Do not put the cart before the horse. For a stress-free home buying experience, take the steps in the order that produces the best results.
When you get that urge to house-hunt, your first instinct is to get out there and see houses. That approach only works when money is no object, and you have all of the cash you need at your fingertips. Most buyers, however, need help and will borrow money from a lender.
If you need that help, as most do, then step 1 is to determine how much available cash you will need for a down payment and other costs associated with obtaining a mortgage. You might need to save for a few months for the down payment. Visit FirstHomeMS.org to find out the benefits of opening a First Time Homebuyers Savings account.
Step 2 is calculating what you can afford in a monthly payment.
Step 3 is getting pre-approved with a local lender.
Step 4 is identifying a REALTOR® to work with you exclusively as a buyer’s agent. Only a buyer’s agent can guide and counsel you. They can offer you advice on how much to offer and assist you in all negotiations. You can get recommendations for buyer's agents from friends, family, and acquaintances.
Step 5 is viewing houses. Finally, you get to go house hunting. At this step, you know the price range of properties you should see so you will not get excited about one that is outside your price range.
Step 6 is making an offer. Your REALTOR® can show you market statistics to assist you in determining your offer price. You REALTOR® can also suggest other conditions that are in your best interest to include in the offer.
Step 7 is getting the home inspected. Having the home inspected by a professional can help prepare you to build a maintenance schedule. Your REALTOR® will help you negotiate any repairs you might want the seller to complete as a condition of your sale.
Step 8 is the closing. After closing your loan and getting the keys, you can start building memories in your first home.