Buying a house, especially when you are buying a house for the first time, can be one of the most fundamental decisions in our lifetime. These houses are the places where we build and live our lives. They are the places where we go to relax after busy and stressful days. They are the places where our family and friends come together. Homes are central to the most important aspects of our lives.
However, buying a house for the first time can be such a daunting task. How do you go about the process? Here are the seven essential steps to buying a house for the first time:
Step #1: Determine what house you want to buy
Before you can start buying a house, you need to know what you are looking for. You need to determine what you want: location, size, ready to move in or a fixer-upper? Knowing what you want will set the parameters for your search.
Don’t forget to consider what you absolutely do not want. It is almost as important as knowing what you want. After all, the process of elimination can be a strong determining factor in any decision.
Step #2: Research before buying a house.
Your next step to buying a house is to do a lot of research. Start your research early, as early as possible. Your research should begin long before you intend to actually purchase a house.
In fact, you should combine this step with step number one. Researching the options available will allow you to get a better idea of what you want. As you see what is available, you will notice things that you would never have thought of on your own: things that you have to have and things that you just can’t stand.
Step #3: Determine a budget for buying a house.
After having done your research, you should know how much things cost in your desired area. Unfortunately, that is not the sole determining factor of your budget. You will need to go to the bank to see what kind of loans you are eligible for and how big of a loan you can get. Remember that bigger loans will take longer to pay back and that the future will hold a lot of unexpected costs.
Once you know both of these things, you will be able to decide on your budget. Your budget should be a balance between the money that you can access and the cost of what you want.
Step #4: Hire a real estate agent.
Real estate agents are the professional experts who will get you access to all of the home for sale that you want to see. You may think that you can do this on your own, but a real estate agent will save you a lot of hassle and help steer you away from any mistakes you might make on your own. Real estate agents are especially helpful when you are buying a house for the first time.
Step #5: Visit the houses you might buy.
Now comes the fun part, especially when you are buying a house for the first time! With your real estate agent, visit homes. Visiting homes is fun, but you do need to be prepared and organised. Prepare some questions to ask beforehand, make sure to really take your time and get a look at every room.
If possible, take some pictures and afterwards take some notes on what you just saw (once you have seen many houses you may start forgetting some stuff).
Step #6: Inspect the house you’re about to buy.
Your real estate agent will walk you through the steps that follow after you’ve decided to buy a house for the first time.
One of the most important of these steps is getting a home inspection. These do cost and that may make it seem unnecessary at the time, but it is not. A home inspection is what lets you know if the house is hiding any problems. Houses can have mold, weak foundations, water damage, bad electrical work, no insulation, not be up-to code, be infested, and a whole series of other things. Most of these problems are not visible when you walk through the house.
Buying a house without getting an inspection first mean that when you find out about these problems you will already own the house. That means that you will be responsible for paying for these things. That can be really expensive.
The inspection means that if the house has too many problems you can back out before buying it and find a better house instead. For smaller problems, your real estate agent can help you to negotiate a better price or to have these issues fixed before you move in.
Step #7: Pay the money for buying a house.
The last step to buying a house will involve all the financial and legal documentation. After an inspection, you will need to come to an agreement with the homeowners on a price. Then, you will need to get the money together. This involves working with a mortgage banker. These professionals have a lot of experience dealing with new home buyers and will be able to walk you through the entire process.
You will then need to have the home appraised and coordinate paperwork, before the sale is closed and the home becomes officially yours. This is where you really need a real estate agent. They know how this process works, and will walk you through the entire process.