Finding the right house requires considerable time and effort. But making the proper steps can make the home buying process a lot smoother and the experience a lot more enjoyable.
Step 1: Start with some online research.
Research possible areas you will want to live. Schools, crime statistics, traffic, and cost of living all play a significant factor in deciding which city or community.
The quickest way to research these things is by contacting a local real estate agent. If you are a hands-on DIY type person like I am, you will find these links helpful.
- For a lot of different statistics https://www.city-data.com/
- Information in schools https://www.greatschools.org/
- Cost of living comparison https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/
Step 2: Figuring Out How Much House You Can Afford
How much home you can afford will vary widely from household to household and should be something you consider before looking at houses. The simplest way to do this is to talk with a lender to see how much you qualify to lend. But if you would like to get a ballpark idea, here is a good affordability calculator.
One thing to remember when considering how much you can afford is the size of your down payment. Currently, FHA loans are 3.5% of the sales price, while conventional loans can require up to 20% down.
Step 3: Get Prequalified and Pre-approved for credit for Your Mortgage
Prequalified means a lender has given an estimate of what you can borrow. While a Preapproval gives an exact about a lender is willing to lend to you to purchase a home. The preapproval holds a lot more weight, and without one, you will have a hard time making an offer on the house.
I highly suggest shopping for a lender and getting pre-approved before seriously looking at homes. It will be very disappointing to lose the home of your dreams because you had not secured funding.
Step 4: Locating the Right Real Estate Agent
The right real estate agent will help you with information on local communities that isn’t always available to the public. They are knowledgeable in negotiating the purchase and guiding you through the entire sales process. Thus, making the whole buying experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
The best part, having a realtor represent you as the buyer is totally free.