Getting Ready to Buy a House

As I mentioned in recent posts, we are looking for a new home! This process is definitely a roller coaster, and we haven’t even been in the market for that long. Here are some of the steps we took to get ready to start the house hunting process.

Contact a Lender. In order to have a realistic budget to purchase a home, you need to know how much you can afford and your borrowing options. This should be the first step in the process. Some people leave this step until the end but it can delay a bit the process once you find THE one. Here is what we had to gather:
• Last two bank account statements
• Last two retirement account statements
• Copy of drivers license
• Last two W-2 forms
• Last federal tax return
• Last two pay stubs

Make a Wish List. Sit down with your significant other and come up with a wish list. Depending on the areas you are looking in and your budget you will likely need to make some sacrifices. Here is what we included in ours:
• [Areas]
• [Max budget]
• Two car garage
• Back yard (hopefully fenced)
• Minimum 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms
• Finished basement
• Elementary school with at least a 7 on GreatSchools.com
• Open floor plan
• Double sink in master bedroom
• Nice curb appeal

Find a Realtor. Find an expert to help you! In our case my mother-in-law was our real estate agent. You can also download real estate apps. Initially I was using Zillow, and even though I prefer their visual layout, their listings are not updated real time. Others, such as Redfin, are much better at this.

Tour the Houses. After searching houses on the real estate apps and reviewing the homes your realtor sends you, come up with a list of homes you want to tour. Some houses require appointments so plan ahead with your realtor. The market is moving really quick, so if you find a house you think you love, go tour it during the week. Even though touring homes on the weekend is easier, you need to be flexible, if not you might miss an opportunity.

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