Most people go into buying their first home knowing it will be a multi-step process, but they don’t usually know exactly what to expect. There is definitely a learning curve involved, but that doesn’t mean you should jump right in without doing some research first.
The easiest way to start your research is to go online. Websites like Redfin are dedicated to answering buyers’ top home-buying questions, such as how checking your credit score affects your mortgage options, how to set a home-buying budget, why you need a good real estate agent, and what type of paperwork you’ll need.
To get you started with the process, Rocky Mountain Home Inspections breaks down the basic steps involved, along with how your questions fit into the picture.
Figure Out Finances First
According to US News, the first thing you should do is pay down debt, and while you’re at it, keep an eye on your credit score. Paying bills on time will help raise your credit score, which is important since this number will impact your eligibility for financing.
The other big part of figuring out finances is to determine your budget. Real estate experts at CNBC caution against buying more homes than you can realistically afford. That’s because, in addition to mortgage payments, there are also hidden costs of homeownership, such as taxes, insurance, maintenance, and higher utility bills.
With these costs in mind, the next piece of the puzzle is to find a home loan. While some buyers qualify for special loan options like FHA loans, most buyers will get a conventional mortgage. The advantage of conventional home loans is that they typically have low interest rates, with options to choose an adjustable rate or fixed rate, which gives you flexibility and keeps your costs down. You don’t always need to pay 20 percent down, but the benefit of having at least a 20 percent down payment is that you can avoid purchasing mortgage insurance.
Create Your Wish List and Tour Homes
Since you’re looking into buying a home, you probably already have a general idea of what you want. Now is the time to get serious about which features are must-haves and which ones you’re willing to compromise on. A good real estate agent can help you determine which of those demands are realistic based on your budget and the area, but they can only do that if you communicate what you want. Your real estate agent can also help you figure out special situations that pop up, which you may not have thought about. For example, some buyers find that they have to compromise on either size or location if homes that fit your budget in your ideal neighborhood are smaller than those in a different part of town.
Make an Offer
When you’ve found the right home, making an offer and negotiating is another time when you’ll be glad to have a real estate agent! After your offer is accepted, the next steps include getting an inspection and appraisal, and then setting a closing date.
Work with a Reliable Home Inspector
The home inspection is one of the final and most important hurdles to get through. While not all lenders require a home inspection, having a professional go through your potential home from top to bottom and in every nook and cranny ensures you have full disclosure about any significant issues. This could be in the form of foundational problems, an old roof, worn out and barely functional HVAC systems, plumbing and electrical issues and more. It’s your last line of defense before you make such a significant investment. Plus, with Rocky Mountain Home Inspections, your expert will use state-of-the-art technology to pinpoint any concerns you should know about, and they’ll have the results to you within 24 hours.
We know that this process can feel overwhelming at first. Once you’ve found your perfect first home, though, all the work you’ve put into making it happen will be worth the time it takes.
If you think you've found the perfect home, it's time to bring in an expert from Rocky Mountain Home Inspections. With us, you can count on a thorough inspection and a detailed report without a long wait. Reach out to us today! 208-656-5753