You may be scooped up in a whirlwind of daydreams when thinking of buying a house, but shopping for real estate isn’t all fun and games. On the contrary, there are several steps involved with a home purchase. When you’re not prepared for what you might encounter along the way, and don’t know what to expect, you may end up with nightmares instead of daydreams. Here are six steps to buying a house.

Money Matters When Buying

You may have scrimped and saved to dump your piggy bank out for a down payment, and you may have done the math to figure out what you think you can afford in mortgage payments, but there are a lot more costs involved with purchasing a property.

Buyers are responsible for closing costs, which are accumulative fees for services provided during the real estate transaction. Services may include appraisals, inspections, surveys, legal fees, administrative costs, and agent commissions, among others. Furthermore, you’ll put in an earnest money deposit with your offer on the house.

Your first goal is to get pre-approved for a home mortgage loan. Pre-approval means the lender has already taken into account your debt-to-income ratio, checked your credit, and deemed you qualified to borrow. Pre-approval sets your actual budget and positions you as a qualified buyer.

Before you apply for a home mortgage loan, make sure your credit report is in pristine condition. Avoid making any expensive purchases before applying for a loan as this spending can disqualify you for a loan.

Find a Top-Notch Real Estate Agent

Don’t just sign on the line with the first real estate agent you encounter. From certifications to personalities, real estate agents are unique. Research qualifications, read reviews, and interview agents to find the right person with whom to work.

Let the House-Hunt Begin!

The process of searching out the perfect house is the fun part. However, it’s important that you’re realistic about what your money can buy in the current market. Especially in the case of first-time homebuyers, people experience disappointment when they realize they have to sacrifice those wood floors, granite countertops, high-end appliances, and other upgrades. Talk with your real estate agent about your budget and what you can realistically buy within your means.

Offers and Negotiations

When you find a house you can afford and imagine yourself living in, you’re ready to make an offer. Your proposal can be for more or less than the asking price, can suggest a timeline for closing, can include contingencies, and isn’t bound by legalities. It’s a bid. The seller has the right to counter-offer until you settle on agreeable terms. However, some houses may encounter multiple submissions, leading to what’s commonly referred to as a bidding war. Do not emotionally attach to a property at this point. You may not find agreeable terms with the seller or may lose out to another buyer.

Appraisals, Inspections & Surveys

When you buy a house, the bank needs to verify the land that you own, the value of the property, and the condition of the structure. Each of these processes takes time, so it’s important to be patient. Leash your excitement and be reasonable in your enthusiasm to avoid frustration while you wait.

To determine that the seller can legally sell the property, the title must be free and clear of any liens or tax debts. A title check verifies the ability to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer.

The Closing Table

Finally, it is the moment you’ve been anxiously waiting to experience. This is the day you get your keys and officially become a homeowner. An escrow agent handles the money from the lender and distributes appropriate portions, such as the closing costs and cutting a check to the seller. You’ll dish out a few final John Handcocks, and relish the moment when the agent puts the keys in your hand.

By the end of the closing day, the seller must have all of his or her belongings removed from the house, and the house should be in the same or better condition as when you saw it last. It’s time to go home.

Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give Melissa Patton a call today at 864-923-7924 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.

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