Buying a house ..the initial first steps you need to take to buy a home in Portland Oregon
You are at that point in your life where you're finally thinking about buying a new home. You most likely fall into three categories:
* First Time Home Buyer: Your excited but yet nervous, you might know a little about the process from either reading online, or hearing about it through family & friends. You have questions...and lots of them! This post is mostly about you,
* Move up Homeowner: Your house is probably getting too cramped..perhaps another child on the way. You now want to have that larger kitchen, bigger yard, or just need a different layout then your first home.
*Downsizing Homeowner: Your kids are all grown and out of the house and that 3000 square foot home with that huge yard and pool just isn't working for your lifesyle any longer. Your looking for that smaller more manageble home..or perhaps that loft downtown.
If you fall into the second or third category, you've already been through the process of buying a home, but the process of loan application and guidelines has most likely changed since you purchased your home, so there are still many things you'll need to know about today's market. I'll be writing another post for the home seller guidelines.
For that first time homebuyer there are just so many things you need to know, so here are some steps and links that will help you in this process.
Buying a house 101..the initial first steps you need to take:
Let me just say here that even though you have heard that it is impossible to get a loan today, I'm going to tell you differently. Yes, the guidelines are stricter than they were...but there are plenty of loan programs out there! The important step is to contact a lender. I have several trusted lenders that I work with if you need a good place to start.
* Pre-Qualifying vs Pre-Approval: The very..and I mean very first thing you'll need to do when you are ready to purchase a home is speak with a Lender. This will tell you if you are financially ready to purchase at this time..or if you need to work on your credit a bit more. When you are Pre-Qualified, this really doesn't mean to much in today's market.
*A Pre-Qualifying letter just states that the lender has "glanced" at your assets and what you tell them are your liabilities. They'll give you an "estimate" of a loan amount. This is always subject to a credit check.
I say that this really doesn't help you is because the lender can give you this "general" amount of a price range, but once they pull your credit...oops..there are a few dings on there and suddenly you're qualifies for a lower amount with perhaps a higher rate. It can be very disappointing to fall in love with a home..only to be told it's out of your price range.
* Pre-Approval letter is much better. This is your golden ticket of sorts. This tells the Seller that you have already had all your credit checked, you've gone through the loan application process and have a commitment of a loan for a certain amount. At this point the loan is usually subject to the appraisal and underwriting. This is also a reminder not to make any changes to your financials after this approval..as this can change things!
Once you have your Pre-Approval, now it's time to work with a REALTOR®. This is where I will sit down with you and go over your home search criteria. These are the location, how many bedrooms and baths you want, square footage, and any other ammenities that are important to you. Then we get out and find you your home!
Once you find that home you want to buy, you'll want to make an offer. You're REALTOR® will do a market analysis on the property if there's time, to give you a good price range of the homes selling in that neighborhood. Check out my post We made an offer on a home....now what happens?.
I've put together several links of useful documents that will help you understand the process as well as learn some of the terminology.
I hope this post was helpful to you! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. When you're ready to purchase a home, and are looking for a great REALTOR® to help you with this process...I would be happy to Google one for you!