Buying a new home can be as stressful as it is exciting. Here are the steps for how to buy a house successfully.
Establish a Budget
First, figure out how much you can realistically afford. A good rule of thumb is making sure your total house payment doesn’t exceed 35% of your take-home pay. Keep in mind that your housing payment will include taxes and insurance.
Save money for the down payment. The more you put down, the less you’ll pay every month on the mortgage. Try to save 20% of the purchase price for your down payment.
Get Pre-Approved by a Lender
One of the most important parts of how to buy a house is applying for pre-approval. During this process, the lender checks your credit rating and gathers financial documents, such as:
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns
- Credit card statements
- Auto loan statements
- Student loan statements
- Bank statements
The amount you get pre-approved for doesn’t necessarily mean you should shop for a house that costs that much. Compare your pre-approval amount and its corresponding monthly loan payment with your budget.
How to Buy a House: Find a Buyer’s Agent
A crucial piece of advice on how to buy a house is to hire a good buyer’s agent. Your agent will help you find a house that meets your wants and needs and falls within your budget. An agent offers:
- Home buying expertise
- Familiarity with the local market
- Familiarity with listing agents
- Negotiation skills
Begin Looking at Properties
Work with your realtor to identify which neighborhoods are the best fit for your family. Make a list of what you must have in your new home and what you would like to have. Take your time with this process. Look at several homes so you don’t make a hasty decision. Seeing many different homes lets you compare what is available.
How to Make an Offer to Buy a House
Your realtor will be especially valuable when deciding how much to offer. Discuss what to include as contingencies in the contract. Include a home inspection as a contingency. It’s important to know about any defects that might affect your buying decision.
How to Buy a House: Closing
You’ll enter into the closing process once you and the seller agree on the final terms of the deal. Another word for the closing process is escrow. Escrow typically takes 30 to 45 days. During this time, you’ll be communicating often with your realtor, lender, and escrow agency.
Once you have purchased your new home, you’ll move in and get everything set up. You’ll have to turn on utilities, buy furniture and appliances, and work with movers. Budget for these steps when buying a new home.