Deciding to buy a home is an exciting time, but can also be the beginning of months of stress, heartache, disappointment, and fear. Having the right person by your side to guide and reassure you through this complicated process is key to making the home buying experience a positive one.
I want to buy a house…now what?
The first thing you need to do once you decide to buy a home is talk to a lender. A lender will help you determine what you can afford, offer you ways to clean up your credit if it needs attention, and lock in an interest rate for you. The lender will also provide you with a pre-approval letter that you will use to show to sellers that you are financially able to buy a home.
Next thing is to find a real estate agent. Working with a real estate agent is crucial in finding and landing the home of your dreams. Real estate agents are experts in negotiating, have connections that you, as a consumer, do not have, and is a FREE service to a buyer. Yup, it does not cost a buyer anything to work with a real estate agent (the seller pays the commission). So why wouldn't you have representation when home buying? In order to get all the services an agent can offer, be sure to sign a contract with your agent. Not sure what that is? Ask your agent!
Once you know your budget, have found a really awesome agent to work with, the next step is to sit down with your agent and have a frank conversation about your wants and needs. Your agent can't help you if he/she doesn't know what you're looking for. Not sure what you're looking for? Your agent can help you figure out your wants and needs.
Now, this is where the fun part starts…start looking! Go to open houses, search online, talk to people, get to know different neighborhoods. Do all the things necessary to find your home and remember to always communicate with your agent.
No time is the right or wrong time to buy a home. Waiting 3 months, 6 months, or even one year won't make that much of a difference in home buying. The best time to buy a home is when you're financially ready to buy a home AND you're ready for the responsibility of owning a home.
No home is perfect - even new construction. Be sure to have an idea of what you MUST have in a house and what you can live without.
Find an agent. You will need someone who can objectively answer questions, offer their expert advice, and negotiate for you. Agents also have inside info on what homes are coming on the market and what homes are being sold off- market. Both are valuable info that you will not get on your own.
Accept that you will have second thoughts once you get your offer accepted. Buying a home is nerve wracking. There is a lot of money at stake and making a mistake could cost you money and land you in legal trouble. When you feel yourself having "buyer's remorse" remind yourself that it is normal and let the emotion pass. The excitement will return in no time.
Choose a home because you love it, not because it's in the best location or because you know you can turn around and sell it in a few years. Life can change in an instant and the home you think you'll only spend a few years in could be the home you spend a few decades in so make it count and buy the home you love. You won't be sorry.
A typical time line of what happens after your offer gets accepted