Buying a home can be exciting. Keep the smile on your face throughout the home buying process by learning the basics. There’s nothing like being blindsided by unexpected events to take the joy right out of buying a new home. Don’t let that happen to you. Check out these six steps to buying a home before you get started on your adventure.

💯 Know Your Credit Score

Fortunately, this is one of the easy parts! Due to the Fair Credit Act, you can receive a copy of your credit report from each of the three main reporting agencies once a year. Visit their official website to request your report from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

Once you have your reports in hand, take some time to look for errors and delinquent accounts. Report errors immediately and set up a plan to take care of past due accounts.

You’ll want to stay aware of what you’re doing with your finances during the home buying process if your credit score is favorable. This is not the time to make large purchases that require additional monthly payments. You want to protect your income to debt ratio.

💵 The Importance of Saving Money

Few people can pay cash for their new home. While you’ll likely secure a home mortgage loan to help with the cost, you may be required to provide a down payment. Down payments can vary depending on the terms of your mortgage loan, but a good rule of thumb is to have at least 20 percent of the price of the property.

There are other fees and costs associated with buying a home. You may have taxes, administrative fees, and other closing costs to take care of if the seller doesn’t cover them in the contract. It’s better to be prepared than to get caught short when closing day arrives.

👥 Find the Right Real Estate Agent

Look for a real estate agent who takes your needs seriously. You want someone who communicates on the highest level and is committed to keeping you informed about the home buying process.

Your real estate agent should know the area and be a skilled negotiator. When it comes time to place an offer, you’ll appreciate their experience. Set up a time to interview the potential agent and ask any questions you have about their position on your buying team.

📝 Get Pre-Approved for a Home Mortgage Loan

Getting pre-approved for a home mortgage loan will save you time and money. Once approved, you can move forward with confidence, knowing that you’re search will likely end in a positive manner. Your pre-approval will help keep you on target when it comes to selecting a home you can afford. There’s nothing as disappointing as falling in love with a $500,000 home when your loan amount needs to be closer to $350,000.

Your pre-approval may come in handy with sellers, as well. If you get into a bidding war with another buyer who doesn’t have a pre-approval, the seller may prefer to select the one of you who is a sure thing when it comes to paying for the home.

💲 Placing the Right Offer

Your real estate agent will offer valuable advice when it comes to creating an offer that catches the attention of the seller. You don’t want to bid too low and risk an immediate denial. At the same time, you don’t want to overbid when you could’ve bought the house for a lesser amount.

Keep in mind that some sellers are emotionally attached to their homes, and your offer might need to appeal to their sentimental side. So, if you feel passionately about the property, you might want to consider adding your comments to the offer as to why this home would mean so much to you.

🔎 What Happens after the Offer is Accepted?

After the seller has accepted your offer, you may have to make an earnest money deposit. This deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about accepting their offer. You’ll also want to get an appraisal and fulfill any other requirements set forth by the mortgage lender, but they normally take care of scheduling these things.

You’ll do a final walk through of the home and sign any remaining paperwork before you close on the home. At the closing, you’ll sign several documents, including your loan documents, escrow documents, and property deed. After the closing, the title company will record the deed, then notify your agent once it’s been recorded. After that, the agent will hand over the keys, so you can move into your new home.

Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give The McArdle Team a call today at 360-710-1444 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.

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