The home buying process can seem overwhelming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right information and some preparation, the process can go smoothly and without any hiccups. In our latest post, we sum it all up for you with our home buying checklist. We want to help you find and purchase your first home!
Home Buying Checklist in Southern California
Step 1: Get Financed
Before you start shopping, you will need to know how much home you will be able to buy. Shop around with a couple different lenders and see what is available to you. There are all sorts of programs out there, you can even find ways to get help with your down payment. Talk to friends who have recently purchased, and find out which lenders they used and how the experience was for them. Of course, every situation is different, but don’t be afraid to look around a bit at what the lenders are able to offer you.
When you work with a lender, you will need to know the down payment you are able to make. Do you have 20% for a conventional loan? Or the 3.5% for an FHA? Are you financially prepared to take on a mortgage, interest, insurance and property taxes? Some people might spread themselves too thin in an effort to get approved on paper. However, it is critical that you are honest with yourself here and stay within your means. Just because you are approved for a certain amount, doesn’t mean you need to spend it all. As a parent would say, “Make smart decisions.”
Once you know what you can afford, you can work with a lender to get approved. Most lenders will tell you what you need to do to get that approval. They can even help put together an action plan to help you reach your goals.
Step 2: Go Shopping
Don’t just look for listed homes, look at recently sold ones too. What can you really get for your money? People can list properties for any price they want. It doesn’t mean they are actually selling at those prices. Pay attention to the market and annual trends. Bid with intelligence and be well-informed. Don’t succumb to impulsive moves that will end up costing you down the road.
Before you make an offer, find out EXACTLY what is included with the home. Is the seller including any furniture? What about the appliances? You cannot assume they are included unless you have it in writing. You wouldn’t want to find out on the day you move in that you need to go buy a refrigerator or washer.
You will want to make sure the seller has a home warranty in place to cover any major repairs that are needed over the next year. You need to have the reassurance that something isn’t going to immediately go wrong right after you move in. Home warranty to cover major repairs over next year
Have an inspection done by a professional, licensed inspector. Once your inspection is done, talk to a licensed contractor about the cost of repairs. You can take this to the seller to negotiate who will pay to fix the home or work the repairs into the final sale price
Step 3: Buy Your Dream Home
Most lenders you will work with require an appraisal on the home before they will let the funding go through. The home needs to meet their requirements in order for you to make the purchase. Once your financier has approved, you will want to get detailed closing costs and review all associated fees.
Schedule a final walk through, checking all switches, fixtures, outlets, etc. (Some small things can be a sign of bigger problems!) Final walk through test all fixtures, switches, outlets faucets, etc.
Once you are satisfied with everything, you are ready to sign your contract.
Congratulations! It’s time to move in!