Think you know what is required of you to buy a home? At first glance, it can seem like you’re more than prepared. You’ve improved your credit score, saved up for a down payment, and determined your list of needs and must-haves so you can find the perfect property. All that should be left to do is find a real estate agent, choose a home, and move in…right?
Buying a Home
Well, not exactly. There are a lot of in-between steps that must be followed before you actually receive the keys to your house. Oversight on your part could derail the whole process and put you back at square one which is why you want to make sure you’ve done every step accordingly. Here are some things you may have forgotten about (or weren’t aware of) when it comes to purchasing a home.
Obvious: Get a Mortgage
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Unless you plan on purchasing a home in cash, you’ll need to obtain a mortgage. You should look for a mortgage company that offers various homeowners programs and benefits to reduce the cost of purchasing a home. You also want a service provider that offers reasonable interest rates and perhaps additional conveniences like the inclusion of homeowners insurance and property taxes in the mortgage payment to make budgeting easier for you.
Not So Obvious: Pre-Approvals
Most buyers are aware that they’ll need a mortgage to purchase a property but were unaware that they should apply for a pre-approval letter prior to shopping for a home. Why? Well, a pre-approval gives you a clear understanding of what lenders might be willing to give you for the property. This prevents you from shopping in a price range you can’t afford. A pre-approval letter is also instrumental when trying to put an offer on a house as the market can be competitive and sellers are looking for serious offers.
Obvious: Hire a Real Estate Agent
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As a first time home buyer, it is recommended that you hire a real estate agent. Armed with housing listings, a network of real estate professionals, and knowledge of the real estate market, they are instrumental in helping you to narrow down your search and find the perfect residence.
Not So Obvious: Hire an Attorney
You may have been aware that you should hire a real estate agent to help with the finding and purchasing of your new home, but did you know that you may also need an attorney as well? Once you’ve found a home you’re interested in, you’ll go through what is called a closing. During this time, legal contracts are drawn up, a title search is done on the property to check for liens, and all involved parties are required to fill out and sign paperwork to transfer ownership.
While some states require homeowners to hire a real estate attorney, others allow you to make a choice. However, if you’ve never dealt with contracts or real estate before, you may want to consider it. Everything from a lien on the property to a potential lawsuit or a seller backing out of the deal could go wrong and you want an attorney who will make sure your best interests are kept in mind.
Obvious: Find a Home and Make an Offer
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Once you’ve hired a real estate agent you’re ready to begin looking at properties. The search could take a few weeks or months, but eventually, you find a house you like. The next step would seem to be to make an offer on the house and start the closing process.
Not so Obvious: Home Inspection
To the untrained eye, a house can look like a dream and perfect in every way. It’s not until you’ve moved in that you begin to see things like a leaky roof, an old furnace, or the presence of pests and mold in the house. It is imperative that you know what you’re buying before you sign on the dotted line. A home inspection is, therefore, crucial for buyers. It exposes them to underlying issues in the home allowing them to decide whether they want to offer less, requests the seller make the repairs or skip making an offer altogether.
There’s a lot more to buying a house than you may have realized when you made the decision you were ready to be a homeowner. Though the process can be long and sometimes confusing, with the help of professionals like your loan officer, real estate agent, an attorney, you’ll get through it a lot easier. So you don’t overlook any of the not so obvious steps to buying a home, keep a detailed list of things to do and mark them off along the way.