From developing your budget to signing your name on the dotted line, learn more about the home buying process.
Buying a home can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. This can be true whether you’ve purchased several homes or you’re preparing to buy for the first time. With the right support system and the help of a trusted RE/MAX® professional, you can make the most informed decisions.
My guide breaks down the steps of buying a home so you can start the process feeling confident and prepared. From developing your budget to signing your name on the dotted line, you’ll find helpful tips right here. Plus, I am here to help every step of the way.
Define Your Goals
Before you start looking, consider why you want to buy a home. Are you tired of renting? Do you want to buy an investment property? Figuring out why you want to purchase a home will help you make important decisions down the road. Considering what you want and need out of your home will help you narrow down your home search as well. What neighborhood do you want to live in? How many bedrooms do you need? Knowing your preferences can help with filtering out homes that don’t fit your criteria.
Pick a RE/MAX Agent
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you may ever make. Whether you’re buying your first home, relocating or just moving down the street — you want a trusted professional by your side. Working with a qualified RE/MAX agent can make this process easier, helping guide you through the home search, purchase agreements, inspections, closing matters and more. Having an agent who has your best interests at heart can ease some of your stress and can help make it go as smoothly as possible.
Determine Your Financial Standing
Knowing your budget up front helps you focus your search and can save you both time and stress. Talking to a mortgage professional can help you to determine your buying power. They can help you to find out how much you can afford, how much you should put towards a down payment, and can walk you through loan options and other costs or fees associated with purchasing a home. Consider asking your agent for a referral; they understand your needs and can help find a professional for your situation.
Make an Offer
Once you find a home you’re interested in, your agent can help negotiate a fair offer based on comparable homes in the area. If your offer is accepted, you’ll make a down payment and be officially under contract. During the due-diligence period between signing the purchase agreement and closing on your home, your agent can help you understand the conditions, provisions, and obligations of your contract. They can also help guide you through the appraisal and inspection processes.
Close on Your Home
This is the final step of your home buying journey. Closing is the official transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. At closing, you will sign your mortgage paperwork to solidify your purchase. From there, you officially become a homeowner and will be handed the keys to your new home so you can begin making memories.
Once you’ve defined your home search goals, discussed them with your RE/MAX agent, and have spoken with a mortgage professional to see what your buying power is — you’re ready to find your dream home! In addition to my local knowledge as a real estate agent, I offer online tools that can help make your initial search as easy as possible.
Feel confident and informed about your neighborhood choice! On any listing page, you can learn more about the communities you are interested in, including a breakdown of the local population, school ratings and more.
Determining the ideal community for you is an important step in the home buying process! We offer rich community data such as market details, a population breakdown, accessibility to nearby amenities, local schools and ratings, and other helpful information so you can get a better picture of what it’s like to live in a particular area.
Create a RE/MAX® account and begin monitoring the local market. See new homes as soon as they come on the market, save your searches, favorite the listings you love, and receive real time property alert! Simply sign up with your email or one of your social media accounts to begin your home search today!
Available for iOS and Android devices, the RE/MAX mobile app brings the same experience found on the website to your smartphone or tablet. Save searches, favorite listings and schedule showings — all while on the go!
All from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet. Our app syncs to your account in real time, ensuring your preferences are easily accessible, whether you’re browsing on your desktop or mobile device.
Share your favorite properties with your RE/MAX agent, family or friends. Add notes to start the conversation about the features you love most about each property. Each action you take on our website will seamlessly sync with your account on our free mobile app, which makes searching and buying a home easier than ever.
Receive email alerts and push notifications within minutes of a new home hitting the market. Simply sign up for an account and download our app to receive this information in real time. Schedule a showing or request more information directly from the app so you don’t miss out on the perfect home.
From researching neighborhoods all the way to closing, I can guide you every step of the way — and that includes sharing tips on things to consider as you shop for the right mortgage loan.
Your home is a huge investment and your mortgage terms can affect your budget for years to come. Below are a few things to consider as you shop for the best loan for your needs. Keep in mind, these are just suggestions. Speaking with a mortgage professional is the best way to get a clear picture of mortgage loan options, down payments and more.
Your credit score can directly impact what mortgage loans and interest rates you may be eligible for, so work on getting it as high as you can before starting to shop around for a home. You can request a copy of your score through one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax®, Experian® or TransUnion®.
There are several costs built into purchasing a home. The biggest expense to start planning for may be your down payment. While there may be loan programs with little to no down payment, many mortgage loans will require you to put down at least 20% of the total price of the home if you want to avoid additional monthly fees and expenses. The larger your down payment, the more of your home you will own from day one, providing you built-in equity!
Once you’ve started saving for your down payment, you may want to assess your budget to determine what you may be able to afford. Online resources and tools, such as mortgage calculators, can help give you an idea of what your mortgage payment might be based on the hypothetical amounts you enter for the loan amount, down payment amount, interest rate, loan term, taxes and insurance.
Keep in mind there may be other expenses you’ll incur throughout the home buying process, such as inspection, appraisal and closing costs. In addition, there may be additional expenses once you close on your new home, such as furniture and appliance purchases or landscaping.
To secure financing for your home, you can work with a bank or credit union in your area, a lender, a mortgage banker, or a mortgage broker who will research lenders for you. You may want to research the current interest rate averages for the area, as well as various loan programs that may be available so you can compare quotes and estimates from different brokers, bankers or lenders.
There are several different types of mortgage loan programs that may be available. Therefore, it can be beneficial to research what programs you may qualify for in advance — especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Some common mortgage options may be Conventional (Conventional or Jumbo), VA, FHA or USDA. And if you’re financially able and willing to pay cash, you may avoid interest and closing costs altogether!
While these are common mortgage options, take time to meet with one or more mortgage professionals to review all of your possible options. Your mortgage professional will work with you to help find the best loan option for your needs and circumstances.
As part of shopping for mortgage loan options, you will need to determine your mortgage repayment term, which are commonly set at 15, 20 or 30 years. You will also need to choose a fixed or adjustable interest rate. Adjustable rate loans may provide lower initial rates, but can rise over time depending on market conditions. With a fixed rate loan, your rate will stay the same over the course of your mortgage loan.
The terms pre-qualified and pre-approved may be used interchangeably or inconsistently by various mortgage professionals. More important than what the mortgage professional calls it, is what the mortgage professional reviews in order to provide it to you. Getting either pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan may give you a better estimate of a loan program you may qualify for if certain conditions are met and based on the level or review by the mortgage professional.
Obtaining either a pre-qualification or pre-approval tends to show homebuyers and their real estate agents that you are serious about buying a house, which may help make your offer more appealing. To get either pre-approved or pre-qualified, your mortgage professional will assess your credit history, current income and debt situation. Once completed, they can give you an estimate of how much you may be able to borrow, which is subject to certain conditions and final loan approval. Once you’ve been pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage loan, you will know how much you can spend and you can begin the search for the perfect home!
After your offer has been accepted, you will submit financial documentation, such as pay stubs, tax returns and bank account statements to your mortgage professional to seek final loan approval. At this time, the mortgage professional can schedule an appraisal to ensure the home is valued at least at its selling price. You may also want or be required to obtain a property inspection to assess the condition of the home prior to purchase. Once the appraisal and inspection are complete and the final loan approval is obtained, it’s closing day — and the home is officially yours!
Once you are under contract on a home, you will need to work with a title company and a home inspector. Learn more about each process, what you can expect, and why it matters.
Before finalizing the sale of the home, you will have a period of time — typically referred to and stipulated in contracts as the due diligence period — to identify any areas of concern with the home. Once you have reviewed the report and are comfortable with any of the items listed, you can close on your home with greater peace of mind!
The buyer will be responsible for hiring an inspector. In preparation for the inspection, you may request a disclosure statement from the sellers beforehand that will reveal any improvements done to the property, such as renovations and upgrades, for your inspector to review.
You and your agent can meet with the inspector and walk through the home together. The inspector will work their way through a checklist, visually assessing the condition of the home. This process usually takes a couple of hours, so plan your schedule for that day accordingly — and don’t be afraid to ask the inspector questions! If you noticed anything that concerned you during previous walkthroughs of the home, ask for clarification. Once the inspector is finished, they will create a report detailing issues the inspector found, as well as information on what may need to be maintained or replaced in the future.
It’s important to note the distinction between Title and Deed. A Title acts as proof of ownership and indicates you have the right to use the property, but it is not a physical document. A Deed is the legal document used as a means of transferring ownership from one party to another. Before you close on your home, both parties will need to sign this document.
A title company acts as a liaison to legally transfer a property title from one party to another. After you hire a title company, they will conduct a title search on the property and issue a report that verifies that the title is valid and can be legally sold by the seller.
They can also issue title insurance to protect the buyer and the lender should any problems with the property be revealed during the title search. Title insurance may help provide protection even after the sale is complete in the event that title problems are discovered in the future.
Now that you’ve conducted your research and are satisfied with the property, you can close on your new home with more confidence. Your title company will oversee your closing and will work with both the buyer and the seller to distribute money and transfer the title. Welcome home!