An easy checklist for your home buying journey starts here
Buying a home can be quite a process and take a good bit of time and energy. There are a lot of things to remember before purchasing a home. Beyond the search and calling a real estate agent, do you know what some of the helpful steps are? Here are a few key steps to keep in mind as you begin your home buying journey.
What’s Your Financial Status?
Before you look at the first listing you should be sure that your financials are in order to get a sense of where you stand and what you’re able to afford. You should first request your credit reports from all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). You should then go over each report carefully to be sure that they are complete and accurate, handle and correct any errors as quickly as possible as some issues can take quite some time to clear up. Next, you should put together a list of all the documents that will be requested by your loan officer, including any pay stubs, bank statements and previous years’ tax returns. Having these documents ready before you meet with a loan officer will show your organization, your readiness to get the process started, and will also save time in the long run.
Research Different Loans and Lenders
Now that you have your financials in order you can begin the process of researching loan options and lenders in the area. Several online tools exist that can help you to compare the different options that are available to you. Your real estate agent should also have some good suggestions for lenders in your area. Read any and all reviews about each one that you can find, look for ones that are familiar with your area, that come highly recommended, and ones that have been useful in your area. This is also a great time to find out if you qualify for any special loans such as a Veterans Affairs loan or a special home buying financing option through state and federal programs. Once you’ve settled on a lender that you think will be a good fit for you make sure that you obtain a pre-approval letter that will help to make you a more competitive buyer.
Hire a Great Agent
Next you should talk to your family, friends and even your neighbors about real estate agents in the area. Find out which ones come highly recommended and have experience in the area that you are interested in. This will be one of the most important steps in the home buying process because you will be working very closely with the agent for the foreseeable future. Do as much research as you can to learn about their experience, success rates, and overall specialties. Once you’ve narrowed it down to three different agents you should interview them to figure out which one best fits with your needs.
Build a Must-Have List
Sit down with your family to create a “home shopping list” to get a sense of what each member of your family would like for your next home to have. Determine what features are necessities and what things are simply added luxuries. This will become the list that helps you to narrow down your search so be sure that it’s clear and concise or your home search could become a never-ending process.
Hit the Road
Choose the neighborhood or area that you’d like to live in or ones that you’re at least interested in looking at a little closer. Once you’ve decided hit the pavement and start exploring. Find out commute times to school, work, and shopping to determine what location will be best. Look into schooling, crime statistics, neighborhood upkeep, and community development in the areas as well to decide if it’s an area that you can see being a part of your future. Doing this will help you to narrow your search considerably.
Enjoy the Ride
Last, but certainly not least, enjoy the journey that is ahead of you; this is the beginning of the next chapter of your life. Once you’ve hired an agent, found a neighborhood you like and know what your family is looking for, you’re ready to start the actual search. Talk to your agent and have them create a list of homes based off of your criteria to start looking deeper. You should visit as many open houses and private showings as it takes for you to find what you want in a home. Once you find the right home this process can get busier and be filled with paperwork but if you’re able to find a home that your family loves it will be worth it.