I want to buy a house, but what should I expect?

October 24, 2019 | Gail Hardy

I want to buy a house, but what should I expect?

You’re ready to really “adult” and buy your first house! You start browsing Zillow and find some houses you like, but you’re unsure of what to do first or what to expect in the home buying process. Let’s work through it step-by-step so you know what to expect.
It’s important to gauge your financial situation before you start looking at homes. This will aid in setting a budget and a comfortable monthly payment, as well as help to identify what type of financing you are eligible for. Every buyer is not eligible for all types of financing, and every home is not able to be financed with all types of financing. The type of financing you qualify for is determined by several factors including credit score, payment history (were payments made on time and were there any missed payments), length of credit history, amount of debt (commonly referred to as debt to income ratio), and your income. The type of financing a home qualifies for is determined by the condition of the home and its location. A lender will consider all of these before pre-qualifying or pre-approving you to purchase.
Next, find a realtor. Many people do this through a referral from friends and family. A good tool to find a realtor is to look at their reviews online. See what their previous clients have to say. These can typically be found on Zillow or Facebook. You want a realtor that will look out for your best interests, be honest, and advocate for you.
It’s time for the fun part—looking at houses! You and your realtor will identify homes that meet your wish list. Once you find a home you really like, your realtor will assist you in making an offer. The realtor will know the necessary paperwork to comply with state and local guidelines.
After the offer is accepted, in most cases, you will have decided to complete a home inspection and possibly a termite inspection. These are extended to the buyer (unless it is a VA loan, then the termite inspection is a seller’s expense). It’s important to set these up quickly to give the inspector time to complete the inspection and subsequently, you and your realtor time to negotiate repairs within the timeline stated in the purchase agreement. If you’re able, I suggest the buyer attend the home inspection or at least be there the last thirty minutes so the inspector can go over his findings with you. It’s also a good time to measure for furniture, blinds, etc. or to take another look to think about furniture placement or what you may need that you don’t have.
You’ll need to get an insurance quote and communicate it with your lender. It’s important to protect your investment, and it is required by your lender until your loan is paid off. Don’t forget to call the utility companies to establish service in your name. Typically, the seller is responsible for utilities only through the day of closing.
Your lender will also be ordering an appraisal shortly after you go under contract on your new home. This is a cost to the buyer as well. The appraisal determines the home’s worth and is done to ensure you do not overpay. It protects you, the buyer, and also your lender.
Aside from this, your lender may ask for additional information from you such as income documents, your assets, etc.
The best part comes last—Closing Day! You’ll sign tons of paperwork, and then finally, the home is all yours! In most cases, the buyer and seller will meet at the end of the closing to exchange keys, garage door openers, and other relevant information about the home. Lastly, call the moving truck and start unloading because you made it to the finish line and are now officially a HOMEOWNER!
Gail Hardy is an affiliate broker with Southland Realtors. Reviews on Gail can be found on Zillow and her business page on Facebook. She welcomes new clients and can be reached at 865-805-3054 or email Gail@southlandrealtors.com.
Author:
Gail Hardy