local resources needed during your home buying process.
Why would you not want a true pro on your side when you are making your biggest financial investment? When you are ready to get serious, contact experienced Northern Colorado Realtor Jason Grentz to get started.
Step 2: Meet with Lender & Get Pre-Approved
One of the first questions your Realtor will ask is if you are ready to buy a home. Do these things first and you will be in a good position to start looking for your dream home.
- Check your credit score. You can do this for free using AnnualCreditReport.com. Check your credit report for any mistakes or outdated information. You will want to get these items corrected or fixed before a lender requests your credit score and report. The more you know in advance the better.
- Save for the down payment and closing costs. Closing costs cover fees, taxes, and expenses required to process the purchase of your home. The down payment or earnest money is the cash you put in escrow when you first make an offer to purchase a home. Both your Realtor and lender will help you determine the amounts needed to cover these items.
- Get pre-approved. Pre-approved is different than pre-qualified and it is essential to know the difference. Pre-approval is an official step that requires the lender to verify your financial information and credit history. This means pre-approval is a strong sign of what you can afford and adds credibility to your offer. Pre-approved will put you ahead in the home-buying world.
These steps are areas many homebuyers miss or skip over. If you start shopping for a home before you have met with a lender you are likely to waste time looking at properties you might not be approved to buy. Or worse, you find your dream home but the house goes under contract to another buyer while you are waiting for your lender’s approval letter.
This happens all too often.
It pays off to meet with a lender as soon as possible because the pre-approval letter shows you are a serious buyer.
Once you know how much you can afford and you have your pre-approval letter in hand, you are ready to start your home search!
Step 3: Start your Home Search
After you have been pre-approved for a mortgage you are ready for the fun part: finding your dream home!
With a Realtor by your side to help guide you through the process you are ready to start discussing needs versus wants. Create a list of must-have home features. Your Realtor will use this list as the foundation of your home search. An experienced Realtor will be able to help you narrow down your list and discuss realistic expectations targeted to your loan approval amount.
Once your home needs are determined your Realtor will start an MLS home search tailored to your specific needs and search area. You’ve likely already been searching the internet for homes for sale but now is the time to get serious about available homes. Realtors have access to more active listings and properties that are not even listed yet. Your unique home search will alert you to these newly listed properties as they hit the market.
An experienced local Realtor will provide you with local area and neighborhood information and will help you expand your search to get the most home for your dollar. Often times directing you to areas that you may have overlooked.
Step 4: Make an Offer
You’ve found your dream home and now it’s time to get serious! It is time to submit an offer and sign a contract.
Your Realtor will work closely with you to submit a reasonable and solid offer. In today’s market, in Colorado, this can often include a bidding war with other buyers wanting your same dream home. If this happens to you, you will be thankful you took the time to meet with your lender first and obtained the pre-approval letter. Buyers who skip this step can often be passed over in a bidding war due to the time it takes to obtain this approval at the last minute.
Your offer contract will include things like:
- Buyer and seller information
- Property address
- Purchase price, cash offer or mortgage type
- Down payment
- Items included with the home
- Closing date
The contract process can be quick and easy but sometimes negotiations get intense, especially if the property has multiple offers. You will want a Realtor on your side experienced in negotiations. Your Realtor will be able to give you sound advice and will help keep emotion out of your transaction.
Step 5: Get a Home Inspection
It’s official, when you get to this step you are under contract on your new home! Congratulations!
But the process is not over yet. While this is an exciting time, it is also the time to make sound financial decisions. As the buyer, you have the right to a home inspection and this is a step you should not skip.
A home inspection is one of the most important precautions you can take before purchasing your home.
A home inspection is your protection and insight into the home’s condition that you are purchasing. Your inspection will reveal any major problems with the home. Think faulty foundation, mold, asbestos, deteriorating roof, etc. If the home inspection reveals problems, rest assured most problems are fixable but as the buyer, you have the right to ask the seller to fix a problem, reduce the price, or to cancel your contract.
Step 6: Get a Home Appraisal
If you are submitting a cash offer on a home, you can choose to skip this step. But, if you are getting a home loan, your lender will require an appraisal evaluating the value of the property before the loan is issued.
An appraisal protects you and your lender from paying more than the home is worth. If your appraisal comes in lower than your contract price, your Realtor will advise you on your options.
Step 7: Closing Day!
It’s closing day! You did it. You have carefully saved, planned, and searched for your new home. Today is the day you will have the keys in hand, but first the paperwork.
Prior to closing, you will receive a copy of your closing documents to review so there are no surprises. You will receive copies of closing costs, pro-rated property taxes, HOA fees (if applicable), and homeowner’s insurance.
This is the time to ask questions if there are any terms or conditions that you do not understand. This is one of the biggest purchases you will make, so you should be clear on exactly what you are signing.
Once you have signed all the paperwork, you are ready to move in. Congratulations! You are a homeowner!
Step 8: Caring for your Investment
Buying a home is an investment. You saved up money to purchase a home and put in a lot of time and energy into choosing the best home for your family.
When the time is right you will want to sell your home for more than you purchased it because it will grow in value. Here are some things you can do to make sure your home will increase in value.
- Get a home insurance policy.
- Don’t skip the home inspections.
- Maintain your home.
- Get a home warranty.
- Check and maintain fire alarms and CO2 detectors.
- Keep your home clean and clutter-free.
- Maintain weekly, monthly, and yearly cleaning tasks.
By following these easy steps, you will have a wonderfully maintained home to enjoy and protect your investment for years to come.