The Home Buying Process
Steps to Buying a Home
Step 1: Check Your Credit Report & Score
Before getting a mortgage or any kind of loan, you should always check your credit. According to the law, you're allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report per year. You can do this by visiting Annualcreditreport.com. Scores range from approximately 300 to 850; generally, the higher your score, the better loan you'll qualify for. Don't forget to check your report for errors. If there are any, dispute them. It may help your credit score. You can also check your credit score for free at www.creditkarma.com to give you an idea of where your credit stands. Fair Issacs is what the lenders use for credit report and score, creditkarma uses different metrics but is usually comparable.
Step 2: Figure out How Much You Can Afford
You can calculate how much you can afford by starting online. There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Don't forget to factor in money you'll need for a down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for an attorney, appraisal, inspection, etc.) and the costs of remodeling or furniture. Remember that you don't always have to put down 20 percent as your parents once did. There are loans available with little to no down payment. It is important to note that what you calculate vs what you actually can afford maybe quite different. There are formulas and rules that apply to this calculation, an experienced home loan expert can help you understand all your loan options, closing costs and other fees. I have several lenders that I will be glad to refer you to, so that you can shop and find the right fit.
Step 3: Find the Right Lender
To find the right mortgage lender it is important to ask lots of questions and make sure they have answers that satisfy you and your Realtor. Sometimes lenders will pre qualify you which is not the same as pre approving you. Qualifications are only a guess based on what you tell the lender and are no guarantee, whereas a pre-approval will give you a better idea of how big a loan you qualify for. The lender will actually pull your credit and get more information about you. However, you could even take it one step further by getting an actual approval before you start home shopping. That way, when you're ready to make an offer, it will make the sale go much quicker. Besides, your offer will look more appealing than other buyers since your financing is already reviewed and ready to go!
Step 4: Look for the Right Home
Make a list of the things you'll need to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need and get an idea of how much space you desire. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?
Once you've made a list of your must-have's, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.
Step 5: Make an Offer on the Home
Now that you've found the home you want, you have to make an offer. Most sellers price their homes a bit high, expecting that there will be some haggling involved. A decent place to start is about five percent below the asking price. You can also get a list from your real estate agent to find out how much comparable have sold for. Once you've made your offer, don't think it's final. The seller may make a counter-offer to which you can also counter-offer. But you don't want to go back and forth too much. Somewhere, you have to meet in the middle. Once you've agreed on a price, you'll make an earnest, which is money that goes in escrow to give the seller a sign of good faith.
Step 6: Get the Right Mortgage for Your Situation
There are many different types of mortgage programs out there, and your lender is going to know which program works best because every persons financial scenarios are different. Each loan, whether Convention, FHA or VA or Other have certain requirements and one program maybe more suitable based on your circumstances.
Remember to ask your mortgage lender or mortgage banker lots of questions about which mortgage is right for you and your situation and why they think so. Its good to ask questions and listen to the different reasons so you understand what this loans mean long term.
Step 7: Close on Your Home
Getting through all your contingencies and continuing to progress on your loan final approval is part of getting to the closing. Start with inspections, move through the appraisal process, loan contingencies and review any additional contingencies such as HOAs or other terms. Once we get through all the contingencies and docs are drawn you sign and title coordinates funds and we close. There are many steps in between and I will be here to guide you through all of it.
Be sure you talk to your mortgage lender to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing so there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, and points you may have bought to buy down your interest rate.
Step 8: Move In!
You've got your mortgage, closed the deal and now it's time to move in! Buying a home for the first time doesn't have to be a hassle if you're prepared and you know what to do and when to do it. I will be here for you all the way and try to make the home buying experience as smooth as possible for you. Guiding you through each step and getting you to closing.