This is an overview, a way to get you started and understanding the process of buying a home. A few things to consider:
At the beginning, the most important thing is talking with a lender. Unless you are paying cash for a home, a lender is needed for two reasons: to provide you with a pre approval letter, which you will need to present at the same time as you plunk down a purchase offer on a home. It’s most critical to discuss finances right away. What you can afford is not just a phrase, it’s a comfort level for you – it’s crucial to know prior to going to see a home. You don’t want to have your hopes dashed and spend your precious free time looking at homes you really like but find out later you are not able to buy.
Second, a mortgage person you can rely on and feel comfortable with is a big help to you as you go along looking at homes. You can call a lender and they can take a home you saw on tour with sale price, taxes, insurance, any home owner fees or condo fees and give you a monthly estimate. This helps you weigh each property in terms of what you might want to buy…or not!
Third, you might get approved at a certain amount but when you see what the monthly payments are, you might say it would be better to take the price range down a notch because you know what your mandatory monthly expenses are over and above rent. You might not be able, or want to, give up some of these expenses.
Those are three reasons why a mortgage lender is your friend and a necessary part of your team from the beginning.
A Realtor® like me ☺ is the second part of your team. Think about the neighborhoods, towns, places that fit your needs or lifestyle. Do you want a walkable community? Do you want transit close by? Do you want entertainment and eateries? How long do you want your commute to be? Do you want a large back yard for dogs to play? Begin a list of about 5 items that will start out on your ‘need to have’ list. (By the way, this list can and probably will change as we go along. For now, a beginning list is helpful.) Some items might be wants and not needs. The word compromise will become important as well. You might wind up with things that are ‘need to haves’ that you weren’t aware of when you started, and some of your list of initial needs might go by the wayside. You might change styles of homes you want after seeing some houses. All of this is fun, just pointing out that being open to a flexibility of thought about what you want is very helpful!
We will begin our relationship and I’ll search out the homes that meet your initial criteria. I can email you a few homes right off the bat. We can brainstorm a bit together about what you like and don’t like. Example of what I mean: I send you five homes via email. You tell me you don’t like the floor plan on one and the yard is way too large to take care of on another. That helps me (and you!) understand how to search. When we do the brainstorming it helps start to formulate a game plan so that once you’ve gotten a price range settled with a lender, we can begin to look in real life not Internet life!
If you do the above, the entire home buying journey can be started with enough knowledge to keep stress out of the process and more enjoyable!