If you have’t been following on Insta (first of all shame on you!) then you missed the big announcement that I finished paying off my student loans and moved into my first home! I moved in about three weeks ago… hence why my posting schedule has been pretty much non existent as of late. But I’m working on getting back to normal so please bear with me and forgive me as well.
These three weeks have been honestly… three weeks from HELL. I’ve felt so overwhelmed, stressed, and BROKE AF. All to which everyone has said that it gets better. I’ll be here waiting for it to get better, but in the meantime I’ve got the play by play for you on how to buy your first home (an easy checklist to follow)
How To: Buying Your First Home Checklist
1. Figure out how much you can afford
The first necessary step needed when purchasing a home whether for the first time or the 50th time, figure out how much you can actually afford. This means how much can you pay a month for your mortgage, how much can you save for your down payment as well as closing costs. This will help you figure out just how much house you really can afford.
2. Save for A Down Payment
This is one of the harder parts of purchasing a home, because you have to substantially save money while still paying your daily living costs. There are a few programs out there that help you purchase a home with no down payment (be very careful because a lot of these are scams so do your due diligence). But if you are going more of a traditional route, you will want to have 20% or more saved as a down payment, to help you avoid paying PMI.
3. Browse Openings + Get A Real Estate Agent
This was one of the most stressful parts of the home purchasing process for me. More stressful than saving for a down payment, and more stressful than preparing for the closing. I used Zillow mostly to search for open houses for homes that fit my budget and weren’t a total shit show. The down side to using sites like Zillow is it isn’t updated as often as it should be. So a lot of the places I’d like would already been sold by the time I called the listing agent. If you get a real estate agent they have more access to homes that may not be on the websites as of yet, and have a more updated view of the homes that are still available.
4. Visit Open Houses
I didn’t go to as many open houses as I should have, but I do recommend going to at least 10-15. I on the other hand, went to three. When you go on these open houses you should take lots of pictures and ask tons of questions so you know that you are getting the best deal and what you really want.
5. Make an Offer
If you find a place that you really like, you then make an offer on it. You offer what you think the place is worth (this is where you get the space to negotiate). If the seller is interested but doesn’t like your offer, they will tend to counteroffer. The offer stage is the time to go back and forth until you reach a number you both can agree on.
6. Get An Inspection + Renegotiate
This was the step that I wish I had done, and I highly highly highly recommend that you do so. Get an inspection by a professional. Yes it will be pricey (most inspections cost $750 or more) and no there will be no refunds if you choose not to purchase the home, however getting a professional inspection will save you tons of money in the long run. When you get your potential home inspected you also have the space to renegotiate if there are things that are found that you didn’t see for yourself before. This also gives you the opportunity to take back your offer, or ask the seller to make certain repairs before you make another offer/ move forward with the purchase. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!
7. Get an appraisal
Once you’ve gotten a professional inspection, and have a set offer, your lender will want/mandate an appraisal. This is to determine the worth/value of the home. You want to make sure your appraisal is either the same or worth more than what you’ve offered to pay.
The final step in purchasing a home is the closing. This is the part that they always show on social media. The smiling, the keys, all a part of the closing. What they don’t know are the other grueling parts. In order to get a closing date, every part of the process has to come to an agreement and get their bread. Your lawyer, the bank’s lawyer, the seller’s lawyer all have to come to the table. You have to bring a certified or bank check to cover your closing costs, and sign a ton of papers. My closing lasted thirty minutes and I’ve been told that I am extremely lucky. I’ve also heard many many other people who have had closings last longer than 2 hours. So prepare mentally for 2 hours of signatures and money exchanges, but you could very well also be in and out in 30 minutes or less.
There ya have it in a nutshell! 8 simple (not so simple) tips to buying your first home! If you found this post helpful don’t be afraid to like, and share with a friend, family member, or stranger on the internet!
Until next time,
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.