You'll feel more confident about your home buying journey when you understand what is required of you and every other person who is involved in the transaction.
Step 1 to Buying a House: SAVING!
If you haven't started saving, you may want to postpone your house hunt. There are a lot of "out of pocket" fees when purchasing a home.
Lets start with the down payment...it can be anywhere from 3.5%-5% of the sale price of a home. You will need this money readily available when you sign an offer for your new home. If you decide to inspect the home (which is strongly suggested to do!) there is a fee to the home inspector. On closing day there is also those lovely closing costs, which are all the fees associated with your mortgage and closing on the property.
Step 2 to Buying a House: Get Your Finances in Order
Your credit reports are an ongoing record of how you manage your finances. You must know exactly what your credit reports say about your financial history before you apply for a mortgage, because the reports play an important role in the mortgage approval process and in determining the interest rate and other loan terms that a lender offers you.
If you haven't looked at your credit reports, you might be surprised at their contents, because errors are common. Ideally, you don't want any late payments. One late pay is bad; four will kill you.
Step 3 to Buying a House: Get Familiar with the Mortgage Industry & Get
Finding the right loan and lender is crucial to your home buying success.
It's up to you to determine which lender is best for your needs, and it's always a good idea to have at least a bit of background about the loan process before you talk to a lender. Consider asking your agent for a referral.
Step 4 to Buying a House: Determine Your Wants and Needs
Buying a home isn't as difficult as you might think, even if you're short on funds, but the process will go a lot smoother if you get familiar with your real estate market and narrow down your wants and needs before you start looking at houses.
Step 5 to Buying a House: Learn to Work with Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents represent buyers, sellers, or both. It's essential to
find an agent who will work for you and have your best interest in hand.
Step 6 to Buying a House: Start Searching for a Home
Your agent will send listings to you. You'll also probably spend an inordinate amount of time surfing the Internet for homes. You might even plan afternoon drives to preview neighborhoods.
You can stop by open houses or plan private tours with your agent.
Step 7 to Buying a House: Make an Offer
There's no one set of instructions that can cover all the differences in real estate laws and customs that exist throughout the United States, so the mechanics of making an offer and its specific contingencies depend greatly on your location.
Being ready & prepared for this step will make the process easier.
Step 8 to Buying a House: Home Inspections and Other Tests
In some states, home inspections are accomplished before the final purchase contract is signed. In other states, inspections take place after an offer is finalized. No matter when you do them, it's critical to decide which inspections and tests you want to perform.
Talk with your real estate agent or other advisor to find out when inspections should be handled and if additional types of testing are important for your specific area.
Step 9 to Buying a House: Avoiding and Correcting Last Minute Problems
As your closing date nears, everyone involved in your real estate transaction should check its progress on a daily basis, because staying on top of things means you'll know immediately if there's a problem that must be dealt with. One very important
tip...DON'T MAKE ANY LARGE PURCHASES! Its always exciting to start shopping for your new home, but wait
until after the closing to do so, it can greatly effect your mortgage qualification!
Step 10 to Buying a House: You're on the Way to Closing
Most of your home buying problems are behind you now and you're on your way to closing, also called settlement, the event that transfers ownership of the property to you. Just a few more things to learn, a few more things to do, and you're there!
Never hesitate to ask questions. Ask as many questions as necessary to help you understand the entire home buying process. You are making a long-term commitment and spending a major amount of money--you'll feel much better about the transaction if you stay informed and understand what's happening every step along the way.