By Sabrina Karl
If you haven’t bought a home in a long time, or you’re a first-time buyer, understanding the homebuying process can seem daunting. Here are the seven steps that will take you from your initial start to collecting the keys.
First, you’ll need to evaluate your credit worthiness and finances. You’ll want to check your credit score to determine whether you have improvements to make before house hunting. Then you’ll need to decide how much down payment you can muster. Lastly, use a mortgage calculator to identify how much you can borrow based on a monthly payment you can afford.
Next you can apply for a mortgage. Numerous websites can direct you to the best rates in your area, and once you’ve selected a lender, you can start the pre-approval process. Alternatively, you may opt to work with a mortgage broker.
Once your mortgage financing is lined up, you’ll likely want a real estate agent who can help you find listings that match your price range and criteria. Once you’ve established that relationship and fee agreement, you can start house hunting.
When you find a home you’re interested in, it’s time to make an offer for what you’re willing to pay. If you offer below the asking price, you may receive a counter-offer from the seller, which you can then counter as well.
Once you have an accepted offer, you’ll need to schedule the home inspection. If the sale progresses after addressing any inspection findings, the lender will next want you to schedule an appraisal to determine the home’s value.
Finally, you’re in the home stretch, with the last major step being the closing. After providing your down payment and other required funds, and signing all the necessary paperwork to transfer ownership, the keys will be yours.