Steps to Buying a Home
Although you can find dozens of steps to buying a home, understanding how and when to perform five simple reviews is sufficient to get you off the computer and walking through potential new homes.
Whether you’re buying your first home or your seventh, a careful review of your finances should always be among the first steps to buying a home. Use this review phase to look beyond your account balances, income and household budget. Instead, focus on the bigger picture of how money affects your life.
- Are my kids in need of braces, athletic equipment or regular tuition?
- Can I afford a down payment without draining my emergency fund?
- If my company files for bankruptcy tomorrow, do I have marketable skills to find a new job quickly?
- Will buying a new home right now put undue stress on my finances or my relationships?
Once you know your finances are in order, one of your next steps to buying a home should be a location review. Where do you want to live? Driving around a variety of interesting neighborhoods in your spare time can give you a sense of what you like and what’s available. Also consider:
- Crime rates
- Local school districts
- Police and Fire Rescue response times
- Shopping and convenience services
- Traffic noise and congestion.
The mortgage review is perhaps the most important of the steps to buying a home. If you cannot secure home financing, little else will matter. Resist making this your first step because:
- A financial review may show you cannot afford to move.
- There may not be any available homes in your area within your anticipated price range.
- You can experience pressure to act prematurely when a mortgage representative mentions rising interest rates.
Although it’s smart to consider all steps to buying a home necessary, you don’t have to use a realtor in all situations. People who enjoy searching for properties, researching neighborhoods and contract negotiations may not benefit from real estate professionals. To decide , ask yourself:
- Am I confident I can get the most extras for the lowest home purchase price?
- Can I devote time to visiting homes and researching neighborhoods?
- Do I know where to look to find complete listings of available homes?
If the answers to any of those questions left you with an uneasy feeling, consider turning the tedious part of your home buying experience over to a realtor.
Once you make your way through the initial steps to buying a home and have a house in mind, it’s time to ensure your dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare money pit. To review property for purchase:
- Determine the fair market value through an independent appraiser.
- Let certified home inspectors look for defects with wiring, plumbing, foundation or other structural areas.
- Visit the home during odd hours on nights and weekends. That quiet neighborhood you visit on Sunday afternoon may be a non-stop party on Friday night.
By following these steps to buying a home, you can prepare yourself for the possibility of a move without bogging yourself down at the beginning with the minute home closing details.