10 Steps to Buy a Home
Ready to buy your first home? It can be a confusing process for any buyer – first time or not. Here’s our 10 simple steps to buying your home.
1. Budget, Budget, Budget!
Before you even begin looking at homes, you need to know your budget. Ideally, you should have a 20% down payment saved up (unless you acquire a low down payment loan, or use a down payment partnership program like ours).
On top of that, you need to determine how high of a monthly mortgage you can afford. Factor in taxes, moving fees, furnishing costs, and insurance. You can use this helpful calculator to get started.
2. Get Pre-Approved
Now that you know your budget, it’s time to start looking for a loan. Check out our comparison article here to determine which loan is best for you. Getting pre-approved will make the process more seamless once you’ve decided on a house.
3. Find a Reliable Broker
Do some investigative work here and make sure you find a broker who can meet all your needs. You want someone honest, trustworthy, and available. Read local reviews and ask around to make sure you’re working with a quality agent who will put you first.
4. Determine Your Must-Haves
Before you start viewing homes, decide what you’re looking for. Is there a certain home style you want? Do you want a condo, single-family home, or a townhouse? Do you need a garage?
These are just starting point questions…make a list of the qualities you absolutely need in your home, and a list of things you want in your future home. Communicate these needs and wants to your broker so they can find your perfect match.
5. Visit Homes
Now is the time to start looking. This is where most people get discouraged; it can get tiring viewing house after house. Allow yourself to have fun here, and be honest with your expectations. Focus on things that can’t be changed (school district, commute time, distance to amenities, neighbourhood) instead of things that can be easily changed (furniture, layout, etc.).
6. Place an Offer
Once you’ve found a home you love, you’ll place an offer with the help of your broker. You may have to repeat this process several times – just because you place an offer doesn’t mean you’ll get the house. Be patient and don’t get too attached until you sign the deed.
7. Get an Inspection & Appraisal
Before you finalize the purchase, get a professional inspection and appraisal of the property. This is vital to ensuring you get a fair price and a stable, healthy home. Do not allow any seller to talk you out of this!
8. Make Sure Repairs Are Done
If there are repairs that need to be done before the purchase, follow up and ensure that they get done correctly by the seller. Or, you can ask the seller to lower the price of the house so you can take care of the repairs instead.
9. Make a Final Evaluation
The process until now has been long, tiring, and emotionally exhausting. Before you sign those papers, take some time to make an objective evaluation. Is this the home you want? If so, it’s time to close!
10. Close on Your Home
Congratulations! You’ve found your home, you have your loan, everything has been inspected…now it’s just time for closing. Your agents will negotiate closing costs, and once the price has been agreed upon, you can sign that deed and walk away with the title.
This is a simplified timeline to home-ownership, but it covers the basics. Check out our blog for more helpful tips on homeownership!