Congratulations: You have your mortgage pre-approval! Many prospective homeowners concentrate on that one element so much that they lose focus once it’s accomplished. Now’s the time to shift your attention to the business of actually buying a house and moving in. There are a lot of different ways to go about this part, but below is a basic order of events for you to follow.
List Your Needs
Some people do this right at the beginning of house hunting, but you won’t really know your price range until you have that pre-approval in hand. Once you do, make a list of needs and wants, including:
- Type of house you prefer
- Lot size
- Indoor and outdoor features
- Square footage
- Type of neighbourhood
- Property tax levels
- School districts (if applicable)
Your list will likely differ as everyone has different aspects that are important to them, but this is a good list to give you a general idea of what you should be looking for.
Find a Lawyer
You may have found yourself a lawyer or were referred to one at the beginning of the process, but if you don’t have one, you should start looking now. The lawyer will help with any legal documents or legal issues during your search for a home, and will be essential in the closing of the sale. Finding a good one at this point in your house hunting journey will make your entire process less stressful.
Find an Agent
At this point you’re ready to get out there and start looking at houses, so you’ll want to enlist the help of a real estate agent. Agents have information and resources that the general public doesn’t have, so finding an experienced one will help you find the right home you are looking for.
Find a House
With your agent by your side, go to showings, open houses and virtually everything they recommend for you. Listen to their advice on the type of offer to make, how much to offer and when you should make the offer. Since they are entrenched in the industry, they have a great sense of when to take action and when to sit tight.
After you’ve made an offer and it has been accepted by the seller, it’s just a matter of getting the mortgage approved by your lender and working out all the legalities. This all started with a mortgage pre-approval, so unless your financial situation has changed since then, it should only be a formality. Buying a home can be a stressful process, but with the right help and the right information, it can also be an enjoyable one!