Buying Your First Home: A Smart Yet Simple Roadmap

by Darwin on November 12, 2015

If you are considering purchasing your first home, you may feel intimidated by the unfamiliar terminology and the intimidating process of getting a mortgage loan. Millions of people purchase homes each year, going step-by-step through the same process. Here is a roadmap of a first home purchase, to help you understand your part in achieving your goal of home ownership:

Determine Your Readiness

Owning a home isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer not to have the monthly mortgage obligation and real estate tax burden. Others don’t want to have the responsibility of constant maintenance that owning a home entails. But home ownership can be the basis of building wealth and security for your family. Carefully consider whether you are ready to take on this obligation, both financially and emotionally, to ensure a good home ownership experience.

Evaluate Your Financial Health

Take an honest look at your income and all your expenses. You may be able to cut a number of expenses to make monthly mortgage payments easier. You should also check your credit record to ensure that it is accurate. Banks will use your credit score to determine whether you are a good credit risk, as well as the interest rate they are willing to provide for your loan. If there are errors or old information on your credit record, have these corrected before you apply for a mortgage. You should also try to reduce your current debt, such as for cars, credit cards or student debt, as much as possible to make paying for a mortgage easier. If possible, you should also put aside some savings for large purchases you may require after you move into the new home.

Save For A Sizable Down Payment

If you put down a sizable amount as a down payment on a home, you will be able to have a lower monthly mortgage payment. Save as much as you can for your down payment, because it will provide instant equity in the property and allow you to save more on interest for your mortgage.

Browse Some Neighborhoods

Talk to friends, church members and family about good neighborhoods close to schools, shopping and transportation. Spend some time driving around desirable areas to see if you like the environment. Talk to a few people who live there. They can give you an honest opinion about living in the area.

Contact A Sales Agent

Most homebuyers use a real estate sales agent to help them find and view properties. This tactic will help you find the properties that are suitable for your needs and within your price range. The sales agent can also point out important features of the home and the neighborhood.

Get Pre-Approval For A Mortgage

Your bank can pre-approve an amount of mortgage loan, in advance of finding the right home. Pre-approval tells sellers that you are a qualified buyer that is ready to purchase a home.

Look At A Range of Homes

Once you know how much you can afford, you can begin to visit suitable properties that have the features you want at the price you need. Not every property you view will fit your family’s requirements. The search for the right home can take a significant amount of time. You can view a number of properties at, along with information on mortgages and insurance, which will help you understand your options.

Make An Offer

Once you have found a home that suits your requirements, you can make an offer, that is, offer a price that you think the property is worth. The seller may not always accept the offer, and may, in turn, make a counter-offer at a higher price. If you really like the house and think it is worth the counter-offer, you should accept the amended price.

Have the Home Inspected

A home inspector can investigate various home systems to ensure that they are in working order. If the inspector finds significant problems, you may be able to have the seller repair the problem, or you may negotiate a lower price for the home.

Complete Your Mortgage Arrangements

After your offer has been accepted and the property has been cleared by the home inspector, you can complete your mortgage arrangements with the bank. The bank representative will inform you of any further documentation you will need to provide for the closing.

Talk To An Insurance Agent

Lending institutions will generally require you to get property insurance to cover the amount of the loan, at the minimum. The annual premium may be rolled into your monthly mortgage payment.

Close on Your New Home

After all the paperwork is completed, you will be given a date to close on the home, during which you will sign all the necessary paperwork to complete the mortgage loan process and transfer ownership of the property to you.

Purchasing your home may seem like a huge undertaking, but if you consider it as a series of manageable steps, you will find it an easy task.

Anna Cameron works in consumer finance and has some useful insights to share online when it comes to buying a home and other financing topics. She is a regular writer for several property and consumer finance websites.

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