Several months ago I would have told you buying a house wasn't too difficult. Based on buying 13 houses over the years, I expected the challenges to be picking a city to move to … and finding a house that supported my husband's astronomy hobby, which is why we're moving.
Many buyers get through the home buying process by dreaming about their new home, the lifestyle changes the new house will afford and more. It's also a great opportunity to learn about family finances, and how to manage your homeowner commitments as few people understand the true cost of home ownership.
My recent experience showed me the home buying process is much more challenging that before the housing bubble and bust. It requires an active role on your part to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle come together correctly, so you can close on schedule. I didn't do a very good job initially and slipped my closing by two weeks, and I learned some very valuable lessons which I wrote about … Home Management: Who's in Charge?
So this is the first in a series of articles about the home buying process. It captures my personal experience based on a house we just closed on, to help others avoid many of the challenges related to buying a home today. My perspective through the process was to really learn what was happening and why, using my past experience and desire to write these articles. I'll point out things I learned for the first time like using the Good Faith Estimate to compare lenders.
Note: I'll be writing a few articles each week, so check back if all the titles below don't have their links yet.
Buying a House Starts with a Decision to Move
Deciding to buy a house is a big decision, especially for first time homeowners. At a minimum, it means packing and moving. More often it involves shifting your budget from discretionary spending (eating out, clothes, travel) to invest in your home, and save for retirement. That's why the home buying process should begin before you start looking for a house.
So here are a few articles to help you get started on your home buying journey:
- Factors to Consider When Deciding to Move or Stay
- Preparing for the Home Buying Challenge When Financing a House
- Determining How Much House to Buy
- Confusion Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval
- Picking the Right Community For Your Lifestyle
Building the Team You Need When Buying a House
Your home buying experience will in large part, be based on the quality of home professionals you work with. You should start the process by picking the best real estate agent for your personality, and community where you want to buy. But it doesn't stop there, a lesson I learned with this last home purchase. I didn't think the mortgage broker was as important because it's a one-time transaction. I was wrong and had to walk away from the first lender I worked with, just a week before the scheduled closing because he couldn't answer my questions (you'll want to read about Completing Your Loan Application).
So here are the key players you need on your home buying team:
- Finding Your Ideal Real Estate Agent
- Does Your Real Estate Agent Work for You or the Seller?
- Finding the Perfect House
- Negotiating Your Home Purchase Contract
- Amazing Home Seller Property Disclosures
- Shopping for a Lender
- Completing Your Loan Application
- How to Use the Good Faith Estimate
- The Loan Approval Process (or Nightmare)
Why You Want to Drive the Bus when Buying a House
A great team is great when they have a great leader and that needs to be you! While you won't be an expert in any single aspect of the home buying process, you are the one who has everything to gain or lose. Buying a house is a huge investment and when my real estate agent said she sometimes pays for the home inspection when the buyer won't, that's scary. With our recent home purchase, we paid for the home inspector to come back twice, to make sure all the repairs we asked for were completed correctly.
- Managing Your Home Purchase
- Never, Ever Skip a Home Inspection
- GFCs, Smoke Detectors and Home Safety, a real story as I was shocked by my recent home inspection.
- When You Need a Home Warranty
- Thankfully All Lenders Require House Insurance
- Appraisals – Why They're Required & Key to Getting Your Loan
- How the Title Search Protects You
- How Much Title Insurance Do You Need
- What Happens at the Closing
What Comes Next After Buying Your House
- Life as a New Homeowner – the First 90 Days
You made a good point that appraisals can be a crucial part when trying to buy a house. One of the things I’d like to accomplish this year or the next is to be able secure my own home with my boyfriend. Only then would I be comfortable enough to settle down with him and maybe even have a kid right after we get married.