You’ve likely invested a good portion of your life thus far dreaming about owning a house. Home ownership is a symbol of stability, success, and security. As your goal of owning a home comes to fruition, reaches maturity, and begins to manifest, preparation and education are key factors in nurturing that dream. Here are the six steps you need to know when buying a home.

Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row

You may already know you need a significant down payment of around 20 percent. You may also know that you need a healthy credit report. But what many first-time buyers fail to realize is that pre-approval for the home mortgage loan is the first necessary step in preparing for your real estate purchase. Here’s why:

First, pre-approval for your home mortgage loan means you’re qualified, armed, and able to buy a home. Second, the home mortgage loan realistically defines your home buying budget. Third, pre-approval signals to the real estate agent that you’re locked, loaded, and ready to pull the trigger. Finally, pre-approval gives you an edge over other buyers who also put in offers on the same property.

You’ll also learn that the purchaser, not the seller, usually carries responsibility for the closing costs. Closing costs encompass services and service providers such as surveys, appraisals, inspections, administrative services, legal fees, courier services, title checks, credit checks, escrow agents, and real estate agent commissions. You can estimate closing costs to be about one percent to eight percent of the total value of the property you’re buying. Closing costs do not come out of the money you borrow for your home mortgage loan. You’ll pay those costs out of pocket.

Don’t forget: You’ll need to obtain a homeowner’s insurance policy, too, as well as paying property taxes, and, when applicable, homeowner’s association fees.

Seeking Out the Right Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents have different specialties, qualifications, certifications, and personalities. It’s critical that you find a real estate agent who is an expert in the type of property you hope to buy, as well as in the areas in which you envision yourself living. Interview agents. Ask questions. Read reviews. There are plenty of real estate agents competing for your business. You don’t need to commit to the first agent you meet. Find the agent that’s right for you.

Your Wish List, The House Hunt, and Submitting an Offer

First time homebuyers may have grand visions regarding the features, upgrades, and elements of their dream house. You wouldn’t be alone in dreaming up granite countertops, wooden floors, high ceilings, and state-of-the-art appliances. And you also wouldn’t be alone in realizing that your budget and your wish list don’t align. Your real estate agent will help you refine your wish list to fit your budget.

The fun part comes next: Armed with buying power and a realistic wish list, you’re ready to look at houses! Have a blast! The house hunt may be the most exciting portion of your journey to home ownership.

When you find a house that has won you over, you’ll submit an offer to the seller with the guidance of your real estate agent. Your agent will also assist you with negotiations if needed. Do not get your heart set on a particular house at this point because submitting an offer does not guarantee acceptance by the seller. You may not get the first house you try to buy. Keep an open mind.

The Waiting Game

Ugh. Your offer has been excited, and you’ve got antsy feet ready to move into your new house. But it’s not time just yet. The house has to undergo title checks, surveys, inspections, appraisals, and other time-consuming processes. Be patient.

The Closing Table

When the house has been cleared for purchase and all the documents are in order, it’s time to head to the closing table to seal the deal. Once the final meeting is over, you’ll be a homeowner.

Moving Day

After closing, you’ll have the title and the keys to your new house. By now, the previous owner has gathered up and removed their possessions, leaving the house free and clear for you to move into. And don’t forget, if you loved the services of your real estate agent, share the love and tell a friend.

Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give Robert Stewart a call today at 952-412-1290 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.