Buying a Home Guide to Getting Started

Buying a Home Step-by-Step

Real estate agent discussing property documents to his clients
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Let's say one morning you wake up and realize that, yes, buying a home is the right thing to do for yourself. You're tired of throwing away money on rent and figure that it's time to get into a home of your own. But you have reservations.

After all, if it's your first time, you've got questions. You might be a little nervous that you'll mess up, and it's normal to feel that way. You are probably spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and making the most important financial purchase of your life.

You will find that being an informed individual about the home buying process is empowering for you. Lucky for you that you came to the right place. So let's get started buying your first home!

Consider if Buying a Home is For You

Many people harbor secret fears about buying a home, and some of those fears are justified. Not everybody is cut out to own a home, and if you're one of those people, it's better to find this out now than when you're under contract.


    Before Buying a Home, Get Your Finances In Order

    Line up your financing, set aside a down payment and study the loan programs available. By doing your homework, you will know exactly how much you can pay and what it will cost you.


    Pick a Real Estate Agent to Help With Buying a Home

    With so much information available online, you might wonder why you need an agent at all. But all local markets vary from one another, and a good agent can guide you by giving you information based on experience and market knowledge.

    • Why Hire an Agent?
      An agent with experience can help you to avoid making mistakes such as choosing the wrong home or offering too much.
    • Find a Real Estate Agent
      Start by asking your friends and family member for referrals. Make sure you are comfortable with your agent before committing to work with that person.


    Learn How to Avoid Home Buying Mistakes

    The best way to avoid making a mistake it to learn from the mistakes others have made. Buying a home in a desirable location is your best defense. Remember: location, location, location.

    • First-Time Home Buyer Tips
      Start your search online, and don't rely on print because most homes are not advertised in the newspaper.
    • Preview Homes for Sale
      Ask your agent to look at homes before showing them to you, and tour only those that fit your parameters.


    Make an Offer and Negotiate Like a Pro

    Although buying a home is not like buying a car, for example, you can still negotiate to get a good price.


    Get a Home Inspection and Read Disclosures

    Never buy a home without getting a home inspection. Most states have laws about the types of disclosures you are entitled to receive.

    • What a Home Inspection Covers
      Go through this list and make sure your home inspector doesn't miss anything crucial.
    • Material Facts
      Besides disclosing lead-based paint, which any home built before 1978 can contain, sellers should notify you of major defects.
    • Do a Final Walk-Through
      Always do a final inspection a few days before closing to make sure the property is in the same condition as when you agreed to buy it.


    Closing on Your Home

    Transactions generally close within 30 to 60 days after your offer has been accepted. Remember to reserve movers or a moving truck early because many people move at the end of the month.

    • Home Insurance
      Shop for insurance rates carefully. Often, the company that insures your automobiles may offer you the best policy rates.
    • Title Insurance Policy
      You might think you don't need a title policy, but it's the cheapest form of insurance you can buy, and you pay the premium only once.
    • Home Buying Closing Process
      This covers every step of the home closing process, from the beginning to the end.

    At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, BRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.