Decide What You Want
Before you start looking, make a list of what you want and assign each item a priority. Some areas to consider are the location,type of home, and age of the home.
Find Your Realtor®
FInd a professional Realtor® who listens to you, answers your questions, and works to find just the right home for you. Your Real estate agent should help you navigate the whole process, keep you informed, and go to bat for you to make sure you get the
Know What You Can Afford
- Most loans require a downpayment. The amount varies, but 20% of the purchase price is typical. If you’re a first-time buyer or fall below certain income thresholds, you may qualify for affordable housing programs. Generally, a higher down payment means better loan terms and a lower interest expense on the mortgage.
- Qualifying for a loan: A lender will determine how much he thinks you can afford based on your income, employment history, education, assets (e.g., bank account balances, other property, insurance policies, pension funds), and debt. Check your credit report before the lender does to clear up any problems.
Unless you’re paying cash for the home, you’ll need a loan. Keep in mind the true price of financing goes beyond the interest rate alone. Consider items such as points, total lender fees, term of the loan, and penalties for early payment. The lender will likely require an appraisal to verify that the home is worth the cost of the loan as well as a physical survey. Repairs may be required. Insurance must be purchased. All these conditions and others must be satisfied before a transaction can close.
Make an Offer
You’ve figured out your home-search criteria and what you can afford. Now find a house and make an offer. Your REALTOR® is an invaluable part of this process. She will help you prepare a contract, negotiate, juggle inspections and option periods, and more.
- Earnest Money
- Option Fee Money
Close the Deal
After weeks or even months of research and decision-making, you close the transaction, usually at the title company’s office. You will receive notice of everything you will need at closing. The title agent ask you to sign many, many documents and will explain each one. You’ll present a cashier’s check to the seller, sign another document that itemizes closing costs and pay your share of the closing costs. In return, you will receive a deed, transferring ownership rights to you.