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12 Months Out: What You Should Know About Buying Your First Home

Posted by Tim Weisheyer on Aug 9, 2017 8:00:00 AM

12 months before buying a home

Making the transition from renting to owning can be a thrilling one but when it comes to doing it for the first time ever, it can be somewhat overwhelming.

Establishing a timeline that breaks down the process into smaller pieces can make buying your first home a little easier. Buying a home in one year is possible! Check out our timeline below for our recommendations for how to buy a home in 12 months.

 

12-Month Timeline for Buying a Home

12 Months Before Buying a Home:

Get your finances in order.

It’s important that you check your credit report, take care of any lingering loans you’ve been meaning to pay off and start determining how much you can really afford. Even though you’re a year out from buying a home, now is the time to start talking to a REALTOR®. They are the best resource in figuring out exactly what your budget looks like and how ready you are to purchase a home.


Make a plan for your down payment and closing costs.
You’ll need to have cash on hand when buying a new home, and making a plan to save this money will help you be prepared when the day finally comes to put an offer on your first home. Once you know what your budget looks like, you’ll have a better understanding of roughly how much money you’ll need to save for a down payment and closing costs.

 


Read more first time home buying tips:
Goal Setting When Buying a Home
Before you begin your home search, it's important to start by setting realistic goals. Setting goals will set you up for success when buying a new home... Read more on our blog.


 

9 Months Before Buying a Home:

Start making your dream home list.
What is most important to you in a new home? Are you looking for something turnkey? Maybe new construction is what would be best for you. Are you interested in tackling some DIY home projects in your future home? Maybe a fixer-upper is more your speed. Narrowing down your dream home criteria will make your home search easier.

Scope out potential neighborhoods.

Drive around the area you’re interested in and really start to get to know what's available in your potential new neighborhood. Scope it out at different times of day and on different days of the week to really get a good feel for what that neighborhood has to offer.

Start budgeting for other expenses.
Whether it’s a fixer-upper or new construction that you decide on, there will be costs associated with buying a new home. Things like window blinds, new ceiling fans and a fresh coat of paint are just a few examples of things you may need to purchase shortly after you buy your new home. When buying a new home, you’ll have to pay for a home inspection, other various inspections and an appraisal, just to name a few.

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6 Months Before Buying a Home:

Start collecting paperwork.
There’s a lot of things first time home buyers should know, including the amount of paperwork you have to prepare when getting qualified to buy a new home. Some examples include:
    • W-2 statements
    • Bank statements from the past few months
    • Federal tax returns from the past few years
    • Proof of investment income
    • Pay stubs
    • Proof of other income
Request a personalized home search from your REALTOR®.

Now is a great time to get a property search set up and let your REALTOR® know exactly what type of home you’re interested in. The days of endless internet searches for the perfect home are over. Now you can set-up personalized search criteria and only see the homes that match what you want.

#ProTip: Sign up for instant notifications so that you see the homes that fit your criteria the moment they hit the market! Request a Personalized Home Search from Dream Builders Realty.

 

3 Months Before Buying a Home:

Get pre-approved for your loan.
All of that paperwork you were gathering over the last few months will come in handy now as you get pre-approved for your home loan by a mortgage broker.

Narrow down your home search.

Now that you've seen a list of homes available in your ideal neighborhoods, start narrowing down which homes you'd like to see in person and potentially put an offer on. Talk to your REALTOR® about setting up a showing with the seller.



Free Download:
First Time Home Buyer Checklist
Get tips on how to avoid delays in the home buying process, plus what you should do to save money and keep the process hassle free. Download our FREE First Time Home Buyer Checklist.


 

2 Months Before Buying a Home:

Make an offer on your dream home.
If you've found a home you love, work with your REALTOR® to place an offer on the home. Typically, it can take anywhere from four to six weeks (and sometimes longer) to close on a home. If you have a date set for moving out and you've found a home that meets all of your criteria, make an offer with enough time to spare to avoid any delays that might arise.

Conduct a home inspection.

There are several types of home inspections that you can conduct before buying a new home. Sometimes, these inspections are required by your home insurance company before they issue an insurance policy. These inspections can give you ease of mind that your home is move-in ready and they may even save you some money.

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1 Month Before Buying a Home:

Review all of your documents.
You have all of your financial documents in order and your down payment is ready to go. Review your mortgage documents with your REALTOR®, who can answer any questions you have before moving forward.

Apply for homeowners insurance.

After you've conducted your home inspections, and you're sure that your home is move-in ready, apply for homeowners insurance for your new home. Doing this a month before closing can help make the move-in process seamless.

Conduct a final walk-thru.
A couple of days before closing, conduct a final walk-thru of your new home to make sure it's in the condition that you and the seller have agreed upon.

While this may be your first time buying a home, your real estate agent is a seasoned professional. Lean on them when it comes to all the things you should be doing right before you buy your home and all the moments that lead up to holding those new keys in your hand!

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Topics: First Time Home Buyer, Buying a Home, Buying 101

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