If you’re like most people, buying a home represents your single biggest investment – and debt. As such, the home-buying process can be one of the most exciting and one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever go through. This may be true whether you’ve bought many homes or you’re looking to buy your first.
Because here are many factors to consider when purchasing a home, here’s a step-by-step overview of the process.
1. Identify your goals
Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s all the more important for you to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible. This means determining why you’re buying a home and what kind of home you’re looking for. Because buying and financing a home are so closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and determining how much home you can afford. Knowing this will put you in a better position to research your housing and home loan options.
2. Get pre-approved
Generally, it is recommended that you get pre-qualified for a loan before you start viewing homes. The pre-approval process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history so you can get prequalified. This way, you’ll know how much you can borrow to buy a home.
3. Contact a Real Estate Agent
Buying real estate is a complex matter, given that there are so many factors to consider and no two homes or transactions are alike. With all the unique opportunities and potential pitfalls of the current market, it is important to contact a Real Estate Agent once you’ve decided to buy.
4. Find your dream home
The key to finding your dream home is to know what you’re looking for. Identify the “must-haves” from the “like-to-haves” so you’ll know what’s really important to you. Nearly 90 percent of buyers use the Internet to search for homes. The typical buyer searches for 12 weeks and views 12 homes.
5. Make an offer
Work with your Real Estate Agent to determine your sale price, terms of purchase, closing, possession dates, deposit amount, and other clauses and conditions. Once you’ve written your offer, your agent will present it to the seller and/or the seller’s representative. The seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate negotiations. Be prepared for successive counter-offers until a mutually acceptable agreement is reach or until negotiations break down.
6. Secure financing
Once both parties have agreed upon the price, it is time for you to finance the home. If you’ve prequalified with Travis Credit Union, we’ll go over all the details of financing your home and will ensure your home loan is processed as quickly as possible.
7. Closing the deal
To finalize the deal, you’ll participate in these steps during the escrow/closing process:
a. Home inspection: This is when a qualified home inspector will review the home inside and out to identify any issues that you’ll need to be aware of as the buyer.
b. Final walkthrough: This is your chance to once again view the home to ensure it is in the same condition as when you signed the sales agreement to purchase the home.
c. Settlement: This is typically the closing date and the day you’ll verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete the transaction. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments and transfer taxes. At that point, you’ll receive the property title and copies of all documentation. And the keys to your home!
Congratulations on your home purchase! The next few months will be hectic as you move in, adjust to your home and explore your neighborhood. Enjoy!
Visit traviscu.org/real-estate for more information.