What the first step of the home buying process?

Believing you can buy a home! Then getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting a pre-approval letter from a lender will get the ball rolling in the right direction. First thing’s first, you need to know your financial limits. Knowing how much home you can afford helps to speed up the “Hunting” process. That way, no time is wasted “Hunting” for homes that aren’t within your financial limits. Pre-approvals also help prevent you from falling in love unaffordable homes. Secondly, the loan estimate from your lender will let you know what is required for the down payment and closing costs. In any case, you will have a clear picture of what is financially required. Finally, being pre-approved for a mortgage demonstrates that you are a serious buyer to both your real estate agent and the person selling their home.

How long does it take to buy a home?

From start (searching online) to finish (closing escrow), buying a home takes about 10 to 12 weeks. Once a home is selected and the offer is accepted, the average time to complete the escrow period on a home is 30 to 45 days. Don’t get discouraged, every process is different even if it takes you longer! Sometimes it’s better to wait to find exactly what you want then to settle.

What kind of credit score do I need to buy a home?

Most loan programs require a FICO score of 620 or better. Even if your credit score is a bit lower, lenders can possibly still pre-approve you. Borrowers with higher credit scores represent less risk to the lender, often resulting in a lower down payment requirement and better interest rate. Conversely, home shoppers with lower credit scores may need to bring more money to the table (or accept a higher interest rate) to offset the lender’s risk.

How much do I need for a down payment?

First time homebuyers usually only put down 3 to 5% on a home. That’s because several first-time home buyer programs don’t require big down payments.

Should I sell my current home before buying a new one?

If the built-up equity in your current home will be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the former will need to be sold first. Some home buyers decide to turn their current home into an investment property by renting it out. In that case, the current home will not need to be sold. It’s what you deem best for your family.

How many homes should I view before buying one?

That’s up to you! Healthy House Hunting makes it easier than ever before. The ability to search for homes online and see pictures, even before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the house hunting game. Convenience is at an all-time high. But, nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person.

How long can the seller take to respond to my offer?

Written offers should stipulate the timeframe in which the seller should respond. Giving them twenty-four hours should be sufficient.

Should I order a home inspection?

Yes! Home inspections are required if you plan on financing your home with an FHA or VA loan. For other mortgage programs, inspections are not required. However, Healthy House Hunting highly recommends this because it can show anything in the home that is not easily detected. Home inspections bring peace of mind to one of the biggest investments of a lifetime.

Do I need to do a final walk-through?

It doesn’t hurt, but it wouldn’t be considered Healthy House Hunting! Final walk-throughs give buyers a chance to make sure nothing has changed since their first visit. If repairs were requested, as part of the offer, a follow-up visit ensures that everything is squared-away, as expected, per the terms of the contract.