1. Get Loan Pre-Approval
This step is extremely important. It will help you to know what you can afford and determine if there are any glitches in your credit that need attention before buying. Talk with a few lenders to get rate quotes and to find one that fits your working style. After you are pre-approved, make sure to pay close attention to your finances and do not make any rash decisions or large purchases, such as a car, until after the purchase of your new home.
2. Find An Agent
An agent will lead you through the process of the paperwork, negotiation strategies, inspections and ultimately settlement by placing offers, negotiating final prices and settlement terms and closing costs to settlement.
Find a professional agent that is knowledgeable in the area in which you are looking to buy. In most cases in the MD, VA and DC area, if a home is listed in the MRIS, the area multiple listing system, then the commission is paid entirely by the seller- not the buyer. A Buyer Broker is an agent that advocating and working exclusively for your best interests.
By finding a knowledgeable real estate agent that you trust, you are likely to save money, purchase the home of your choice and have a smooth and successful transaction.
3. Prioritize Your Needs and Wants
While location and price range will dictate a lot about the home you will be looking for, you should also think about what amenities you hope for. Start big with the non-negotiables such as the specific communities you want to live in, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, what style of homes you are interested in looking at, whether or not you need a garage, etc. After the larger must-haves are established it is easier to understand what is negotiable in the long run. If you are prepared beforehand you can assure that you are looking for everything that is necessary.
4. Look Into Potential Programs
In recent years there has been an increased effort by the government to try and stimulate home purchases. One of these efforts includes tax credits and benefits for first time homebuyers. During your home buying process, be sure to look and see if any credits or benefits are available for you. Some of these programs will allow savings on the initial purchase of the home and others will save money back in the form of a tax return. Either way, the saved money can be a major bonus and it is well worth the effort to find out. Your realtor and lender will help you determine if you qualify for any programs.
5. Inspect Your Future Home, Choose Your Settlement Company ect.
Research the companies you will want to use for your inspections and settlement. Your contract to purchase your home may be contingent on certain inspections such as termite, home inspection, radon or well and septic. Looking into the cost of these inspections and choosing what company fits your expectations will put in a position to be prepared to move forward. A choice of settlement company is generally the purchasers to make. There are many factors to consider, your agent will help you navigate the way to a successful conclusion!