You’ve made the decision, it’s time to stop renting and buy a home of your own. While most people know someone who owns a home a new buyer may not know what it takes to buy a home or even how to start the process. Once you determine where you want to live the best thing to do is to find a realtor who is knowledgeable about the area. Once the realtor finds out what you are interested in, the next step is to contact a lender.
It's best to speak with two or even three lenders to find someone you can feel comfortable with. A lenders focus is to get as many buyers as possible in order to maximize their income. That’s where your realtor can help you determine the ground rules for choosing the right lender for you. That lender could be someone the realtor has worked with before and who knows the lender has a good track record for getting loans done on time. Someone who keeps the costs reasonable and keeps good contact with their clients during the process.
It’s important to get pre-qualified before you start looking for your dream home. I’m sure you have seen TV programs where the realtor took the buyers out and showed the client everything on their dream home list, only to find out the price of that home was far out of their reach. As a realtor, I find this a waste of everyone’s time and it only makes the buyers upset and resentful of the process.
Once your price range is determined and you are comfortable with what your monthly payments will be in your price range, you can start looking. I find it’s best to make two lists, the first one is your must haves; things like 3 bedrooms and two baths, a garage, or a dishwasher. The second list is your wants; things like bay windows, window seats, fireplace, French doors, etc. At this point, your realtor will locate homes for you to view.
Your realtor will do their best to find a few homes for you to view that best fit your requirements. Make sure that as you view these homes, even if they are not what you are looking for, let your realtor know what you like and dislike about the homes. Everyone has their own taste and it helps your realtor to narrow down what to show you. It's good to remember that being flexible and willing to compromise will make the house hunting go easier for you. Rarely does someone get everything on their wish list, but the good news is that you might be surprised with something you never thought of and that will make the effort all worth while.