Phil Aitken
Phil Aitken

How do I buy a house?

Are you wondering how to buy a house? In this video, we explain what happens when you buy a house. We also provide answers to common questions like…

  • What is the first step in the process of buying a house?
  • How do you determine your budget when buying a house?
  • What does it mean to get pre-approved for a mortgage, and why is it important?
  • How do you find a real estate agent to help you with the home-buying process?
  • What is involved in searching for properties when buying a house?
  • How do you make an offer on a property when buying a house?
  • Why is a home inspection important when buying a house?
  • What are closing costs, and how much should you expect to pay?
  • What are some tips for navigating the home-buying process with confidence?

How Do I Buy a House? – A Step-by-Step Guide

Wondering, “how do I buy a house?” If you’ve never bought a home before, the process can be intimidating. From house-hunting and negotiations to getting pre-approval and submitting your final offer, many steps go into purchasing a new property.

To find the right home at the perfect price, it takes an in-depth understanding of the local housing market. And if you want to compete against the sea of other buyers out there, you’ll need a way to keep up with the latest listings as they hit the market.

Finding all this information on your own can be overwhelming. In this post, our team at Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team will answer the question, “how do I buy a house.” We’ll discuss the process of buying a home step by step and how a professional realtor can simplify the experience.

How Do I Choose The Right Realtor When Buying a Home?

The realtor you decide to work with will determine the outcome of your home-buying journey. Experienced realtors can help you find your dream home and negotiate a great deal on the price.

They know the market intimately and can help you be the first one to make an offer on listings so that you avoid pricey bidding wars. Realtors also have access to off-market homes that can’t be listed online, which gives you more choices for your dream home.

By working with the right agent, you can feel confident in your home-buying process and make a well-informed decision on one of the most significant financial investments of your life.

What’s The Best Way to Establish a Home Buying Budget? 

Your budget will guide the entire buying process and determine how big of a home you can afford. If you don’t already have a budget in mind, your realtor can help you come up with one.

There’s more that goes into a budget aside from the price of the home. You’ll also have to consider property taxes, HOA fees, home insurance, mortgage insurance, lender fees, and closing costs. In addition, you should ideally keep enough saved for maintenance and other costs associated with owning a home.

Consider your financial situation and list your expected costs. By being as detailed as possible, you can prepare to buy a home and make sure you’re not spending too much.

How Many Months Before Buying a House Should I Get Pre-Approved?

A key step when determining your budget is getting pre-approval from a qualified lender. The mortgage amount you get pre-approved for will determine your down payment and monthly mortgage amounts.

Typically, you should apply for mortgage pre-approval three to six months before buying a house. When you do, your lender will look at your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, income stability, and other aspects of your financial situation.

The earlier you get pre-approval, the sooner you’ll know how much house you can afford, which can guide the rest of your home-buying journey. In addition, most realtors won’t take you to home showings until a lender gives you pre-approval.

How Do I Find The Right House For Me?

Once you know your ideal price range, you can start looking for homes that match your criteria. Start by making a list of your must-have features and amenities. Then, share them with your realtor.

Of course, you can do some house hunting on your own. But your realtor will have access to exclusive databases that allow them to quickly discover potential matches.

Realtors also have years of experience in the local market, so they can share valuable insights about the communities and neighborhoods you’re interested in.

Once you’ve found some homes you’re interested in, your realtor can schedule a showing or home tour. Keep in mind that it may take time to buy a home, and it may not be possible to find a home with everything you want.

How Do You Narrow Down What You Want in a House?

During the house-hunting process, you’ll create a list of potential matches that fit your budget and selection criteria. Once you have this list, you can start attending showings and open houses to see what the homes are like in person.

When you’re visiting homes, there are several questions you should ask yourself to help you narrow down your options.

First, consider dividing your preferences between the items that are must-haves and the ones that would just be nice to have. If you have an open mind and some flexibility in what you want, it’ll make it easier to find a match.

In addition, do some research into the neighborhood. Does the location fit your lifestyle? Consider your commute time, the schools in the area, and how close grocery stores are.

How Do You Make an Offer on a Home?

Once you’ve found the perfect home, your realtor will help you make an initial offer at, above, or below the asking price.

To make the offer, your realtor will prepare a written document that includes the offer price, earnest money deposit, closing date, and any contingencies.

This document will be submitted to the seller’s agent or directly to the home seller if they don’t have their own realtor. From there, negotiations may continue until a deal is reached.

How Do You Negotiate With a Home Seller?

The best way to negotiate with a home seller is through an experienced realtor who can act as a neutral third party. A realtor’s negotiation skills reduce the risk of a dispute or legal conflict during the transaction.

They’ll also be the most knowledgeable about the housing market and whether the home is truly worth what the seller is asking for.

It’s important to approach negotiations with a respectful and collaborative attitude. Remember that the seller has emotional ties to the property and may have their own set of priorities. In the end, you may have to compromise on some terms of the sale if it means you can achieve your most important goals.

Why is a Home Inspection Important?

Home inspections are a key part of the home-buying process. They can occur before or after negotiations and help identify any potential issues with a property before you buy it. 

As the home buyer, it’s your responsibility to schedule and pay for a professional home inspection. Your realtor can help you find the most qualified inspectors.

The inspector will look for electrical or plumbing issues, structural problems, water damage, HVAC system issues, and the property’s overall condition.

Based on the inspection results, you can negotiate with the home seller to lower the price of the home to compensate for any repairs that were discovered during the inspection.

When Does The Lender Order an Appraisal?

After making an offer and getting the home inspected, the next step is to get an appraisal. Your lender will order an appraisal before officially issuing the mortgage. 

The appraiser will visit the home and then send a report to the lender with the amount they determine the home is worth. If the appraised amount matches or exceeds the asking price, you’ll be approved for the loan amount you were pre-approved for.

But if it falls below, you’ll likely get a lower loan amount. A lower appraisal amount can extend the sale by creating a new opportunity for negotiations. However, it could also cancel the sale altogether if the seller does not want to lower their asking price.

What Are The Final Steps of the Closing Process?

Once all negotiations are completed and the sale price has been finalized, you’ll be ready for the final steps of the closing process.

This involves signing the necessary paperwork and paying closing costs. Most of the closing costs will fall on the home seller. However, as the buyer you’ll have to pay for the home inspection, appraisal, escrow fee, mortgage origination fee, and other fees associated with your lender.

Once all the paperwork with your lender and the seller is signed, the home officially becomes yours.

How Long After Closing Can You Wait to Move In?

When you can move into your new home depends on the terms of the purchase agreement you negotiated with the seller. In some cases, you may be able to move in immediately after closing. But usually, buyers give the seller a week or ten days to move out of the property completely. 

In some cases, you can negotiate a deal that allows the seller to remain in the home for multiple weeks if you’re not ready to move in yet.

It is important to communicate with the seller and your realtor to determine the specific move-in date and any other requirements or expectations.

How Do I Buy a House in Jacksonville?

If you’re asking yourself, “how do I buy a house” it can be a good idea to consult with a professional realtor. 

If you want to buy a home in Jacksonville, Florida, Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team is your best choice. Our professional realtors have served the JAX area for years. During that time, we’ve become known for our exceptional customer service and unique buyer guarantees.

We have thousands of five-star reviews from satisfied clients who have found their dream homes with our team.

Our clients love working with us because we make the home-buying experience risk-free with our guarantees. These include our Buyer Cancellation Guarantee and Buyer Satisfaction Guarantee.

Phil Aitken, Owner/Broker
Phil Aitken is the Owner/Broker with Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team and has over 13 years of Real Estate experience. Phil’s faith and desire for his family’s continued security fuel his business growth and leadership. The Phil Aitken Home Team continues to profoundly impact the people of Jacksonville via supporting several faith-based organizations. Phil gives back a portion of every real estate transaction to The Tim Tebow Foundation and Rethreaded. Find Phil's full story here.