Buying a home involves a lot more than just making sure your furniture will look cute in a new location. Since it is such a major investment, there are a lot of legal and financial matters to consider, and you also need to make sure the house is truly right for you. If you are new to homebuying, use this checklist to make sure you do not forget anything important.
Put Your Finances in Order
The very first thing you need to do is start getting your finances ready. Research mortgage options in your area to decide what sort of loan you want, so you can figure out how much of a downpayment you need. Check your credit score and see how you can improve it.
Get a Mortgage Preapproval
Getting a preapproval ensures that you have the funds needed to get a house, and it helps to show sellers you are a serious buyer. Take the time to shop around instead of going with the first offer you get. If you do not want to search for loans yourself, consider a broker who can help you find one that fits your needs.
Think About Your Property Needs
Before you even start looking seriously, try to get an idea of the type of property you want. Consider things like location, size, condition, and style. In addition to more basic details, consider what you need to fit your lifestyle. Think about things like school districts, your preferred layout, the size of yard you want, the number of floors, and more.
Find a Good Realtor
It is possible to skip a realtor, but there is really no reason to when there is no cost for the buyer and a huge amount of benefit. You usually need a realtor to set up showings and get access to premarket listings, and they also walk you through each step of buying the home.
Put an Offer on a House
Once you find your dream home, you need to work with your realtor to actually put an offer in on it. This goes over how much you want to pay, when you want to close, and other important details. Be prepared for a little negotiation with the seller, and learn about your local real estate market to see if you need to offer more or less than the asking price.
Fulfill Your Contractual Requirements
After your offer is accepted, you usually have a few weeks before you officially close. Be sure to read your contract and your mortgage application carefully to fulfill all the requirements listed before the deadlines. This usually includes things like actually obtaining your mortgage, getting money deposited in escrow accounts, and negotiating repairs for the house.
Get Your Warranty and Insurance in Order
Make sure your house is protected before you actually take possession of it. You may need to figure out what a home warranty is and shop around for the best offers. It is also necessary to find a home insurance company that will offer the level of coverage you need.
Plan Your Move
Do not get so caught up in closing on the house that you forget about the inevitable move. Remember to schedule your movers or rent equipment a few weeks in advance, change your address, and switch over all your utilities to the new property.
By following this checklist, you can find your dream home without skipping any important steps of buying a home. After you finish this checklist, the only thing you have left to do is enjoy your new home!