In the last couple of years, the number of home sales across the country has skyrocketed. There’s nothing like the experience of purchasing your own home for the first time, it’s one of the best parts of being an adult.
While great, it is a process and one that can be very overwhelming at times. The best way to make it through unscathed is to have all of the information upfront so you can know you’re on the right track and what to expect as you move through. Preparation is the key to a successful home-buying experience.
Here are the first seven steps to buying your first home and ways you can get ready to start your house hunt!
1. Gather Documentation and Information
Once you’ve gone through the whole home-buying experience, you’ll look back and realize how often you needed to verify your personal information to all the parties involved. It’s a lot of documentation until the day you move in!
In order to help the sale move quick and have no issues closing, it’s a good idea to have all of your documentation gathered and ready to go before you even start looking. We always recommend keeping a file with all the pertinent documents and receipts at the ready, this way you know where everything is without having to find it more than once.
You’ll need current bank statements, pay stubs, asset verification, and identification to start. If you’re asked for more items, you can simply add them to your folder!
2. Get Pre-Approval from Lender
After you’ve gathered your documents you’re ready for the next of the easy steps to buying your first home; pre-approval. This is where you take your financial situation to a lender and they present you with potential mortgage options. They show you how much they’ll loan you, what will be required of you, and what monthly payments will be.
Pre-approval is a crucial step to helping you snag your dream home as quickly as you can find it. Most sellers won’t accept an offer without a pre-approval letter to protect themselves.
3. Set a Budget
The pre-approval letter will also help you to determine your budget and what your price limit is for your new home. Just because you can be approved for a certain amount, doesn’t mean it’s the right amount for you or that you can afford it.
Take into account all aspects of your monthly bills, including new ones that will come with owning a home as you set your number.
Your lender will be able to help you run these numbers and determine what the best choice is for you as you move forward toward a purchase.
4. Hire the Right Professionals
While there are some who choose to go it on their own, one of the most important simple steps to buying your first home is to hire the right professionals to help you along the way. At every step, there is someone who can help you get the job done more efficiently and with much less stress.
The first thing to research is the difference between broker and agent, from there you can decide which is the better option for you. We strongly recommend hiring some real estate professionals to make sure all of the technical details get done right.
5. Make a List of Must-Haves
A quick look at your local housing market can leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed. There are so many options and you could probably make most of them work for you, it’s so hard to know where to even start your hunt!
This is why we always advise any home-buyer to make a list of their must-have items. That would include the size, number of bedrooms, yard space, garage stalls, a pool, or whatever else is a make-or-break item for you. Your list should be comprehensive but not too long. Really narrow it down to the very most important aspects.
After you have your needs list, you can make a wants list that can help you choose between several good options.
6. Study the Local Market
Real estate is an ever-changing landscape. The market changes day to day and location to location. One of the best things you can do is to have a good grasp of where your local market is at the time you start looking. This will help you know whether the prices of homes are comparable or outrageous.
This kind of research sounds overwhelming but it’s easy once you know what to look for. Your real estate professional is also a very valuable asset to use during this phase of the home-buying process as well.
7. Be Ready to Act Fast
One thing is pretty universal across all real estate markets these days and that is, everything is moving very quickly! In an ideal world, everyone would have all the time they need to think and deliberate about what the right decision is. But the simply isn’t the way it’s working right now.
That isn’t to say that you should be prepared to jump at the first home you see that could possibly work.
We always recommend taking your time and waiting until you find the right place. The key is to be ready to act quickly once you do find that place. That means having all of your ducks in a row and being as prepared as possible to move forward. Just remember, the quicker you can be the sooner you’ll be in that dream home!
Steps to Buying Your First Home
Before you even begin looking at potential homes, it’s important to fully answer the question ‘what are the steps to buying your first home?’. Jumping in too early and without the proper preparation can lead to disappointment or major regret.
We know how exciting it is to imagine your future in the very first place of your own, but you’ll be so glad you slowed down and did things in the right order. The home-buying process will be much less stressful and overwhelming overall if you do everything in the right order. Trust us!
If you’d like to learn more about owning a home, check out our other articles today!