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Your step-by-step guide to buying a home

real estate agent holding a cardboard with house design

The steps to purchasing a home might seem overwhelming, whether you’re an experienced buyer or buying for the first time. You must familiarize yourself with navigating the real estate market and mind the myriad details that come with it. To avoid confusion or worse, buyer’s remorse, we’ve provided a home buying process checklist to make your experience less fraught than it ought to be.

Step 1: Browse the internet

To give you an idea of how your real estate wish list stacks up against actual homes for sale, look online. Take note of the ones that pique your interest. Monitor prices to give you an idea of housing trends in your chosen neighborhood.

Step 2: Review your credit score

Don’t leave it up to your lender to dig up your credit score – find out yourself. Your credit score determines whether you’re financially eligible to buy a house.
You can acquire your credit report from each of the three major national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These reports calculate FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score to determine creditworthiness. Your FICO score is any number between 300 and 900. Having a credit score above 700 means that you manage your credit well, and you have a better chance of being approved for your preferred loan.

Therefore, it’s important to request your credit score and thoroughly peruse it for errors. Reporting these errors can significantly improve your credit standing.

Step 3: Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Getting pre-approved is our top advice for first-time home buyers. A mortgage pre-approval is a letter you obtain from your lender indicating how much you can borrow to buy a home based on your financial background, which includes your credit score and report. Getting yourself pre-approved for a mortgage also sets your budget, allowing you to buy homes within your means. A preapproval also shows sellers you’re a serious buyer.

Step 4: Hire a real estate agent

An experienced real estate agent will go a long way in helping you navigate the real estate buying process – especially if you’re a first timer. They’ll help you find a house that fits both your needs and your budget. They can tell you the best time to buy a home. You can also expect an experienced local agent to know the neighborhoods you’re interested in like the back of their hand.

Step 5: Begin shortlisting homes

With a set budget, thanks to your mortgage pre-approval and the guidance of your agent, you can now search for homes in earnest. Chances are, you’ll also be flooded with possibilities. Browse for homes on sites with filters that allow you to narrow your search by area, price, number of rooms, etc. Ask your agent for listings so you can schedule private showings or virtual home tours.

It’s best to remain flexible with your search and remember to stick to your budget. There’s nothing worse than aiming for a fantasy home in a zip code you can’t afford. Experiment with your search parameters and see where your budget will get you if you tweaked your wish list.

Step 6: Make an offer

Once you’ve found your home, make an offer based on your agent’s comparative market analysis or “comps.” Your agent will compare the prices of recently sold homes in the neighborhood with similar features to the houses on your shortlist. Using the CMA as a reference, your agent will come up with a fair offer on the property and give you wiggle room for negotiation.

Step 7: Get a home inspection

Before signing the dotted line, hire a home inspector, whose standard services cover the following:

  • HVAC system
  • Interior plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Roof, attic, floors
  • Windows and doors
  • Foundation
  • Basement
  • Structural components
  • A home inspection tells you the state of what’s listed above. This is vital, especially if you’re buying an older house. But even if you’re buying a new construction home, experts agree that a home inspection is important because some contractors can

    Step 8: Get a home appraisal

    After you get pre-approved, your lender will conduct a home appraisal to guarantee that your home is a sound investment. Lenders need to do appraisals because they can’t give you more than what your home is worth.

    Step 9: Do a final walkthrough

    Even if you’re bent on buying the property, you should do a final walkthrough before you close. Your time alone will allow you to check that the seller has undertaken any requested repairs and has cleared out the property.

    Step 10: Close on your home

    Congratulations! You’re finally a homeowner! The closing stage brings together the parties involved in the home buying process, such as the buyer, seller, real estate agent, lawyer, etc. It also means that all fees and moneys owed are paid to involved parties in the transaction

    Are you looking for your dream home in Connecticut? Get in touch with experienced real estate agents Kathy Danais and Lisa Gordon. We have over 30 years of real estate experience to guarantee that you receive top notch service. Let us help you today. Call 860.214.1295 or 860.805.7722. You can also send us an email at kathydanais(at)gmail(dotted)com or lgordonrealtor(at)gmail(dotted)com.