As exciting as it can be to purchase a new home, there’s no denying the stress associated with the process.
From visiting homes for sale in person to negotiating a buying price to closing, there’s a lot on your plate.
But here’s a secret: Buying a house doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds.
Sure, you may run into some challenges along the way, but it’s still possible to enjoy yourself from start to finish.
Let’s go into how to prepare to buy a home, how to decide what you want, finding a good realtor, and how you can get preapproved with a reputable lender.
Is buying a house difficult?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as it depends largely on your approach.
For example, if you forge ahead without a realtor, it puts all the stress squarely on your shoulders.
There are two things you can do to reduce the challenge of buying a home:
- Consult with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent (more on this below)
- Make a list of your wants and needs
These two points don’t guarantee success, but they most definitely put you on the right path. Now, let’s dive into five more specific steps you can take to make buying a house easier.
1. Prepare financially
Home-buying stress is related largely to the financial impact. Can you afford a new home? What’s your comfort level regarding a monthly payment? How much have you saved for a down payment?
It’s these types of questions that will soon have you wondering if you’re making a good decision. Fortunately, when you prepare financially, you won’t have nearly as many concerns.
Tips for getting started include:
- Review your current housing budget
- Clean up and improve your credit if need be
- Set a budget for your new home
- Consider the maintenance associated with buying a new home
- Determine how much you can afford for a down payment
- Learn more about closing costs
With all of this information in hand, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to buy a home that you can comfortably afford.
2. Know what you want and need in a house
You don’t want to buy just any house. You want to buy a house that meets as many of your wants and needs as possible.
Get started by making a list of both wants and needs—remember, these aren’t the same.
“Wants” are things that would be nice to have, such as a man cave or swimming pool. “Needs” are essential, such as a home in a specific school district or a specific number of bedrooms.
Without a list of wants and needs, your lines could get crossed and you could get distracted by the homes you tour in person. And if that happens, you’re more likely to purchase a home that doesn’t “check all the boxes.” This could lead to buyer’s remorse and another move in the near future.
3. Find a good realtor
There’s only so much you can do on your own, so it’s good practice to hire a real estate agent early in the home search process. Here are just a few of the many things a realtor can do for you:
- Share homes that suit your wants and needs
- Set up times for you to visit homes that pique your interest
- Answer your questions
- Negotiate on your behalf (with your input)
- Walk you through the inspection process
- Act as your guide through closing
As a buyer, you don’t have to pay any money to consult with a realtor. They get paid by the seller when you buy a home. In other words—it’s free help.
4. Get preapproved for a mortgage
Once you’re ready to begin your home search, take the time to get preapproved for a mortgage.
This is important because it tells you how much money you can borrow from the lender. You need this number to ensure that you’re searching for homes in your price range.
Keep in mind that a preapproval isn’t the same as an official approval. Once you find a home to purchase, you must then formally apply for a loan.
Frequently asked questions among homebuyers
It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a home for the first time or have done so several times before, you’re likely to have questions. Answering all your questions upfront will allow you to proceed with confidence.
Here are five common questions to address:
What area is best to buy in?
Location, location, location. There’s nothing more important when buying a home. Carefully consider multiple areas based on factors such as safety, schools, and proximity to major highways.
How much can I afford to spend on a new home?
The best way to answer this question is to review your budget and apply for a mortgage preapproval. Just remember that you don’t have to borrow the maximum amount that’s offered by a lender.
How much are closing costs?
As a general rule, plan for closing costs to equal 3-6% of your total loan. Your lender can help you better understand closing costs and what they include.
What interest rate do I qualify for?
This depends on factors such as your credit history, credit score, down payment, loan term, and loan type.
Does a conventional purchase make the most sense?
While conventional loans are most common, compare this option to unconventional loans before making a final decision. In short, a conventional loan is one that’s not backed by the government.
Don’t shy away from any question that’s on your mind. Your realtor or lender should be able to provide an accurate answer.
How HomeScout and AAA Banking can help make it easier
There’s no shortage of tools you can use to streamline the home buying process, but some are better than others.
HomeScout is one of the most trusted sources in the real estate industry, thanks to its advanced technology and variety of home search tools.
The tool shows unfiltered listings from multiple listing services (MLS), including unique photos and house details.
You’ll get fast access to showings for the latest listings if you turn on notifications. HomeScout also keeps you connected with your real estate agent and lender so you can act fast when you find a home you love.
If all of that sounds good to you, take HomeScout for a test drive.
Once you find a home that matches your requirements, contact AAA Banking to discuss your borrowing options and the next steps in the process. We’ll do whatever it takes to help you secure the right loan at the right time.
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