Steps to Home Ownership
1. Get pre-approved for a loan. Get together with your loan officer or get a referral from your Real Estate Professional and get that pre-approval letter. Keep in mind that you do not want the letter to reflect the maximum you can borrow toward a home purchase. There will be added costs to home ownership that you do not see at first glance, such as repairs. If you are spending the most you can afford on your home and you need extra cash, you will not have it. It is better to buy just a little less home than you can afford and have a monetary cushion for emergencies.
2. Make a list of what you want. I always suggest three lists. The first is what you need. Do you need 2 bedrooms or more? How many bathrooms do you need? The second list is what you would like to have. A deck is a “would like to have” and not a need. A finished basement is usually a “would like to have.” The third list is what I call “Red Flags.” These are the things that would break the deal for you. A noisy dog next door, for instance. A house set too close to your house. A window in the neighbors’ house that looks into your bedroom. Whatever it is, for you, that you would not be able to accept in your new home.
3. Meet with your Real Estate Professional and have him or her do a search on the MLS with the things that you are looking for on your needs list.
4. Look at a lot of homes, either on the internet or with your Real Estate Professional.
5. Make that offer.
6. Wait for closing and take possession of your new home.