After some serious consideration, you’re looking to buy a home. However, you’ve never done so before. As such, you’re wondering: what does the home buying process involve? 

We’re going to discuss that very thing below, detailing each step of buying a house. By the time you’re done with this article, you will be ready to buy a house. 

1. You Make Sure You’re Ready to Buy a House

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you’re ready to buy a house. Not only do you need to be ready financially but emotionally and functionally as well. 

See, owning a home is a much bigger responsibility than living in an apartment. When you own your home, you’re responsible for everything that goes wrong with it. 

Your sewer backs up? You have to pay to have it fixed. 

Does your air conditioner stop working? You have to pay to have it repaired or replaced. 

This requires a great deal of additional time, effort, and money. So, if you’re looking to save as much of these things as possible, you might want to consider continuing to live in an apartment. But if you want the space, freedom, and locked-in pricing associated with owning your own home, it can all be worth the effort. 

Now, on to finances. Generally speaking, you’re advised to spend no more than 3 1/2 times your yearly income on a house. As such, if you make $80,000 a year, you should spend no more than $280,000 on a home, at least in most cases. 

The exception to this is if you live in an extremely high-cost-of-living area, in which case, you should still try to keep your total spending to under 40% of your total yearly income.

2. You Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage 

Next, you’re going to want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. It’s vital that you do this before putting in bids on houses, as it will give you leverage and credibility with most sellers. 

To get pre-approved, simply find a mortgage lender near you and apply. Provided that you qualify, your lender will assign you a dollar amount that you’re allowed to spend. This will be based on your income and your credit score. 

Note, you should try to get your credit score up as high as possible before getting pre-approved. Ideally, your score will be at 740 or higher. This will give you the best interest rates and the lowest costs overall. 

3. You Look for Houses

Once you’ve been pre-approved, you should start looking for houses. You can do this independently with the help of Zillow and Trulia. However, if you’re a first-time buyer, you might benefit from the help of an experienced real estate agent. 

When looking for houses, you’ll want to check your preferred ones out in person. Either attend open houses or schedule appointments with the sellers to do so. 

Note, when looking for houses, there are several characteristics to consider. These run the gamut from house size to property size to the school district to the age of the house and more. Inspect the house thoroughly throughout the walk-through, and try to identify problems that might come back to bite you in the future.

Test out electrical sockets, faucets, light switches, and anything else that could help you identify underlying issues. If you notice anything serious, it might be a cause to look for another house. 

4. You Put in an Offer

Found a house that you like? If so, you’re going to want to put in an offer on it. This will put you in the running to buy the house (it’s not a guarantee that you’ll end up with it). 

How do you put in an offer for a house? Well, if you have a real estate agent, you can ask them to start the process. If not, you’ll want to follow the steps contained within this link

As far as home offers go, they usually require a downpayment. Depending on the specifics of the mortgage you’re going to get and the amount of competition there is for the house, this downpayment could be small or big. Note, though, that the bigger your downpayment, the less you’ll pay overall (because your loan will be smaller and will incur less interest). 

5. You Have the Home Inspected

Let’s say your offer gets accepted. That’s the end of the process, right? Not at all. 

Before going through with the closing, you need to have the home inspected to ensure that it’s not suffering from any major problems. This will help you discover the true value of the house and will potentially give you leverage to negotiate on the price. 

When having a home inspected, make sure to hire your own inspector. Never utilize the inspector that your real estate agent recommends. There is a clear conflict of interest involved in doing so, one that could hurt you in the long run. 

If the inspector finds the home in good shape, you should move on with the closing. If not, you should think about negotiating further, or maybe even back out on the offer entirely. 

Selling a home and hoping to avoid such inspections? Check out how this service works

6. You Close on the House

Finally, you can close on the house. This involves signing a bunch of paperwork and paying some requisite fees. These fees will depend on the specifics of the transaction but will likely need to be paid on the spot. 

Somewhere in the contracts associated with the closing, you’ll agree on a move-in date. This move-in date typically occurs a month or two after the closing has gone through. 

The Home Buying Process Doesn’t Need to Be Difficult

Though it certainly can be, the home buying process doesn’t need to be difficult. Just follow the steps above and make sure to do additional research along the way. As long as you do that, you’re sure to purchase a house that’s perfect for your needs. 

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