Buying a home for the first time can be exciting, overwhelming, and rewarding. Your home is one of the largest financial investments you will ever make, and for first-time homebuyers, financial preparation is an essential key to your success. It’s prudent to pay off debts as well as save for your down payment when planning to buy your first home. If you have rented until this point, find a class on buying a home and learn about the process from the professionals.
1. Get your finances in order.
Obtain a credit report from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. If there are issues to resolve on the report, address them promptly in order to qualify for the best possible loan product. Save toward your down payment. Realize that the more you save before you buy, the better your position to get into the house you desire.
2. Find the right loan.
Experienced loan officers will offer you various loan products from which to choose. There are often first-time homebuyer loan programs available with extra perks just for you. Ask about down payment assistance programs. Realize that loans are products, so look at a few options. Next, evaluate the best loan product for your budget.
3. Create a realistic budget.
Calculate how much you can spend on your new home. Talk with a lender about being pre-approved for a loan to give you a better idea of what you can afford. During such a consultation, your debt-to-income ratio is calculated and a maximum loan amount determined. The amount you have saved for your down payment also affects how much home you can afford.
4. Contact an experienced realtor.
The right fit is essential in finding the best REALTOR® to meet your needs. Look for someone with history and experience in buying homes in the part of town where you want to purchase a home. Not only is the REALTOR® your guide and advocate, but they also help you negotiate the purchase of your home. It’s vital to hire someone from a reputable company who has your best interest at heart, knows the city, stays up to date on the market, and acts quickly when a great house appears on the market.
5. Find the right home for you.
Decide which areas of town you like that your budget can accommodate. Remember children—they are important too. Educate yourself on which school districts are best—even if you don’t have children. When you resell your home, the school district your home is located in will be a key consideration of the future buyer too. Consider going home shopping in the off-season when there is less competition and more potential bargaining power. In general, winter months provide awesome opportunities to negotiate a new home purchase for an excellent price. Download popular apps like Zillow, Redfin, and Homesnap to learn the market and browse options.
6. Make an offer on your new home.
When you’ve found the right home for you, move quickly to make a bid. With the help of your REALTOR®, compare statistics on recent homes that have sold in the area in which you are planning to buy. Understand how the recent home sales in your area affect your home buying and bidding. If the market is slow, you have a greater ability to negotiate a lower price. As you and the seller reach a mutually agreed upon price and your offer is accepted, an estimated closing date will be established.
7. Enter into the contract.
The contract is contingent upon obtaining a mortgage loan, completing a home inspection without major flaws, and your guaranteed walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing. Your good-faith deposit will be placed in an escrow account and applied toward the home purchase at closing. Taking steps such as having a pre-approved loan in place will make the process of entering into the contract go more swiftly and smoothly.
8. Obtain homeowner’s insurance.
Lenders require homeowner’s insurance, so take out a homeowner’s policy, and then secure the loan product you chose. Decide on either a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage, and decide if you will pay points or not. The home will need to be appraised at this time as well.
9. Get a home inspection.
A home inspection is a thorough inspection of your new home’s condition. The electrical system, plumbing, roofing, insulation, HVAC, fireplace, limited structure, exterior surfaces, and crawl spaces are all inspected. And for additional fees, termites, wood rot, mold, air ducts, and a radon gas inspection can be purchased to give you even more detailed information about the house. Plan to be present during the inspection in order to learn the particulars of your new home. If the inspector uncovers large problems, negotiate whether the seller will fix the issues before closing or reduce the price of the home by the amount needed for the repairs.
10. Have a successful closing on your first home.
Once you’ve completed your final walk through within 24 hours before closing, the last step is to come to the closing table and seal the deal. Your REALTOR® will accompany you to the closing and provide the necessary documentation for the transaction. The ownership of the home will transfer from the seller to you by the end of the closing. Garage door openers and any other items necessary to gain access to your new home will be in your hands by the end of the closing. Remember to bring a government-issued photo I.D. such as your driver’s license, and be prepared to sign a lot of papers. Your REALTOR® will meet you at the closing location—often a title company—and you will leave that location as the proud owner of your first home! McGraw REALTORS® will help you buy your first home with confidence. To get started and find your first home, call 918-592-6000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We look forward to seeing your dreams become reality!