Step 1: Talk to a Lender
There are two ways to get pre-approved. The first is where a lender will run your credit and have a discussion with you regarding how much money you make, how long you’ve been employed, as well as a few other questions depending on your credit situation. This is more of a consultation, but vital, especially early on (6-12 months away from buying). The second way entails a more in-depth process and involves gathering your W-2’s, bank statements, income tax returns, etc. If you’re 1-4 months away from purchase, you’ll be falling into the second method.
Step 2: Make Some (Initial) Choices
You’re pre-approved, ready to go, now what? Keep it organized. Make your lists. List out the top five (could be more, could be less) things you want in your first home. Do you want a hint for the first item? Location is a good one. Just as important: make a list of what you DON’T want in your first home. Remember, there will be compromises.
Step 3: The Search
This is the fun part! But we feel it’s important to keep an eye on the big ticket items: roof, windows, appliances / HVAC, foundation. Condo? Look at the building as close as you’re looking at the unit. Here’s where your real estate broker should be pointing out items you wouldn’t normally consider. After all, you haven’t done this before.
Step 4: Negotiation and Due Diligence
Step 5: The Closing
You’re almost there. The closing is a momentous occasion, one that should be celebrated even though you’ll be signing a stack of documents that will last you an hour. There are people that will play important roles throughout this day (attorney, broker, closer, lender), but at the end of it – – you get the keys and you’re officially a homeowner!!