We’ve compiled a list to help guide you towards the purchase of your first home… and maybe this could serve as a good reminder if you’ve been in your current home a long time and are a little out of touch on the process. In any case, we think these 10 STEPS are the checkpoints along the process to get you into your new home. And be happier for it!
Step 1 – SAVE YOUR DOWN PAYMENT
Many people believe you need a 20% down payment to buy a home. There are loans available that allow buyers to put down as little as 3% or 0% with a VA or USDA Loan. If you’re not sure if you can qualify for a USDA loan we can put you in touch with one of our mortgage lending resources to explore your options.
Step 2 – KNOW YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Your credit score is a numeric representation of your history and ability to pay back debts in the past. Different home loans have different credit requirements. It’s likely that your bank offers free credit reporting for you to monitor your score through their mobile and/or online banking and some insurance companies do as well. A quick search and you should be successful in finding a free resource.
Step 3 – FIND A REAL ESTATE AGENT
Once you have a handle on your credit score and down payment savings, contact a local real estate agent who can guide you through the process of achieving your real estate goals. We find it’s helpful to have a real estate agent on “your team” well in advance so you have time to research various areas and communities and keep an eye on new properties as they come on the market. You can save different real estate search criteria on our website and receive an automated email alert anytime a property within your criteria comes on the market or changes price.
Step 4 – GET PRE-APPROVED
Your agent will have a list of lenders that they are familiar with to help you get pre-approved for your mortgage. This will help keep you on budget during step 5!
Pro tip: It’s important that you avoid large purchases that require pulling your credit once you start the home purchase process because that can affect your ability to qualify. Ask your mortgage lender for more information about this.
Step 5 – GO HOME SHOPPING!
Make a list of what you want vs. what you need in your new home. What is the problem in your current home that you need to solve? Your agent will use this list to find homes for you to tour.
Step 6 – MAKE AN OFFER
You’ve found a home that solves for your wants and needs. Now your agent will help you determine the fair market price to offer for the home. In a competitive market, you may not be the only one offering to purchase a property and may need to adjust your offer to stand out.
Step 7 – GET A HOME INSPECTION
Once your offer is accepted, you will want to do a home inspection to help ensure there are not any hidden issues with the home. You’ll have a certain number of days to satisfy your inspection contingency, which you agent will explain and help you navigate through successfully.
Step 8 – GET A HOME APPRAISAL
This step doesn’t require any action from you. Rather, your lender will arrange for a home appraisal to ensure that the property is worth the price that you have agreed to pay for it. The bank will only issue a loan for the appraised value.
Step 9 – CLOSE THE SALE
Once your loan is approved, your attorney will schedule for you to sign your loan documents to complete your purchase. In the state of South Carolina, there isn’t a coming together around the “closing table.” Typically the buyers and sellers have different real estate attorneys and will always sign separately. After your loan “funds” you will be able to receive the keys to your new home!
Step 10 – MOVE IN!
Congratulations, you did it! You’re a homeowner!
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