You’re strolling down the block enjoying a sunny afternoon in Chevy Chase, Maryland, when you turn the corner and there it is. The house of your dreams. This beautiful home is towering above you with a brick exterior, ivy brushed across one side, a lavish front yard, and mature trees that shade a yard your children will love. It’s close to town, and from the brochure in the box, the price matches your budget. You know this is the perfect home for raising your family, but you’ve never purchased a home so you’re not sure what to do next. Once home, you call a friend and ask, “I found a home I want to buy — now what?” That’s where we come in!
Many first-time or even seasoned buyers need help navigating the process, so you’re not alone. While many Americans say that buying a home can be stressful, The Sebastien | Daniel Alliance team will ensure your journey isn’t the same. We strive to make this process smooth and easy, and we compiled a list of seven things to do when you find a home you want to purchase.
Walk through the house
You’ll also want to schedule a showing to see the house with your agent. Everything can seem appealing from the exterior — or even in an online listing — but you need to see the entire house in person. This walk-through will give you a true sense of the layout and spaces, natural lighting, upgrades that were made, and more.
Evaluate your finances
One of the most important steps you can take is ensuring your credit score is excellent and you qualify to buy a home. Because there are several different types of mortgages, your minimum credit score requirement varies. Some have stricter guidelines than others, so it’s important to know what kind of loan you’ll seek first. If your credit score isn’t high, there are a few ways to improve it, though it will take some time.
Assuming you have an excellent credit rating, review your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which should not exceed 43%. Lenders will look at your bill-paying history, DTI, and whether your gross monthly income is enough to pay all the housing expenses (taxes, insurance, and HOAs). If you’re confident everything is as it should be, your next step is to learn what type of mortgage offers are available and obtain pre-approval letters.
Get pre-approved for a loan
Having a pre-approval gives you more insight into what you can afford. Keep in mind that the home-buying budget includes more than just the sale price. You’ll want to consider insurance, closing costs, earnest money, inspections, appraisal fees, and more.
Make a strong offer
Assuming that your offer is accepted, you’ll request an inspection, submit a deposit, secure your finances, and get an appraisal. This last step is essential because if the appraisal comes in low, your lender may not approve your loan, and you’ll have to either let the house go or come up with the funds to match the offer. In most situations, you’ll find that the appraisal and loan match, and you can proceed to the next step.
Get an inspection
This is another crucial step because many homes have hidden issues that are not noticeable to most people. While the home may appear beautiful outside, the foundation could be crumbling or insulation problems might exist. A home inspection can report these issues, saving you repair costs after closing. Knowing beforehand whether the home needs a new roof or there are significant plumbing issues will help you in making an offer and negotiating the sale.
Make your final walk-through
Contact The Alliance team if you’re ready to consider a Chevy Chase house or have already found a dream house. We are happy to help!
*Header photo courtesy of Pexels