Buying a home is a major milestone in many people’s lives. It’s the start of their financial independence and can be a significant turning point. Owning your home is an achievement that you should be very proud of.
There are a lot of steps to buying a home. The entire process can take months to complete. There are a lot of people to work with, forms to fill out and you’ll get bombarded with a lot of information in a relatively short period of time.
Relax, you don’t have to know everything all at once. You’ll be working with trained professionals like lenders, real estate agents and title agents who are there to help you along the way.
Although it might seem intimidating at first, buying a home in Alabama isn’t difficult. It can be done with a lot of concentrated effort and some thoughtful planning.
You might run into a few bumps along the road, but none of them are usually significant enough to deter from your overall goal of home ownership.
Here are some tips to help first time home buyers achieve their goal:
1. Get your finances in order.
One of the most important things to do before buying a home is getting your finances in order. Take a look at your current bills and expenses. If you have any outstanding loans or other debts, now is a good time to pay them off.
A home mortgage is a major financial obligation, so you should make sure that any other debts are cleared up before taking on this financial responsibility.
Once you’ve done that, you can start thinking about how big of a home you can afford and how much you want to spend. A good way to determine this is by talking to your bank, credit union or other financial institution about getting pre-qualified for a home loan.
The lender can let you know how much you’d be approved for and how much you should expect to pay for a down payment.
Most down payments are around 20 to 25 percent of the home’s sale price. Once you’ve decided that you want to buy a home, you should start saving for it as soon as possible.
Keep in mind the fact that there are other costs involved in owning a home. Homeowners insurance, utilities, repairs and renovations and any related association fees are just some of the costs that you’ll have to factor in.
There are also fees for the home appraiser and closing costs to leave room for in your budget.
Related: 6 Steps To Buying A Home
2. Talk to a realtor.
The next step is to consult a realtor. Realtors have many years of knowledge and experience. They have lots of resources about local homes for sale available at their fingertips.
Meeting with a real estate agent can help them determine what kind of house you’re looking for, what neighborhoods and amenities are appealing and what your price range is.
Realtors use this information to find listings that best meet your needs. They can also help you plan for future steps once you’ve chosen a home that you want to buy.
Take your time to find the right real estate agent that will work on your behalf. Feel free to read reviews and client testimonials.
Learn more about how many years they have been in the business and how many homes they have helped customers buy and sell.
You may want to talk to a few different realtors before choosing one that best fits your needs.
3. Start looking at homes.
Now the fun begins: going out and looking at homes that you want to buy! Your realtor can schedule appointments for you to attend open houses, or you can go to them when your schedule allows.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions while you’re there. The more questions you ask, the more the seller and their agent can see how interested you are in that particular property.
You don’t have to decide right away, either. Every home is different. If a property seems too good to be true, it usually is. Come prepared with a list of features to check out while you’re at an open house.
You should have certain items that are necessities and others that would be nice to have. Some homes may need a little work.
You can do the work yourself if you’re so inclined after buying the home. If not, you may ask the seller to do the required improvements or repairs before the sale is complete.
4. Make an offer.
When you’ve found the home of your dreams, it’s time to make an offer.
Your realtor can help you present an offer to the seller that is reasonable according to the type of home, neighborhood and market conditions. The seller can either accept your offer, reject the offer or make a counter-offer.
If you’re in a seller’s market, you may have to make an offer that’s more than you anticipated.
This may be necessary when there are other parties interested in the same house that you are.
In a buyer’s market, you can afford to be a bit more conservative with your offer.
Whatever market you’re in, you should ask your realtor to conduct a market analysis to see what similar properties in the area are going for. This can help you make a qualified, realistic offer on the home.
5. Enter the closing process.
Once the offer is accepted, your loan is approved and the home inspection is done, you’re ready to close on your new home!
You’ll be filling out a lot of paperwork and conducting a final walk-through to ensure everything is to your liking.
After the paperwork is approved and filed, you’ll be given the keys to the house so that you can finally move in!
Congratulations! You are now a homeowner! It took a lot of effort and dedication, but your determination really paid off. Buying a home isn’t as scary as some would make it seem.
It just takes time and careful planning to make everything go smoothly. Make a schedule and start setting goals. Soon you’ll own that home you’ve always wanted.
Have Questions? Ask Gina!
Buck Realty is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give Gina Buck a call today at (334) 657-0939 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.