11 Steps to Home Buying Success

11 Steps to Home Buying Success

Despite the fact that real estate transactions can vary based on laws and customs were you live, some home buying steps are standard, although the order in which they are accomplished may change depending on your location.

Once you begin to understand all parts of your home buying journey, you'll feel confident with all the requirements of those involved in your transaction, as well as yourself.

1. Put your finances in order

Before you apply for a home loan, it's a good idea to find out what your credit reports say about your financial history. Your credit report gives lenders an ongoing look on how you manage finances. Your lender will use this to determine your interest rate and other loan terms. If it's been awhile since you last looked, you might be surprised at the content of each report because errors are sometimes reported. There are ways you can clear up any mistakes.

2. Decide on your needs and wants

Even if you find yourself short on funds, buying a house isn't all that difficult if you are already familiar with your real estate market and have determined what your needs and wants are before you start looking at homes.

3. Familiarize yourself with the mortgage industry

In order to have home buying success, it is crucial to find both right lender and the right loan. Only you can determine which lender can best meet your needs, so it's a good idea to have a bit of background about the loan process before you start talking to a lender.

4. Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage

Before house hunting seriously, before approaching a seller, before any decisions about your home, you need to find out how much house you can afford. To do so, talk to a lender. When a seller is presented with two similar offers, and one has no paperwork, and the other has a letter from the bank stating he has been approved for a mortgage in the amount being offered, the seller will probably chose the buyer that has been pre-approved. Wouldn't you?

5. Working with Real Estate Agents

Working with Real Estate Agents

It's important to understand agent duties and loyalties before you make the first phone call to find an agent. Real estate agents represent buyers, sellers and in some states they work as a facilitator for either party - or both. Find a Real estate agent who will work for your best interests and not someone else's.

6. The fun part - Finding A Home

Some ideas of excellent ways to see what is available: from your agent obtain a sheet of multiple listings to study, read classified ads in newspapers, and pick up magazines (usually free) with Houses for Sale, you might even spend free afternoons driving through neighborhoods to preview the area and homes available. You can even search the internet for thousands of listings.

7. Tasks to accomplish before you offer

Deciding what you want your house to look like, including structure and features, isn't the only important part of your purchase. Also review things such as it's resale potential, heating system efficiency, if the square footage reported is accurate or if there are any other rights to the property.

8. Making an offer

There are different real estate laws and customs throughout the United States, so there isn't a specific set of instructions that can cover how to make an offer, but there are a few tips that can help, no matter where you live. These include: what comes with the house, (appliances, any furnishings, outside play set, etc.) date of possession, decide how much to offer, any info seller needs to disclose, and if lead paint disclosures are required.

9. Home Inspections and other tests

It's critical for you to decide which inspections and tests you want to perform... some state require them before the final offer to purchase, while others take place after an offer is final. You can talk to either your agent or an advisor to find out when they should be done and how to handle them. They can also inform you of additional types of testing for your specific area.

10. Correcting or avoiding problems at the last minute

As your closing date nears, everyone involved in your real estate transaction should check its progress on a daily basis, because staying on top of things means you'll know immediately if there's a problem that must be dealt with. Here's a bit of information that focuses on a few common problems that home buyers must deal with before they close on a house. If you stay on top of things, especially as your closing date nears, you'll know immediately if a problem arises or needs to be dealt with. Everyone involved in your transaction should check its progress on a daily basis. A few problems that you might encounter before closing could include: dealing with a low appraisal, changes in your credit (don't make a major purchase or change jobs until after you've closed), switch utilities, be sure insurance is lined up and don't let your emotions take over.

11. Closing

Most of the problems are behind you now and you're on your way to closing, also called settlement, the event that transfers ownership of the property to you. Just a few more things to learn, a few more things to do, and you're there! Closing or settlement, as it's also called, refers to the event of transferring ownership of the property to you! Problems should be behind you and once you do a final walk through of the home, you should be ready to sign.


Don't ever hesitate to ask questions... whether this is your first home buying experience, or your 21st, it's important to be sure you understand the entire process. You are spending a lot of money, more than you may ever spend again, and you are making a long term commitment. You'll feel better as will those involved if you know what is happening. The steps outlined are a general guide. Every issue you encounter will be specific to your transaction. These issues can best be handled or explained by those helping you complete the deal. Enjoy the journey!