A First-Time Homebuyer’s Timeline to Homeownership
Purchasing a home is not typically a decision a first-time buyer can make on a whim. This decision calls for a great deal of planning and preparation. In fact, all buyers (particularly those purchasing their first home) will benefit by starting preparations about a year in advance. Our South Florida real estate agency is here to see you through the process from start to finish. Here are some tips for preparing to buy your first home.
A Year Before Buying
A year before a home purchase, you will need to start setting some financial expectations. The first step in doing so will be to obtain a copy of your credit report and rectify any errors on it that might keep you from qualifying for a home loan. Once you have a better understanding of what kind of loan you can get approved for, you’ll want to decide how much you actually want to spend. You will need to consider both the financial requirements for a down payment and closing costs as well as your monthly housing expense payments. Then, determine a price range you’re comfortable with based off your current income and expenses.
Somewhere between the nine-month mark and the halfway point (if you haven’t done so already), it will be prudent to engage the services of a real estate professional to help you start narrowing down the specifics of where you want to live and the requirements for your new home. Scope out areas and have your neighborhood expert South Florida real estate professional educate you to help you get a feel for what living in a specific neighborhood would be like. If you qualify as a Stein Posner community hero, you can get discounts and credits to cover some costs at closing through our Community Heroes Program.
We also recommend that first-time buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage at least four months before the anticipated closing date. When you meet with the prospective lender, come prepared with all of the necessary paperwork (W-2 forms, tax returns, recent pay stubs, credit card, bank statements, past addresses, current/past loan statements, and any retirement account statements). Once you have been pre-approved, you can begin the fun part – shopping for your new home!
The Home Stretch
After you’ve found a home that you love, your South Florida real estate professional will prepare an offer. After the offer is accepted, you can expect the closing process to take about a month to 45 days, unless advised otherwise by your real estate professional. During this time you will need to arrange a home inspection, make a full application for financing and work with all service providers to complete the transaction. You will also want to obtain insurance prior to the final walk-through. On the day of the closing, or even the day before, you will need to wire the final remaining cash to close the transaction and then go to the closing and sign the closing documents. When all is complete, it’s time to move in!
The home-buying process may seem complicated for some but with the help of a Stein Posner real estate professional you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. Call our office today to get started.