How to buy a home in 7 simple steps
Buying a home for the first time, or at any phase of your life, can be a daunting experience, but it's also an exciting one. There are many things to consider and plan for, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can make the process go smoothly. We’ve pulled together 7 steps in the home-buying process to make the process as smooth as it can be.
1. Start by planning
To start yourself down the path of buying a home, you’ll need to begin preparing your finances, and begin determining your needs and wants in a home.
Make sure you have a solid financial foundation. This includes having a good credit score, a steady income, and a down payment saved up. It's a good idea to check your credit score and address any issues well before you start the home-buying process.
Also, determine your needs and wants. Before you start looking for a home, consider the areas and neighborhoods that you are most interested in. Consider their proximity to your work and areas that you frequent the most. Consider the school districts that you are most interested in, even if you don’t have children yet. Determine the size of the home that you need now, bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, and consider the size of the home that you will need in the future. This will help you to best focus your search and to determine which properties are the best fit for you. Read more about this topic in our blog 6 Questions to Help Identify Your Ideal Place to Live.
2. Hire a REALTOR®
Having a real estate professional can be a great asset when buying your home. They will be able to guide you through the process and can help you to find homes that fit your needs and budget, as well as expertly advocate for you through complex situations. Your local real estate professional will know the local real estate market and will have many connections to local trusted lenders and vendors. In a market when inventory is tight, they will be able to provide you home-search resources above and beyond MLS access, helping you find your dream home.
3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Once your finances are in order, you'll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a good idea of how much you can afford to spend on a home, and will make the process of finding a home more efficient since it will help you focus your search to homes that are within a price band that you can qualify for. Consider consulting with your REALTOR® to find the best local lenders in the St. Louis Metro Area.
4. View homes in your price range
Once you know how much you can afford to spend, you can start looking for homes that fit within your budget and viewing those homes with your REALTOR®. Be sure to consider any additional costs such as HOA fees and property taxes, when determining the cost of the home. Check out our blog on 10 Things to Consider When Viewing a Home for more information.
5. Make and Negotiate an Offer
Once you have found the home within your budget that meets your needs and you are ready to make an offer on, your REALTOR® will guide you through the process of preparing an offer and negotiating. Price, terms and conditions will be negotiated. Read through all seller-provided disclosures.
With the help of your REALTOR®, consider the contingencies that are most appropriate for your particular situation. We usually recommend getting a home inspection. A home/property inspection will give you a good idea of the condition of the home and whether there are any major repairs that need to be made. Learn more about what to expect when making an offer in our "What to Expect When Making an Offer on a Home"!
6. Contract Accepted
If the seller agrees to the terms of your offer, they will sign and return the contract, thereby accepting the contract. Once all parties sign the contract, it is a “fully-executed contract”, and you are officially under contract for the purchase of a home, and you are one step closer to owning a home.
7. Navigate Contract-to-Close
Once you are under contract, you'll need to navigate the contract-to-close period, with the help of your real estate agent. Your contract may have several contingencies, like depositing earnest money, inspecting the property, ability to obtain insurance, appraisal contingency, survey, clear title, loan commitment, and various other contingencies or riders to the contract. Time is of the essence with regard to meeting the terms and conditions of these contracts.
The reward of successfully meeting the timelines and hurdles of the contract-to-close period, is receiving the keys to your new home on closing day!
Buying a home for the first time can be a big step, but with proper preparation and guidance, the process can be a smooth and exciting one. Remember that the most important step is to understand the full spectrum of the buying process, and doing your own research, in order to be an educated buyer. Having a financial plan and making sure that your finances are in order will also put you in a better position to confidently purchase your first home. With this knowledge, it's time to take the first step and dive into the home-buying process.
As your real estate professional, at The Chad Wilson Group, we see our role as tying these steps together as smoothly as possible and keeping you informed along the way. In doing so, our goal is for your home-buying experience, whether it is your first home or your fifth home, to be a fantastic experience. If you have any questions about the home-buying process in the St. Louis Metro Area, or if you are interested in starting the home-buying process with our team, get started today by filling out the Contact Form below!