Home ownership is the American Dream, a dream that belongs to everyone. It is a lifetime commitment and the rewards of owning a home are endless. However, the home buying process can also be very stressful and intimidating to the uneducated mortgage seeker. By doing some very simple pre-planning and a little research before you even start looking for properties can help make sure that the American Dream does not turn into the American Nightmare.

Whether you’re a first time home buyer or the home buyer that has been through the experience before, you should familiarize yourself with the entire mortgage process. Purchasing a home is probably one of the biggest, most important and smartest financial investments most people will ever make in their life. It is a long term commitment and there are so many different variables and options to be considered before you even start looking for your dream home. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the home buying process, but with all the choices homeowners have now, mortgage loans can be somewhat confusing for the uneducated mortgage seeker. Having knowledge of mortgages as well as the home buying process can make a stressful process much easier to handle.

Step #1 – Credit Report and Score
Get your finances together and pull a credit report and score to make sure there are no errors on your credit report. Your credit score and credit history will have a very big impact on the loan terms and/or the ability to obtain a home loan. If you don’t know a reputable lender to help with your loan process, give us a call.  We work with many experienced lenders and would be happy to refer you.

Step #2 – Setting a Budget
Once you have your finances in order and have viewed the information on your credit report to make sure there are no inaccuracies, the next step will be setting a budget. Make sure it is an amount you will be comfortable paying, as mortgages are long term commitments and have terms of at least 15 years and some have loan terms up to 30 years. Make sure you don’t over extend yourself and end up having to sell your dream home because you can’t afford it. Setting a budget will also help make sure you aren’t looking at homes that you can’t afford.

Step #3 – Secure Financing
Once you have set a budget you are comfortable with, you should find a lender and get pre-approved for your loan. Securing your financing early on, will help make for a smoother overall process.

Step #4 – Hire a Real Estate Agent
Once you have a budget set and have secured financing, it is now time to hire a real estate agent. Real estate agents can help find homes that meet your criteria and  schedule a private property viewing. Even if your plan is to build your dream home, you want to make sure you have a realtor representing your best interest. Remember, the builder representative works for the builder not the buyer.

Step #5 – Start Looking at Properties
You are now ready to start looking at properties. If you hired a real estate agent, they will be able to send you a list of homes that meet your criteria and then schedule a private showing of the properties. If you haven’t decided which realtor will help you, start your home search at and when you are ready, one of our agents will take great care of you.

Step #6 – Make an Offer
You have found the home you love and are ready to make an offer on the property. Here is were your real estate agent will come in very handy. Their knowledge and research of the housing market and recent comparable sales can help you decide on a fair price. Ultimately, the price you are willing to pay comes down to you and what you feel the property is worth. Together you and your agent will decide on a good offer to present to the seller.
Step #7 – Perform Home Inspection
Now that you have found the home you absolutely love, it is time to make sure the property isn’t hiding a bunch of problems. By having a home inspection, you will be able to make sure there aren’t serious issues the home may be hiding. With a good inspection, you will know exactly what you are buying. It is an important step because once you sign papers at closing, any problems the house might have, become your responsibility.

Step #8 – Close on your Property
Now it is time to enter into the final phase – The Closing. Just prior to closing, you will want to do a final walk-through with your agent to make sure any and all of the contingencies were taken care of. You will also need to make sure you have gone over the closing disclosure document. You will need to take certified funds for the closing costs as well as proof of insurance to closing. Closing usually takes at least an hour and you will sign so many forms it will seem like you are signing your life away. But it’s a great feeling, trust me.

Step #9 – Moving In
After you finished with the closing, you will be given the house keys and the home is yours. Congratulations you made it through the process, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it!

This is a brief explanation of the home buying process. When you are ready to buy your home please be sure you schedule a one-on-one appointment with your realtor to explain the Do’s & Dont’s to ensure you actually make it to the closing table.

Please don’t hesitate to contact EXIT Empower Realty at 614-861-EXIT with any questions you may have about the home buying process. It will be our pleasure to assist you in any way we can.  Good luck.