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How to Start the Process of Buying a Home

How to Start the Process of Buying a Home

Once you’ve decided you want to become a homeowner you may not know what step to take next. Should you hire a real estate agent? Should you find a lender? Should you start searching real estate listings on your own? Here’s a look at the typical home buying process to know if you are ready to start looking for the perfect property.

  1. Assess your Situation - Buying a house is a major financial commitment. You need to determine if you have enough income and assets to afford a monthly mortgage payment. You can start with online mortgage calculators. These will give you a basic idea of the price range you can afford.

  2. Get Pre-Approved - It’s also a good idea to talk with a mortgage lender and get preapproved for a loan. Getting preapproved will give you a preliminary promise for financing up to a certain amount. In order to be preapproved, you will need to provide the lender with several pieces of important information. These will include a few months of bank statements, the last two years' worth of tax returns, your Social Security number (so they run a credit check), and information on any other assets and debts that you have.

  3. Select a Real Estate Agent - The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the traditional method of going through a real estate agent to view homes. Many homes were available only by digital tour and others could be self-scheduled online. However, this is not the case for all homes today. Plus, a real estate agent can do so much more than help you get helpful in to see homes. Their wealth of information and knowledge about your local market can be invaluable. Their connections with other agents and ability to negotiate on your behalf should be a huge benefit in the process as well. Asking for referrals from friends, family and locals is often the best way to find a great agent.

  4. Search Listings, Attend Open Houses, and Tour Properties - Here’s where your home search starts in earnest. Your agent can send you properties they think you might like and with so many free online databases today, you can also request to see properties that catch your eye. Be aware that inventory of both new and existing homes has been very limited over the past two years. This may result in a much longer home search than you are anticipating. It could be a matter of months or even a year before you find the perfect property. If you are looking to get into a home quickly, be prepared to compromise on some of your dream home wish list. You should also inform your agent of your desire to be aggressive in your purchase offers.

  5. Make an Offer That Gets Accepted - Once you find the right property, you may have to outbid others to secure it. Talk to your agent about what would make your offer attractive to the sellers.

You can actually be browsing real estate listings throughout this entire process to get an idea of what’s out there and at what price. However, in today’s competitive housing market, it makes little sense to physically go view properties until you have the proper financing and a real estate agent lined up.

Give us a call today with any questions that you have. We would love to help you buy a home!