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Buying A House Checklist For First Time Homebuyers

Buying a house, especially if you’re a first time home buyer can be daunting. And searching for a buying a house checklist online can also be annoying.

From finding a real estate agent or broker to assist you in the purchase of a property to start house hunting, the process can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.

In order of importance, here’s a ‘buying a house checklist’ we put together to make the process as smooth and as easy as possible.

Number 4 of this checklist is extremely important, so make sure you get to it.

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Check out: 5 Signs You’re Not Ready To Buy A House

In brief summary, this buying a house checklist includes checking your credit score, shopping for a mortgage lender, assembling your team – including hiring a real estate agent, gather important documents, making an offer on the house, etc…

Buying a House Checklist for First Time Home Buyers:

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Step 1. Review your credit report.

The 1st thing to do when buying a house is to review your credit score.

In fact, your credit score plays a major role in whether a mortgage lender will qualify you a for a loan. And even if you qualify, the interest rate you will get depends on how good your credit score is.

Anything above 700 is considered a good credit score in the eyes of mortgage lenders. If you have something below that, don’t lose hope yet.

A 580 credit score will qualify you for a FHA loan. Or you can always take steps to improve it. So, don’t procrastinate – start working on this step right now.

So review your credit report from an online monitoring service like CreditSesame. It’s completely free. And correct any errors.

Check out: How To Raise Your Credit Score to 850

Step 2. Make a budget.

The best thing about following this buying a house checklist is the fact that it covers the most important aspect of the home buying process, which is making a budget.

Before looking at homes, you need a budget. There is a good reason for that.

Buying a house will most likely be the biggest purchase you will ever make.

Not only will you need to come up with a down payment and have enough of a stable job to make mortgage payments, you will also have to have extra cash related upfront costs.

These costs include inspection costs, renovating costs, closing costs, maintenance costs, taxes, property insurance, etc…

So you will have to make a budget, taking into consideration all of these costs and expenses associated with buying a house.

Related: Apply for a Mortgage Loan Today

Step 3. Gather your documents.

A mortgage lender will need some paperwork from you before they offer you a mortgage loan.

They include your income tax returns, w-2 forms, current pay stubs, bank statements, asset statements and any other financial statements. So, start gathering them now.

Step 4. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan

Unless you will buy your home with cold cash, you will need a home loan. So, consider getting pre-qualified for a home loan before you start house hunting.

There are lots of reasons why getting pre-qualified for a mortgage loan is a good idea. For starters, it tells the sellers that you’re serious when you start shopping for your house.

Additionally, getting pre-qualified for a mortgage gives you an idea of how much house you can afford. Mortgage lenders will pre-qualify you based on how much loan they will be able to offer you once everything is done.

So it’s worthwhile to know the limits of your borrowing power. The worst thing that can happen to you is to find a house that you fall in love with, and find out later that you cannot afford it.

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Step 5. Build your team.

Some first time home buyers make the mistake of ‘doing it alone’, of looking for a property without the help of a professional, like a real estate agent.

This mistake can cost you dearly.

Simply looking at properties on Zillow, Redfin, or on Google isn’t enough. Some of the best deals don’t even make it to these sources.

Real estate agents or brokers have insider knowledge that you don’t have. A good real estate agent understands the current market conditions and knows how to evaluate a property.

Also a home inspector can give you advice and information on the property so you can make an intelligent decision.

A home buying inspection checklist will be important in that regard.

A financial advisor is also a professional that you need to consider in your team.

Although a financial advisor may not be the first person you think to consult before buying a house, but a financial advisor can advise you whether now is a good time for you to buy a house.

They can help you understand how buying a home fits with your overall financial situation and goals. Of course, make sure your financial advisor has experience with real estate investment. See, 5 Mistakes People Make When Hiring A Financial Advisor.

Step 6. Begin looking for properties.

This ‘buying a house checklist’ will help you find the home of your dream.

With a pre-approval letter in hand, at this point you’re pretty much have an idea how much house you can afford.

And with working with a real estate agent, who can tell you where to look, all you need to do is to start the process. In addition to working with a real estate broker, look at online listings, and visit open houses

You also need to start researching the neighborhood. This is incredibly important. You want to know whether you would want to raise a family in that neighborhood. Are there schools nearby? Is it a quiet or noisy neighborhood?

Step 7. Make an offer and prepare for closing.

Once you find a property that you fall in love with, work with your real estate broker to make an offer.

Your real estate agent should be able to give you prices of comparable homes and you should use these numbers to make your initial offer.

Also, start getting ready to start the closing process. Find out with your broker how the closing process works – it may vary depending on your city or state. Also, make sure you know all of the deadlines.

In conclusion, follow these steps to buying a house checklist to help you find the home you’ve always dreamed about.

Click here to compare mortgage rates through LendingTree. It’s completely FREE.

Buying a House Checklist: Summary

1) Review your credit report – check your credit score to make sure they are good. If not, take steps to improve it.

2) Make a budget – that will let you know how much house you can afford.

3) Gather your most important documents, including your bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, etc.

4) Get pre-qualified for a mortgage.

5) Build your team, including getting a home inspector. We don’t have a ‘home buying inspection checklist, but we have found a great home inspection checklist here for more information.

6) Start looking for properties.

7) Make an offer and prepare for closing.

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