1.Define Needs for your Home.
Your first step toward buying your new home will be to analyze your needs. Your real estate agent can help you determine exactly what you want your new home to look like and how it should function for you and your family. First, write down why you are looking for a new home. Second, establish a time frame for buying your home.
2. Pre-Approval Vs. Pre-Qualfication
There are two ways to go about this: prequalification or pre-approval for a loan. Prequalification is the simpler of the two processes. When you contact a mortgage company, they will ask you for some basic information about your finances? How much money you earn, your debt load, etc. They will take this information and give you a rough estimate of how much of a loan you might qualify for.
Pre-approval is more a more in-depth process. The lender will perform an extensive check of your finances including your credit rating, whether or not you're a first-time buyer, what your debt load is, how much money you have to put as a down payment, etc. This figure will be a much more reliable estimate of what you can afford.
In most markets, pre-approved buyers are preferred over those that are merely pre-qualified. Being pre-approved lets the seller know you have gone through an extensive financial background check and there should be no unexpected obstacles to you buying their home.
3. Neighborhood Information
You will need to make another list for the type of area you want to invest in. Consider things like drive time to work and major destinations, amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, parking, etc., area schools and the demographics of the surrounding area.
4. Home Search
At this point you will have a good idea of what you can afford and the type of area you will want to invest in. Taking that information into consideration, you are ready to embark on your home search. If you don't know much about the city to which you are moving, you will want to start by finding areas that meet your criteria and then narrowing your search to particular properties in those areas.
There are a few ways to go about this. Possibly the most efficient way to find homes is to allow your real estate agent to keep you up-to-date on available properties that meet your criteria, and then allow your agent to screen them for you. When your agent presents you with a home that interests you, he or she can arrange for you to tour it at your convenience.
5. Make an Offer
Now that you've found your dream home, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you determine the offer price by reviewing recent sales of homes that are similar in size, quality, and conveniences and amenities. Your real estate agent will advise you on how to create an offer that will have the best chance of being accepted.
After consultation with you, your agent will create a written contract with your offer that meets all the local and national legal requirements. This document details what needs to be done by both parties to execute the transaction. It should protect the interests of both parties and will ensure your financial position as the buyer.