How to Buy a Home
Buying a home is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. It will probably be the single largest investment or purchase you ever make. For that reason, you should make sure you have done your homework and are properly informed about this important decision.
So, where do you start? In this article, we will focus on the first five steps. The first five steps of the home-buying process are as follows:
- Define Your Needs
- Work with a Realtor
- Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved for a Loan
- Home Search and Neighborhood Information
- Make an Offer
Step #1: Define your needs: You have decided to purchase a home…what is your first step? You should define the needs you and your family have for a home. How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms? Are you looking for a large or small backyard? What types of amenities would you like to use in your community? Do you want a one or two-story home?
Step #2: Work with a Realtor: We strongly recommend you use a realtor (especially if it is your first home) to facilitate finding a home that meets your needs. Realtors have access to information you may not be able to obtain, even if you have access to the Internet. Additionally, a realtor has worked with many different clients and knows the process; he/she will know a good deal when it is out there.
Step #3: Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved for a Loan Once you have met with a realtor and you have determined the general price range to meet your needs, you should then get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan. A pre-qualification is a simpler process as you can do it online or over the telephone with one of our mortgage representatives. It is just a rough estimate of what you can afford to buy. Whatever it is you desire, you should make a list to help facilitate the home-buying process. Write everything down. However, you must recognize that you may not be able to find a home with everything you want, or you may not be able to afford it at this time. A pre-approval is a more in-depth process and may take a little longer; however, you will know exactly what you can afford. In most markets, pre-approved buyers are preferred as it is a way for the seller to know they have done their due diligence and are serious about closing the sale. Additionally, being pre-approved will keep you in a price range that will allow you to live within your financial means. Click here for information on our mortgage products and services. Now comes the most fun (and difficult) part of the home-buying process…finding the right home.
Step #4: Home Search and Neighborhood Information You need to look at the city to which you would like to move, the neighborhoods available, the quality of the schools (if you have children), the distance to and from work or to and from commercial businesses (e.g., grocery stores, shopping centers, etc.), or even entertainment. You may also want to consider the demographic make-up of the community or neighborhood of interest, or the types of homes available.
Step #5: Make an Offer If you have any questions during this portion of the sale, ask them; do not leave anything left unsaid. Once you find the home you would like to purchase, it is time to make an offer; this step can be EXTREMELY stressful! After consulting with your real estate agent, you will determine how much to offer the seller in a written agreement or contract. This contract is designed to protect you and the seller in the sales process. It also meets both local and national legal requirements for real estate purchases. Once you determine your general specifications, you should then start looking for the home that will meet your needs. In addition to using a real estate agent, you may search the Internet, drive around the city or town of your choice, go to the Chamber of Commerce, or search newspaper ads. You should look at several homes prior to making any decision. You need to make sure you make the right decision; this is too big of a purchase to be made on an impulse.
If you would like to learn more about our mortgage loans and other related services, please click here, or call a mortgage representative at 573-778-1800. You may also stop by any of our branch offices to speak with a representative about our mortgage services.
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