Happy family outside of their newly-bought home, considering home buying guide.

How to Buy a House: Nine-Step Home Buying Guide

Many people begin the journey of homeownership by learning the process. How do you buy a house for the first time? What steps should you plan for in your own home purchasing experience? These are questions commonly faced by people who have just decided about buying a house. This article will walk you through everything you need to know step-by-step. Read this article to learn more about buying a house and join us for the nine-step home buying guide.

9 Steps in Home Buying

1. Choose Your Budget and Market

Every home purchase has a price-range. Starter homes range from $100K to $200K. Upper-range homes are between $400K and $700K, and there are million-plus homes that are mansions and beyond. The exact range will be determined by the market you’re shopping in as well as the home features you want.

First and foremost, pick your price range. Use online tools to calculate how this will look as a mortgage as well as your predicted monthly costs in payments and insurance for each price-range of homes. Then research home prices in your desired neighborhoods to make sure you’re shooting for a realistic goal.

2. Save Up for a Few Years

First-time home buying doesn’t happen overnight unless you’ve already been saving for years. Normally, the downpayment portion of a home purchase, somewhere between 2% and 20% of the home’s value, is something you must save up for. Having the downpayment ready both gets you a better interest rate and acts as early collateral on your loan. Most new homeowners save for a few years with a goal based on their dream home price range.

3. Begin House-Hunting

When your downpayment is saved up, it’s time to start house-hunting. You are now financially ready to approach buying a home that is currently on the market. Explore homes in the regions as well as neighborhoods you are interested in. Investigate for the right number of bedrooms and the right property features. Look for homes that make you smile to walk through and that you would enjoy living in and, of course, stick inside your price range.

4. Build a List of Finalists

Once you have explored a few dozen houses online and in person, make a list of finalists. Rank the homes by what feels like your favorite houses, objectively list the pros and cons of each. Calculate which have the most features you like and which have features you don’t like. Use this process to identify a few finalist houses that you’d be willing to bid on and choose a single best-in-show winner as your first pick.

5. Apply for Mortgage Pre-Approval

Now apply for your mortgage, when you have a few homes in a definite price range in mind. The lender you choose will appreciate your firm decision-making. Ask to apply for a loan to be pre-approved. 

Pre-approval means that your application has been accepted. The lender will lend to you –  but the loan isn’t active yet. This means you can go into a home bid with guaranteed financing but don’t have to take the loan until the purchase is complete.

6. Inspect the Winning Home

Go to your finalist house and schedule a top-to-bottom property inspection. Have an engineer confirm that everything about the house is in working order and warn you about the oldest systems that may need repair. Don’t take a house with a broken roof or foundation unless the price is slashed. Keep an eye out for invisible damage like mold infestations. This step is to ensure that you get the full value of the home and avoid any lemons.

7. Bid on a House and Negotiate

Take your pre-approved mortgage as well as your clean inspection report to the selling real estate agent and make a bid. There might be bidding competition or the seller might accept your offer and enter negotiations right away. If your bid is accepted, begin negotiating on the best price based on maintenance assets and penalties. Talk about the state of the roof, the age of the appliances, recent renovations, and seller provisions that might duck the price for you. Then close negotiations with a handshake and sign the papers.

You may be asked to pay Escrow or Earnest Money. A ‘good faith’ mini downpayment to the seller that goes to your first property tax payment when you buy.

8. Buy the House and Pay Closing Costs

When the sales contract is signed, contact your lender as well as have them pay the full amount of the mortgage to the seller. Then your mortgage payments begin, and so does your homeownership. There may be a few final costs like title updating fees to take care of.

9. Move into Your New Home

Finally and victoriously, you can move into your first personally owned home. Bring the moving trucks as well as the whole family to help you unpack and celebrate your new homeowner status.

Looking for more helpful insights on first-time homeownership? Contact us today!

Real Reviews from Real Clients - Check out Zillow Profile

Zillow user Jamisonrp

Sold a Roxborough home in 2017

"Trish is amazing! Trish was my agent when I bought my home in Philadelphia, so of course I went to her when I was ready to sell. Despite an election and the holidays, she was able to have my house sold by the time frame I needed to move. Trish was always helpful with guiding me through the  process of paperwork, staging my house, and even went to my closing for me because I was out of town. She was always professional and incredibly knowledgeable about the market, comps, and finding appropriate potential buyers."

Zillow user Radcliffe Beverly

Sold a Phoenixville home in 2015

"Trish Puleo exceeded my expectations during the process of selling a home that was part of an estate. Since I was out of state, she offered to check on items and secured vendors to fix some repairs that were needed. She is responsive, knowledgeable, and thorough. She followed up on all showings  and got answers to questions from potential buyers even when I did not know the answer. I felt she always had my back especially with the settlement process since I was not planning on attending. I would highly recommend making Trish your partner in getting a house sold." 

Zillow user Abjkl

Bought a Phoenixville home in 2017

"We were first time home buyers who underestimated the details of what on the surface seemed to be a standard, as in everyone has the same forms and procedures and ethics, home buying process. Trish is an experienced  professional who brought with her calm sensibilities, timely and accurate communication, and complete knowledge of the requirements, timelines and paperwork. She was reassuring, helpful and on our side when we needed it most! Only wish we would have included her the moment we decided to buy a house!"

Zillow user Applescriptguru

Bought and sold a Phoenixville home

"Trish is an excellent realtor and property manager. She’s friendly, professional, honest, dependable, responsive, and knows the Phoenixville area intimately. We’ve been extremely happy with her services, and will recommend her to anyone."

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