First time homebuyers may feel somewhat overwhelmed and lost when first diving into the process of buying a home. Home buying is a personal decision and likely the largest purchase of a lifetime. Buying a home is also a smart move; with many professionals, advice, guidance and tools available to assist. If you’re a first time homebuyer and looking to get more acclimated with the process of buying a home, this overview of the major steps can help!

Be prepared. Start saving!
Research the buying process and save for a down payment, closing costs and unanticipated expenses.

Collect the Necessary Paperwork
The required documentation is comprehensive, so begin gathering as early as possible. A list of paperwork you will most likely need to have includes:

  • A 2+ year financial history; W2s, 1040s
  • Verifiable assets
  • Identification
  • Paystubs
  • Documentation of current rent/mortgage

Research Lenders
The lender you choose is of utmost importance, especially when purchasing your first home. Online reviews and recommendations from trusted sources are a good place to begin your lender research.

Obtain a Pre-Approval from a Lending Institution
A written pre-approval narrows down how much house you can actually afford, while simultaneously creating a sense of security. Additionally, an offer from a pre-approved buyer carries more weight than offers from buyers without pre-approvals.

Find a Qualified Real Estate Agent
Locate a professional real estate agent through recommendations. When found, begin screening homes that fit your family’s needs. Enjoy the search.

Get a Home Inspection
When you find the home you wish to buy and put in an offer, order a home inspection. If the inspection results reveal major repairs/improvements, renegotiate with the seller based upon this newly discovered information.

Make an Offer
Your real estate agent guides the offering process. Your offer should include contingencies you require, such as repairs, etc.

Complete the Mortgage Process
When your offer is accepted, finalize your financing efforts with your lender.

Final Walkthrough
Shortly before closing, schedule a walkthrough of the property to confirm it is in the same condition as the last time you saw it.

Finally, the Closing
Spend some time signing oodles of documents, finalizing the closing and paying your closing costs. Receive the keys and celebrate!

This brief overview of the steps to buying a home is a great place to start. However, if you’d like to educate yourself further, download our First Time Home Buyer Education eBook and get reading!