Buying a house doesn’t have to be a complicated process. While there are a lot of different moving pieces – including mortgage bankers, REALTORS®, home appraisers and insurance agents – nearly every home sale follows the same or a very similar process. Here are the 8 steps to buying a house:
Step #1: Understand the local Tampa housing market
Tampa is rated-among the best places to live in Florida, having many advantages over cities like Orlando and Miami. Tampa has great weather, beaches, attractions – but lacks the over-abundance of tourists. Compared to many other areas and cities in Florida – residents get a better value for their money here in Tampa, which increases demand and value for homeowners. Tampa is a two-time winner of the Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability.com; offering good schools, an up and coming restaurant scene, museums, national sports teams and a local airport.
Step #2: Start getting your finances in order
In most cases, you’ll be expected to pay 20 percent of the value of the house as a down payment. There are some exceptions, especially if you are a first-time home buyer, but consider the 20 percent rule is an industry standard. Thus, you’ll want to start moving your financial assets so that you can access them easily. For example, say you plan to finance your down payment with your stock market portfolio – you’ll need to start selling off stocks ahead of the down payment. As part of this initial process, you’ll also want to start gathering all of your financial documents, including tax forms and wage stubs.
Step #3: Get prequalified and preapproved for credit
Unless you plan on purchasing the house with cash, you’ll need to arrange a mortgage loan. You’ll want to talk to a -lender and get prequalified and preapproved. That way, when it’s time to buy the house, it’s an easy process to free up the funds from the bank. At Homes by WestBay, we work with some of the nation’s top lenders who can help you with the financing process when you are purchasing one of our new homes.
Step #4: Find a Real Estate Agent
You’ll be spending a quite a bit of time with your REALTOR®, so find someone you like and trust. Your agent is responsible to you and always has your best interests in mind, and is willing to take the time to find out what you really want in a house. They know the area, communities, builders and are a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
Step #5: Start viewing homes and narrow down your choices
This is the fun part – the part that they always show on TV, when buyers are trying to find the 2-3 best options out of the choices presented to them. Here is where you need to be willing to compromise. Your spouse might want a beautiful view of the lake, but you’d rather have a home with a three-car garage. This is also a great time to consider new construction that can give you all the features you both want in a home.
Step #6: Make an offer
If you’re looking at a resale your REALTOR® can play a key role. Their experience will help you with formulating the best offer. However, remember to compare to a new home and all the benefits that come with it. You may find that the best option is the new construction.
New home builders price their homes wisely to meet the market and local competition Builders do offer incentives to prospective homeowners. These can include upgrades such as better appliances, carpet, and cabinets, etc. These can be negotiated in the buying process. Typically, when buying a new home, a prospective homebuyer formulates an offer based upon current pricing, proposed upgrades and any incentives or special promotions the builder may offer. .
Step #7: Line up your mortgage loan
If your offer is accepted, the rest of the process is relatively easy. Since you’ve already been prequalified earlier, all you have to do now is figure out what kind of loan you want. You could get a fixed rate, 30-year loan, for example, which is a standard type of home loan.
There’s a lot of paperwork and personal documents required from you to get you to the end result…the “closing.” Don’t procrastinate. Follow the steps set by the lender to ensure the closing is seamless and straight-forward.
Step #8: Celebrate!
You made it – you’re now a homeowner! The steps to buying a house might have seemed daunting at the outset, but with a little preparation and research at the outset, it can be a remarkably quick process.