House Selling

Buying a Home 101: Basic Steps and What to Expect

Preparing to buy your first home? To make the process less daunting, it makes sense to break it down step-by-step. Below is a brief overview of home buying and what to expect.

First off, it’s important to note that the time between starting your search and closing on a home varies by market and many other factors. Because of this, you can expect the process to take anywhere from 15 weeks to eight months or more.

One of the first steps is to analyze the possibilities based on your finances. Will you apply for an FHA loan? Is your credit rating okay? Knowing the answers to questions like these early on can help you secure financing and get off to a great start.

When you are ready or want to learn more about specific financial matters, contact your mortgage lender for pre-approval. In our seller marketplace, an approval letter has become essential to show sellers that you are a good candidate. In addition, the lender can help you set your starting budget and identify details that need to be worked out to get a better mortgage rate.

After obtaining mortgage pre-approval and assistance from a real estate agent, you can browse the listings. Whether you want to browse homes suggested by agents or listings available online, we recommend that you narrow your search results by price range, location, number of bathrooms, etc. If you have realistic expectations and stick to them, you can streamline the entire process.

Once you’ve found the right options, start planning some trips. Although virtual tours are helpful, it’s best to evaluate the property yourself before making a decision. When you are ready to bid on a house, enter the competition. You may need to work with your real estate agent to negotiate with sellers and reduce unforeseen circumstances to get you the home you want.

Once your offer is accepted, you are protected by the contract and the so-called due diligence period begins. During this time, you should arrange a home inspection and appraisal. These steps can be modified depending on how quickly you want to speed up the process. However, they should not be taken lightly.

Next is the underwriting process, which can take days or weeks if your resources are complicated. The underwriter checks and verifies your finances as well as your real estate data. It is imperative that you respond to the lender and insurer for the process to proceed.

Finally, it is time to close. Once the loan is finalized, both parties review the contract, and a final home inspection is performed. Hopefully the last papers will be signed, the money will be transferred, and you will receive the keys to your new home!

Infographic provided by The Sherry Riano Team, VA loans

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