Buying Information

Buying a house requires a lot of time and effort, but these 7 steps can not only help make the home buying process more manageable but also help you make the best possible decision.

Determine How Much You Can Afford

Determining how much you can afford should be the first step in your home buying process. Not only will you have to make a monthly mortgage payment, but you should also keep in mind other expenses of owning a home which include household maintenance, monthly utilities, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and potential homeowner’s association dues. Plus you will want to consider how much you can afford for a down payment on your new home. The more you pay up-front as a down payment will reduce your monthly mortgage payment over the life of the home loan.

Lenders generally recommend that people look for homes that cost no more than three to five times their annual household income if the home buyers plan to make a 20% down payment and have a moderate amount of other debt.

But you should make this determination based on your own financial situation. Use our Mortgage Calculator to see how much you can afford for a monthly mortgage payment.

MORTGAGE CALCULATOR

Get Prequalified and Preapproved for Credit from a Mortgage Lender

Before you start looking for a home, you will need to know how much you can actually spend. The best way to do that is to get prequalified for a mortgage. To get prequalified, you just need to provide some financial information to your mortgage lender, such as your income and the amount of savings and investments you have. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much they can lend you. This will tell you the price range of the homes you should be looking at. Later, you can get preapproved for credit, which involves providing your financial documents (W-2 statements, paycheck stubs, bank account statements, etc.) so your lender can verify your financial status and credit.

Lenders have a wide range of competitively priced loan programs available that you may qualify for so make sure you do your research and apply with reputable mortgage lenders. You may be interested in keeping your monthly payments as low as possible while another buyer may be interested in making sure that their monthly payments never increase. So make sure you tell your Mortgage Lender which you prefer so that they can get you the best possible loan that you qualify for.

Find the Right Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are important partners when you’re buying or selling a home. They can provide you with helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that isn’t easily accessible to the general public. Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent when buying a home. They’re compensated for working with you is paid by the seller of the house as a commission for the sale.

I am available to assist you as your home buying or selling agent! Give me a call at 612-269-1902 or fill out my contact form for more details.

Click Here to Search the MLS

Shop for Your Home

Start touring homes in your price range. It might be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit because it can be hard to remember everything about them. You might also want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home.

Make sure you check out the little details when touring homes like:

  • Turning light switches on and off to test the electrical system
  • Flushing the toilet and turning on the shower to check the home’s water pressure as well as to see how long it takes to get hot water
  • Opening and closing windows and doors throughout the house to see if they work properly
  • Checking the age of the hot water heater and the furnace to see when they were installed so that you don’t have an unexpected expense not long after you purchase the house
  • How much outside noise you hear inside the house like traffic noise, trains, neighbors, etc.

Take as much time as you need when you tour a home to make sure you find the right house for you.

Make an Offer

Once you find your new home that is in your price range, you will want to work with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. The home offer process may take some time so be prepared for the seller to either refuse your offer or come back to you with a counteroffer. If this happens, you have the option to refuse their offer or present them with a counteroffer of your own.

Once you and the seller have reached an agreement on a price, the house will go into escrow, which is the period of time it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process.

Begin Contingency Period

Typically, purchase offers are contingent on a home inspection of the property to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing. Your real estate agent usually will help you arrange to have this inspection conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. This contingency protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty if the inspection reveals significant material damage.

Both you and the seller will receive a report on the home inspector’s findings. You can then decide if you want to ask the seller to fix anything on the property before closing the sale. Before the sale closes, you should request a walk-through of the house to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.

Lenders will arrange for an appraiser to provide an independent estimate of the value of the house you are buying. The appraiser is a member of a third party company and is not directly associated with the lender. The appraisal will let all the parties involved know that you are paying a fair price for the home.

After the home inspection, repairs (if applicable) and appraisal, your lender will arrange for a title company to handle all of the paperwork involved in buying a house and make sure that the seller is the rightful owner of the house you are buying.

Close the Sale

At closing, you will go to the title company to sign all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. Be prepared for the amount of paperwork you will need to sign and review at closing because there is a lot and the closing process could take an hour or more.

It can take a few days for your loan to be funded after the paperwork is returned to the lender. Once the loan has been funded and payment has been made to the seller, you will receive the keys from the seller and you are ready to move into your new home!

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