Getting ready to purchase a new home is exciting, but also stressful and nerve-wracking. Many people simply don’t know where to begin or how to proceed through the steps of buying a home. Using a house hunting checklist like the one below can make the process easier.
How to Buy a House Step #1: Get a Realtor
It’s possible to buy a home without a real estate agent, but average people without experience in real estate or legal fields will need the assistance of a good realtor. A real estate agent can get appointments to see homes, help buyers make offers and negotiate house prices, and communicate with the seller.
Particularly if a person is buying a home on a tight schedule while on a house hunting trip, a real estate agent comes in handy.
Buying a New Home Step #2: See Houses
It’s important to keep an open mind when looking at houses. Don’t waste time on homes that obviously won’t work (homes exceeding one’s price range or homes much too small for one’s family), but err on the side of caution. See as many homes as time allows and evaluate houses effectively.
Spend as much or as little time in a house as necessary. People who walk into a house and immediately hate it should feel free to walk right out and go on to the next home. Take more time and get an in-depth look at houses that are serious possibilities.
Home Buyer Checklist Step #3: Make an Offer
Buying a house really begins with making an offer. Real estate agents usually have prepared offer forms and can quickly help buyers to fill in the blanks. An offer is usually accompanied by earnest money of about $1,000 and may either be rejected, accepted, or countered.
Offers usually include an expiration date, usually 24 hours, to ensure that the seller responds quickly. It should also include a clause that allows the buyer to back out if a home inspection reveals costly repairs.
Purchasing a New Home Step #4: Get a Home Inspection
Once an offer has been accepted, it’s customary to have a home inspection. Professional home inspectors evaluate the structural integrity of a house. They usually point out many things that home buyers may have overlooked, like internal or external water damage, termite or ant infestations, foundation cracks, and water leaks.
Typical home inspections cost between $200 and $500, due at the time of the inspection. If there are repairs home buyers would like done before closing, they can write them into the purchase and sale agreement and have it signed by the sellers.
House Buying Checklist Step #5: Find Financing
After an accepted offer, the other thing home buyers should do is get financing for a mortgage loan. Ideally, they should have already been pre-approved for a loan for the amount of the house. Shop around for the best mortgage rates and request an application from the institution that offers the best deal.
Depending on the state and each bank’s requirements, loan applicants may need to submit income verification, bank and credit card account statements, tax returns, and a deposit check for the down payment.
People embark on an unfamiliar journey when they buy a house, particularly their first. The steps for buying a new home are getting a realtor, seeing homes, making an offer, hiring a home inspector, and securing financing.
Social Factors to Consider Before Buying a House
Purchasing the family home is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make. Whilst the surveyor has made sure that a home complies with all the legal and structural requirements and the estate agent has determined its fair market value, it is down to the individual to weigh-up the relative social factors involved. A checklist is absolutely essential before buying a house. Don’t let the home buying process become the source of a costly mistake.
The Cost of Buying a House is Not Just Financial
According to the July 2009 Halifax house price index, the average property now costs £158,871. Whilst the price of the family home provides a good indication of the local area, certain factors will be more important to one person than another. A checklist will allow the buyer to determine the suitability of their purchase at the right stage of the home buying process.
Checklist Before Buying a House
Noise. Look for factors that may disturb your sleep, such as the sound of traffic from a nearby interstate, rowdy teenagers or loud parties. Always visit during the small hours of the morning as sound travels more at night.
Smells. Odours from manufacturing, waste processing and rendering facilities can be difficult to live with. A few random visits to the local area before buying a house will quickly enable someone to determine whether this could be an issue.
Animals. If not keen on certain animals, make sure that the new neighbours don’t have any. The sound of constantly barking dogs could be very annoying.
Hospitals. Make sure that a medical facility is not too far away.
Crime. Check with the local police department to find out whether the local area has a problem with family home break-ins, burglary, drugs or car theft. The police usually keep comprehensive records of the worst affected neighbourhoods.
Sex offenders. U.S. citizens who have young children should consider checking the National Sex Offender Public website. This is currently available to the residents of 40 U.S. states. This information is not available in the UK.
Commute time. Check to see how long it will take to get to work by car or public transport as part of the home buying process. Will both travel time and costs increase as a result of the move?
Schooling. Those who have young children need to be aware of how accessible schooling is. What is the reputation of schools in the local area?
Drawing-up a checklist is absolutely essential before buying a house as it helps to identify potentially troublesome factors that the professionals don’t look at. After all, not all home buying ‘costs’ are financially quantifiable. Invest a little time prior to purchasing the family home.
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