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The Home Buying Process: What to Expect

July 20, 2022

The Home Buying Process: What to Expect

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may wonder what it looks like to purchase a home. What’s the first step in the process? How do you check your credit score? You likely have many questions, and at The Mortgage Firm Gainesville, we have the answers to guide you through step-by-step in the most painless, informative way possible — we’ve helped countless home buyers like you navigate the home purchasing process. Read on to learn more about what you can expect when buying a home. 

The Home Buying Process Simplified 

Step 1: Check Your Credit Score.

Your credit score is just one part of determining what mortgage loans and interest rates you qualify for, but it’s an important part. That’s why it’s always a good idea to improve your credit score as much as you can and reduce your debt before you apply for a mortgage.

Your credit score is comprised of the following factors.

  • Length of credit history
  • Payment history
  • Amount of money you owe creditors
  • Types of credit used
  • Inquiries into your credit  

Part of this step is checking your credit report for errors, such as data about someone else, signs of identity theft, account status errors, and erroneous payment or balance information. 

Step 2: Determine How Much You Can Afford.

When you’re ready to buy a home, you should start by determining your debt-to-income ratio and how much home you can afford. More goes into your monthly mortgage payment than you may realize, so it’s important to recognize all potential costs. In addition to your mortgage, you’ll need to pay property taxes, homeowners insurance, and any maintenance costs, to name just a few. 

Step 3: Choose A Lender And Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage.

This step is so important in the home buying process because, barring special circumstances, your partnership with your mortgage lender will last from 15-30 years. 

Here is where a relationship with The Mortgage Firm Gainesville is helpful. We offer pre-approvals to simplify the process, use the most updated mortgage technology, and have established community relationships with builders, real estate agents, and other home industry professionals. 

Mortgage types include the following. 

  • The federal government does not guarantee conventional loans. Offering lower down payments, the trade-off is stricter qualifications.
  • FHA loans, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, are easier to qualify for than conventional loans but carry harder mortgage insurance requirements. 
  • VA loans are offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs for active or former service members and their eligible spouses, requiring no down payment.
  • The US Department of Agriculture USDA offers low down payment mortgages at low-interest rates with low mortgage insurance premiums to qualified borrowers.

Step 4: Find A Real Estate Agent and Shop.

Choosing the right real estate agent can make or break your home buying experience, particularly in a tight market when homes sell quickly and competitively. A real estate agent familiar with the area who knows the local market can help you navigate the uncertainties. Ask family or friends who have recently bought or sold a house to recommend someone. 

In addition to finding your real estate agent, this part of the process involves shopping for your dream home! This part of the process can be very fun or frustrating, especially with the current low inventory of available homes in the US. 

Step 5: Make An Offer.

Once you have found a home that works for you and your family’s needs, it’s time to make an offer to the seller! If possible, take photos you can reference when getting your offer together so you can remember everything about the home that may impact what you’re willing to pay. 

Step 6: Get A Home Inspection And Home Appraisal.

A home inspection is essential for learning about potential issues you may face in your home down the road. If you want to purchase an older home, you may be interested in specialized home inspections for added peace of mind. 

The home appraisal is completed separately from the home inspection and lets the lender know how much the home is actually worth. Looking at your potential home and comparable homes in the market determines your property value. 

Step 7: Purchase Homeowners Insurance.

It may seem weird to obtain homeowners insurance before owning the home, but most lenders require it to approve a mortgage. Coverage should be enough to cover the home’s replacement value, and the policy’s effective date will be set on your closing date. 

Step 8: Close On Your New Home.

This is the last step in the process of owning your dream home! You’ll do a final walkthrough to ensure that everything in your contract is still applicable, and your lender will provide you with your closing documents before the closing. They’ll also let you know how much money you will need to close. 

Let Us Help You Buy Your Dream Home 

Buying a home is an emotional but rewarding process, and at The Mortgage Firm Gainesville, we are passionate about helping you and your family get into the home that works for you. We believe in open communication, being accessible to our customers, and providing the best service possible to make the home buying experience positive. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you get into a home you’ll love.