Buying at home can often times be confusing, especially if it’s your first home purchase or you haven’t bought a home in a while. Here are the steps for buying a home in the Washington DC metro area.
Estimate your budget – Take a realistic look at your income and debts to determine how much you’re able to spend monthly on a mortgage. You should also consider expenses like home maintenance, utilities, and condo/HOA fees, if any.
Choose your realtor – Ask friends, family, and coworkers for their realtor recommendations. Also check online reviews for local realtors. Then, meet potential realtors to see if they’re a good fit, they understand your home ownership goals, and have the experience to represent you.
Compare lenders – Choosing a lender is one of the most important steps in buying a home. You’ll want to work with someone who is patient and will thoroughly answer all of your questions. Your lender should be readily accessible, especially in a competitive market where homes sell quickly. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to get a hold of your lender when there is an offer deadline on the house of your dreams.
Complete a full mortgage application – The mortgage process begins with you completing the lender’s mortgage application. Many times, these applications can be found and easily completed online. The lender will use this information to determine if you qualify for a mortgage.
Get preapproved for mortgage – Once you complete the mortgage application you’ll need to provide financial documents to your lender, including pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns. You may also be required to provide a gift letter if you’re receiving funds from a family member to complete the purchase.
Shop for homes – Now the fun starts! Begin visiting open houses in neighborhoods you’re considering and have your realtor put together a tour of homes for sale.
Make an offer – Once you find a home you like, your realtor will put together the documents needed to make an offer on the property.
Complete the home inspection and remove contract contingencies – If your offer is accepted you’ll work with you realtor to begin removing the contingencies you included in the contract, including the home inspection.
Have home appraised – The appraisal is ordered by your lender and is a formal valuation of the property’s worth. In many instances the lender will require an appraisal before your loan is fully approved.
Mortgage processing & underwriting – Typically, it takes about 30 days for a loan to be fully processed and the underwriter to issue the “clear to close.”
Closing day – You’ve come a long way! Today is the day you sign the papers to close on your new home and get the keys!
Move into your new home!
If you’re considering a move, please get in touch. I’d love the chance to help you with your home ownership goals. I can be easily reached at 703-963-0142 or robyn@robynporter. You can also check out this helpful guide.