1. The first step in the process is to start with homebuyer education.
This should consist of a HUD approved first time homebuyers workshop, coupled with an individual session with a housing counselor. The workshop will give you a solid foundation for the entire process; starting with financing, home selection, negotiation, closing and finally keeping your new home. There is a wealth of information to be gained from the industry professionals that speak at each session. The individual sessions with the counselor will be specific to your individual situation. The discussion will center around credit, employment, budget and savings.
2. The most important thing to do, after you have completed your counseling, is to is to speak with a lender. Why? Well, you need to find out:
Having this initial conversation with a lender before looking at homes will ensure that when you find the home that suits you best, you are ready to move forward with the process of making it yours. Buyers who wait to talk to a lender until after they have found the home of their choice risk losing that home to another buyer who has already done their homework.
3. Pre-Approval vs. Pre-Qualification
It may sound like a lot of work just to get ready to look at homes, but serious buyers know that they will need to go through this step anyway. Pre-approvals are what sellers are looking for from someone who presents an offer to buy their property.
4. FINALLY! The search for your new home begins.
5. When you are ready to make an offer you will need 2 things:
6. Negotiate any counter offers from the seller until everyone is comfortable and happy and the sales agreement is signed.
Believe it or not, you are now only part of the way through the home buying process. During your contract (escrow) period for the next 45 to 60 days (or longer) your agent will be working hard to manage all of the players involved in your home purchase transaction. These include your lender with their loan processors and underwriters, the title company, the sellers and their agent, any home inspectors, appraisers, surveyors, insurance companies, etc. It is only when everything has been completed that settlement occurs, and you receive the keys to your new home.