20 Oct First-Time Homebuyer Checklist
Buying your first home is a major accomplishment and you should be proud that you’re ready to take this next step in your life. While it’s an exciting milestone, there may be a number of items on the home buying checklist that you’re unfamiliar with but are still crucial steps to take before you sign those final papers.
Whether you’re ready to start looking tomorrow or a year from now, here is a checklist of everything you need to consider beforehand.
First, establish a realistic budget that you’re comfortable spending upfront and each month. A mortgage calculator can help you figure a general number but don’t forget to factor in insurance, taxes, realtor expenses, and any Homeowners Association (HOA) fees you may be responsible for. Also, find a lender who will determine if you’re in a good place financially to purchase a home or what you’ll need to do so that you can become eligible.
Once you have your budget and you know you can afford to buy a home, get pre-qualified so you have an idea of the loan amount you’ll qualify for so you can narrow down your home search.
Make a list of your “must-haves”
When you begin your search, you may have to look at dozens of homes before you find the right one. Having a list upfront of what your priorities are will help you in your search and you won’t waste your time looking at homes that don’t match your list of essentials. For example, home size, driveway parking, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, proximity to schools or town center, etc.
Secure a loan
Even if you’ve pre-qualified for a loan, you haven’t finalized it just yet. Do your research with a few different lenders and compare mortgage rates, costs, and terms. Once you’ve settled on a lender, you’ll go through the process with a full financial background check and once approved, you’ll have an exact loan amount and mortgage rate to keep in mind while you continue your home search.
Find your home
Working with a real estate agent will help you find a home within your budget that fits your requirements. Though you’ll have to pay realtor fees, this can significantly help speed up the home buying process.
Insurance shouldn’t wait until you move into your home. There are a number of factors that will affect your rate so it’s best to have an idea of what your payments will be and what options are available before you finalize your purchase. Learn more about our home insurance options on our website.
Make an offer
Once you find a home, make an offer. Your real estate agent can help you through this process and make sure all the terms are in order. If you’re not approved, it’s back to the search but if you’re approved, you’re one step closer to moving into your new home.
Conduct a home inspection
An inspection is an essential step of the home buying process as it can help you identify any safety concerns or necessary repairs before you sign final papers. If there is a problem, you can include repairs as a contingency in your offer.
Review small details
Are all appliances staying in the home? Is there a proper cable hookup? These are all things that can be overlooked but might make a big difference when it comes to move-in day.
Determine your deposit
An average deposit is 20-30% but there are a number of options for first-time buyers where you can pay as little as 3%, in some cases. Finalize what you can afford and are comfortable with and prepare to pay it all upfront.
Finalize mortgage and prepare for closing
Once you make your offer, finalize the details with your lender. You’ll also sign the Purchase and Sale Agreement which will be a more in-depth document than your Offer to Purchase.
If you are looking for more information about a new or existing home insurance policy, an ABM insurance agent is happy to help. Contact us at one of our four convenient Massachusetts locations at (978) 534-2800 (Leominster), (978) 632-1098 (Gardner), (978) 874-2921 (Westminster), (978) 464-5857 (Princeton) to request a free quote.