The process of buying your first home can seem overwhelming, and it’s not always clear where to start and what the first step should be. With so many procedures to go through it’s tough to be sure you haven’t missed anything. Things tend to get simpler, however, when you’re able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We’ve broken down the major steps of the home buying process and created an easy-to-use checklist for buying your first home.
With the help of your agent, armed with a solid knowledge of what you can afford, and with preapproval paperwork in hand, you can now start shopping around for a home. Remember that you are buying a home to live in, and that means more than just the layout of the house – take into account the local amenities, schools (even if you don’t have or don’t plan on having children – schools have a huge impact on the home’s value), local infrastructure, and the neighborhood in general. Making sure the neighborhood suits your lifestyle is key, as it ensures that you select a home that you will actually love to live in. On average, future homeowners will spend 10 weeks searching for a home, so be patient. Buying a home is a big step, so don’t rush it.
Home inspections are a must – just because a house looks nice from the outside doesn’t mean there aren’t hidden (and often costly) issues. Your offer should be contingent on a professional home inspection, and if any issues do arise check with the seller to see if they are willing to complete the repairs before the sale or deduct their estimated costs from the sale price. Check with your agent for recommendations here too – they may be able to refer you to an inspector and possibly even contractors for any necessary repairs.
After you’ve agreed on a price with the seller, the inspection has been completed, and any issues with the house fixed, you can close the deal on your home. This process takes time, and your real estate agent should be able to give you updates and a general idea of what kind of timeframe you can expect. Once everything has been finalized you will receive the keys to your new home. You can now begin painting or any other renovations you have planned and move in to your new home.