If you are a first time home buyer, buying a home can seem incredibly overwhelming. It’s no secret that purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. The following timeline can relieve some of the stress and anxiety you may be faced with during the home buying process.
Month 12: Review Your Credit
This is the time to really ask yourself if you are ready to be a homeowner. It’s important to review your credit to determine if you need to do any damage control. Do you need to build or enhance your credit? If so, check out this link about ways to boost your credit score before applying for a mortgage loan.
Month 11: Calculate How Much You Can Afford
Access your debts and pay down as much as you can. Ask yourself how you can increase your savings? Use a calculator to determine if you pre-qualify for a mortgage.
Month 10: Find Out What Kind of Home You Need
Consider the commute to work, possible transportation issues, the quality of nearby schools, and the amenities you want the most. Come up with a “Must Have List” (e.g. number of bedrooms and baths, multi-car garage, attic, basement, fireplace, pool, etc.)
Month 9: Research the Housing Market
Check out your favorite neighborhoods and the properties available that fit your needs. Talk to other homeowners in the area. View properties online to see if any are of particular interest to you. Tip: Pictures can be deceiving. Take a drive past the homes you are interested in before setting up an appointment with your real estate agent. You want to be sure the pictures live up to the property.
Month 8: Meet with Your Agent
Meet with your agent to discuss the current market conditions. Let them know the type of home you are looking to purchase. Mention any must-have amenities and which ones you are willing to sacrifice.
Month 7: Research Other Professionals
Research and meet with other professionals involved in the home buying process: inspectors, lawyers, and insurers. You want professionals you can trust to help you as you make this huge commitment.
Month 6: Organize Your Paperwork
Start putting together all of the paperwork needed to meet with your lender. You will need tax forms from the last two years (at least), asset statements, and income statements.
Month 5: Find a Mortgage Lender
Research local lenders, as well as outside lenders, and choose the one most suitable for you. Set up a meeting with them and complete the pre-approval process. A pre-approval will allow you to shop and negotiate with sellers seriously.
Month 4: Finalize the Contract
The contract phase will consist of an offer, a possible counter-offer, an agreement, and mortgage related paperwork. It will also consist of the final walkthrough and closing process.
Month 3: Logistics of Moving
The logistics of moving involve tying up all loose ends: terminating a lease, determining a move-in date, contacting utility providers, and more. You can read more about the logistics of moving by reading our post, Essential Address Checklist for New Home Buyers.
Month 2: The Move
Pack… Prepare your new home… Move!
Month 1: Contingency Plan
Come up with a Plan B. Don’t leave yourself without any options or financially strapped if something changes. What if you can’t move in right away as planned? Where will you store your belongings? Where will you sleep? Be organized and have a plan in place just in case you need it.