Checklist For Purchasing A New Home
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- Before you spend time touring homes, check your credit score to make sure you qualify for a mortgage.
- Get prequalified for a mortgage to narrow down the sales price range that you’re considering before getting serious about searching for a new home.
- After getting prequalified, review your budget to determine what a comfortable mortgage payment looks like for you—remember: the maximum loan amount for which you qualify does not mean it fits your budget.
- Keep in mind that you will likely need cash for your down payment, closing costs and additional funds—talk to your lender to determine the exact amount.
- By providing your real estate agent with your list of requests and requirements, we can narrow down the search to only include homes that closely match your criteria.
- Look beyond the aesthetics of the properties you tour, keeping in mind that small changes can be made post-purchase while more serious issues may be more complex to address.
- Schedule a home inspection and use the information reported to determine if you want to continue with the purchase, negotiate with the seller to complete repair work before closing or withdraw from the sale.
- Hire a skilled, experienced real estate team to guide you through every step of the process and make finding your dream home a breeze.
Regardless of whether you are preparing to buy your first home or you’re an experienced homebuyer, you want to make a smart, informed decision when selecting your new home—and understandably so! But even more than that, you want the home-buying process to be as straightforward and hassle-free as possible.
While each home purchase is unique, there are some essential steps that you can take to enjoy a better buying experience from start to finish.
Prepare Yourself for Success
Check Your Credit Score — Before you spend time touring homes, make sure you qualify for a mortgage. Review your credit scores for all three major bureaus, and ensure that everything being reported is accurate. It can take several months to correct an error that may be bringing down your score, so now’s the time to take necessary action. If your score is lower than you’d prefer, you may need to spend a few months working to improve your credit—things like paying down your debt can help to boost your score.
Get Prequalified — If you’re opting to purchase through a home loan, it makes sense to get prequalified for a mortgage before you get serious about searching for your new home. With all the right documentation in-hand, this step can be completed fairly quickly. It enables you to shop with confidence and to narrow down the sales price range that you are considering and that you can afford.
Review Your Budget: Through the prequalification process, the lender will use its own guidelines to determine the maximum loan amount for which you qualify. However, this does not mean that the highest payment you qualify for comfortably suits your unique budget. This is because the lender does not review all aspects of your budget, such as childcare expenses, entertainment, clothing and more. After getting prequalified, review your budget to determine what a comfortable mortgage payment is for you.
Analyze Your Available Cash — Many homebuyers underestimate how much cash they will need to buy a new home. Keep in mind that you will likely need a sizable chunk of change for your down payment, although the exact amount will be based on the mortgage program you choose as well as the sales price of your new home. In addition, you should estimate approximately 3 percent of the sales price for closing costs. Many lenders may also require you to have additional funds (like two to three months of mortgage payments) in reserve after closing. Talk to your lender about the funds you should have in place prior to purchase.
Let the House-Hunting Commence!
Hire a Real Estate Agent —After taking these steps, you are ready to begin looking for your new dream home. The first step in this stage of the process is to hire a skilled, experienced real estate agent. Our team is committed to getting you into a home that you will love living in for years to come.
Define Your Needs and Wants — Spend some time identifying what you’re looking for in your new home—include things like neighborhood attributes, general location, size, special features and more. It’s also a good idea to determine what qualities are your ‘musts’ versus your ‘wants.’ By providing your real estate agent with your list of requests and requirements, we can narrow down the search to only include homes that closely match your criteria.
Know What to Look For — It’s time to start touring homes—a lot of homes. It’s easy to fall in love with a property’s curb appeal and beautiful interior, but it’s important to look beyond the aesthetics of the property. Look for signs of water damage and structural vulnerabilities; pay attention to the condition of the flooring and the age of the appliances, if they’re included in the sale. It’s easy to get hung up on small details, but try to keep in mind that some things can easily be changed after you move, such as the color of the walls or cabinet hardware. Other things, however, may be much harder and more expensive to fix, such as foundation issues.
Schedule a Property Inspection — You can determine quite a bit about a property’s condition just by being observant, but you also should reach out to a professional home inspector for a more thorough review of the potential property. After you have selected a property and your offer has been accepted, there will be a contingency period during which you can order and review a property inspection. This inspection report provides you with detailed information about the condition of the home’s major systems and components. You may use this information to determine if you want to continue with the purchase of the home, if you want to negotiate with the seller to complete repair work before closing or if you decide you no longer wish to move forward with the sale.
Get the (House) Party Started
Although the home-buying process can be complex and, at times, overwhelming, having an experienced real estate team on your side can help to make finding your dream home a breeze. Robbie Breaux & Team can help guide you through every step of the process to ensure you make an informed, confident decision. Contact us to learn more about the home-buying process and to begin searching for your dream home today.