Home Buying for Beginners
Are you familiar with the cooking concept of "mise en place"? Literally translated, it means to set in place. It means that before they start to cook, a good chef does all the prep work. They check their ingredients and cooking tools, and they know they have everything needed in the recipe. They take the time to properly thaw the meat, wash the produce, measure the seasonings, and dice the onions—all before the pan is ever put over the heat. A good chef understands that mise en place, or proper preparation, is key to getting the results they desire, and they don't skip ahead. They assess and prepare, and then they cook. Home buying for beginners should follow the same concept.
Preparation is the key to success when making your first investment in real estate. And one of the biggest ways to prepare is to educate yourself on the home buying process itself. Know the steps involved to purchase real estate before you start to shop.
So with that in mind, I'd like to walk you through the six basic steps of the home buying process.
1. Review your budget.
In the cooking analogy, reviewing your budget is sort of like checking the freezer and the pantry to see what you have to work with, before finalizing what you will cook. For instance, you can't make prime rib without a rib roast. So if all you find in the freezer is chicken, you will either need to head to the store for more supplies, or you will have to change your recipe.
Such is the budget in the home buying process. You need to review what is realistic for your real estate purchase based on your income, savings, and goals. I recommend you speak to a lender early in the process to see what you have to work with, and then move on to step 2.
2. Narrow down your list.
Sit down and identify your top 5 needs and wants. Only you know what is a must-have for you in a property, and every situation is different. This step is a good time to talk with a trusted agent who specializes in properties in the neighborhood (as I do for the Fife-Milton-Edgewood area). They can guide you as you whittle down your list, based on your budget and specific situations. Once they know what you're looking for, your agent can begin to show you properties.
3. Submit and negotiate the offer.
After you've picked a property that you want, it's time to make an offer. The terms of the offer will vary, and your agent or attorney should walk you through all of the details. Don't be afraid to ask questions! It's also not uncommon for sellers to make a counter-offer, so some back and forth may occur. Once the buyer and seller agree on the terms, it's called "going mutual," and it means that you, my friend, are well on your way to buying a house. But wait, there's more!
4. Inspection day.
I recommended that buyers get an inspection on any property they are looking to purchase. Your agent can connect you with a local home inspector, so that you have a detailed report of the condition of the property. Your offer may or may not be contingent upon the inspection. Talk to your agent or attorney about how to proceed and utilize the inspection report, based upon the terms of your specific purchase and sale agreement.
5. Finalize contingencies.
Contingencies are the details in your agreement, like an inspection or selling another house to free up funds for a down payment, that may impact the terms of the agreement. Again, your agent or attorney should walk you through your specific contract, and again, ask questions! Once all contingencies are dealt with, the next step is to...
6. Close and get those keys!
Closing is when all of the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Once everything is signed, you'll be handed the keys. Congratulations! You've just purchased your first real estate investment.
Real estate and housing choices shape our daily lives and future, and wise real estate purchases have the power to improve your future. Our team members are passionate about helping you leverage real estate to fulfill your current needs, in addition to building financial security for your future. Home buying for beginners can be overwhelming, so give us a call to help you cut through the confusion and meet your goals. And be sure to sign up to receive my FREE Buyers Guide below!
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