Buying a home can be a complicated and confusing. While the process may sometimes overwhelm you, the outcome of having a new home that you can call your own makes everything worth it.
If you’re planning on buying a home in Cape Coral, Florida, check out this helpful guide below:
Find a qualified real estate agent
Working with a qualified and experienced real estate agent is key to the home buying process, especially if you’re buying one for the first time. A real estate agent will guide you from start to finish, from figuring out your budget to closing on the home.
Search for potential agents by asking family and friends for recommendations. You can also read online reviews and check out the websites of real estate agents in your chosen neighborhood. Once you have around two to three potential agents, interview each one thoroughly. How long have they been working as a real estate agent? How do they plan on helping you find your new home? What sets them apart from other real estate agents?
Check your financial situation
Knowing your credit score and how much home you can afford is a crucial step to buying a home. Your credit score, which is a huge factor in your mortgage application, affects the type of mortgage you can get and its interest rate. A FICO credit score of 620 and above can get you better interest rates and loan options.
If you need to raise your credit score, there are several ways to do so. Reduce the amount of debt that you owe and make sure that all bills are paid on time. Get a copy of your credit report and look for any possible errors as well.
Obtain a mortgage pre-approval
While a mortgage pre-approval letter isn’t a guarantee on the home loan, you’ll still have an idea on the amount of money you can borrow from the lender, the amount to be paid per month, and your interest rate. Having a pre-approval letter also gives you an advantage over other buyers since it establishes your credibility.
Keep in mind that a mortgage pre-approval and pre-qualification are two very different terms. A pre-qualification gives an estimate of how much home you can afford while pre-approval brings you one step closer to actually getting a mortgage.
Shop for the right home
Determine your home buying needs and wants before the house hunting starts. Know the features and amenities that you absolutely must have in a home and the ones you can live without. This will save you plenty of time during the home search since you’ll only be looking at houses that fit your criteria and your budget.
With your criteria in mind, start shopping for homes that fit what you’re looking for. Scour the internet for potential homes or ask your agent to recommend possible properties. After having a shortlist of potential homes, visit each one in person to check out the neighborhood and its surroundings.
Make an offer
Did you find a home that fit your criteria and one that you can see yourself living in? It’s time to make an offer. To write a good purchase offer, work with your real estate agent to come up with a competitive purchase price, a healthy earnest money deposit, and contingencies. Don’t forget to submit your mortgage pre-approval letter as well
Once submitted, the seller may choose to accept or negotiate your offer. When both parties are in agreement, the contract will be signed and the buying process begins. In case you and the seller can’t come to an agreement, it’s best to move on to another home.
Schedule a home inspection
When both parties have come to an agreement on the offer, hire a qualified and certified professional home inspector. A home inspection involves examining the home’s overall condition, especially its structure, foundation, plumbing, electrical systems, and more.
After the home inspection, which typically takes around two to three hours, you’ll be given a detailed written report of all the inspector’s findings. Should there be any major issues with the home, work with your agent to negotiate with the seller.
Before signing on the dotted line, look at the property one more time. Taking a final walk-through gives you another opportunity to inspect the home and make sure that the home’s condition is the same as you last saw it. If you asked the seller to make any changes to the home, this final walk-through also allows you to check whether the requested repairs or replacements were met.
Come closing day, be prepared to sign a whole bunch of legal documents. Since this real estate transaction involves plenty of paperwork, your signature is needed for the property deed, bill of sale, loan estimate, and the closing disclosure.