Buying a house for the first time can be a daunting undertaking. Even if you’ve purchased a home before, it’s still not something most consider easy. After all, there are so many things involved, such as hunting for your dream house, inspections, and mortgages. It can be intimidating! Still, if you anticipate these issues from the very beginning, buying a new house doesn’t have to be a horror story.

With that in mind, here’s a house buying checklist for beginners that we believe will help you step-by-step through the entire process. Below is a roadmap that takes you from the moment you first think of buying a new home to the moment you sign, and the deal is closed.

Related: Buying A Second Home: How To Finance

Determine Your Price Range

After you decide that you want to buy a new house, the very next thing you must consider is how much you’re willing to spend. What’s your budget? Remember that things can get complicated, and you don’t want to waste your time looking at houses beyond your price range. Besides, do you want to moon over a home you’ll never afford?

Ensuring that you’re operating on a realistic budget is crucial if you’re to securing a home that you’ll be satisfied with in the end. That means you must firmly understand the range of prices you’re willing to consider.

Get Pre-Approval

Now, you may not have even settled on a house yet. However, it’s not too early to begin shopping around for mortgage lenders. Sellers want to be assured that you’ll be able to purchase their property if you make an offer. One of the best ways to give the seller that confidence is to get pre-approval on a mortgage.

One easy and straightforward way to try and get pre-approval and find a lender is through Mares Mortgage. Remember that your offer can be strengthened through pre-approval. Mares Mortgage can check your credit report and tentatively decide on a pre-approval amount. Our team can then help you decide on the type of loan, which is right for you and your situation.

Find a Real Estate Agent

Now it’s time to start pounding the pavement. Well, maybe not. Some people find searching for a new property to be just a little too much. It can be frustrating. If that’s you, you may wish to consider bringing in a real estate agent early in the process. 

A real estate agent is a professional and can offer expert advice on issues about which you haven’t thought. For example, the agent will know whether a house happens to have been on the market for a lengthy time and whether it’s in the right school district or not.

key in door

Find Your Perfect Home

Finding a house that’s perfect for you can take time. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by relying on a real estate agent alone. It would be best if you were looking for yourself too. You can do that by going online and checking out listings. Expose yourself to a wide variety of options. 

Once you see something that piques your interest, visit those properties, and see if they suit your needs and tastes. Narrow down your search. Ask your real estate agent to provide you with results from a multiple listing service. Remember that it’s easier to avoid costly mistakes and make wiser decisions if you’ve got accurate information.

Make an Offer

Once you’ve found a place you absolutely love, and you’re committed to buying it, it’s time to work out a smart purchase offer. This is the time to talk seriously with your real estate agent. He or she will have the expertise you need when deciding just how much you should offer the seller. 

Remember that your real estate agent will be able to put a host of issues into proper perspective, such as how long the property has been on the market. Other questions the real estate agent can clarify are how hot the market is and whether others have made offers on the same property.

Find a Home Inspector

You’ll need to have money set aside to pay for a home inspection. There is simply no way that every issue of your new house’s fitness and integrity can be judged before you make an offer. A home inspection is a crucial step because you’ll definitely want to protect yourself from hidden liabilities and costs. It’s essential then to find a good home inspector.

By conducting a home inspection, you’ll discover things like whether the electrical system is up to standard, how much life is left in the roof, and whether the foundation is failing. Just remember that most properties have minor issues that a home inspection uncovers. They’re good to know about, but these are almost always fixable, and they aren’t something to lose sleep over.

Related: Benefits of Buying a Home

Are you looking for pre-approval on a mortgage? Mares Mortgage has a solid reputation of honesty and solid financing knowledge. Get in touch and let us help you decide on the type of loan that’s best for your situation!

Get an Appraisal

After the home inspection, you’ll want to ensure that everything is in order because it’ll soon be time to close the deal. Be smart and don’t create financial charges or make purchases that could negatively impact your credit score. 

While you’re waiting, your lending institution will likely conduct their own appraisal of the property. Suppose that appraisal shows the property’s value is lower than what you’ve agreed to with the seller. In that case, you can then ask the seller to either assume some of the costs due at closing or lower the price.

white house

Prepare for Closing

Before closing, there’s likely to be a waiting period. During this time, it’s a good idea to seek out homeowners’ insurance. You’ll have to show proof of this insurance when you close. You’ll also want to use this time to plan out and arrange any necessary help if you’re planning on making improvements or renovations. This can take a while, and you’ll have to consider the schedules of any contractors you plan to hire. There will be many things to prepare for the day you close, so this is a great time to organize and start getting things ready.

Time to Close

This is the day, and you can feel you pulse racing! It’s an exciting moment when you sit down to begin signing papers. Be ready, because there will be many. Be sure to bring all the necessary documentation to the home closing. Your mortgage lender and your real estate agent should provide you with a comprehensive list of these documents. Just some of these will be things such as your proof of insurance, checks or cashier checks (to cover closing costs), and your identification.

Conclusion

A question many first time home buyers have is why it takes so long to close on the deal. Most of the time, the wait doesn’t have much to do with you or the seller. It’s just a fact that the legal and financing processes take time. Even after you sign the contract, it’s possible that it could be a month or more before you finally get the keys.

However! When the seller hands you the keys, it’s time to congratulate yourself! You’ve navigated some treacherous waters, and you’re about to walk over the threshold of what will hopefully be a real home and not just a house.

Related: How to rent out your house and buy another

Looking to buy your first home but don’t know if you’ll qualify for a mortgage? Talk to one of our team members at Mares Mortgage and let us walk you through the process.