How do you get from “Someday, I’d really like to have my own home,” to actual home ownership in just one year? This guide from HouseLogic gives step-by-step instructions. They even include helpful links and worksheets.
I’ve listed the highlights from their article below. On some of them, I have also provided my own tips based on my experience as a Realtor. If you are committed to making your dream of first time home ownership a reality, I highly recommend reading the full article on HouseLogic.
12 Months Out
- Check your credit score
- Determine how much you can afford — Here, the focus is on that magic debt-to-income ratio. I provide advice on this in #3 on my list of 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home
- Make a downpayment plan — In addition, check out #8 on my list of 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home.
9 Months Out
- Prioritize what you most want in your new home — I agree with HouseLogic’s advice to know what trade-offs you’re willing to make. It is also important to know what projects you are truly capable of or willing to take on. Let’s say you’re looking at a house with an unfinished basement. That’s a lot of space for future bedrooms or living area. But does the house provide enough of what you *need* without the finished basement? Basements are big, expensive projects that take a long time. Do you have the skills to do the work? Will you be happy in the house until that work gets done?
- Research neighborhoods and start visiting open houses — I can provide lots of great resources here for getting the inside scoop on neighborhoods! Get in touch with me at 303-204-6494 or email@example.com.
- Budget for miscellaneous homebuying expenses such as inspection and appraisal ($1,200 is a good number)
- Start a home maintenance account — I’d recommend no less than $50 a month; ideally, closer to $100. Keep this habit once you’re a homeowner! And if you don’t use it in a given month, save it. If you don’t, Murphy’s Law will get you every time.
6 Months Out
- Collect your loan paperwork
- Research lenders and Realtors — If you’re buying in the southeast Denver metro area, I’m obviously your best choice for a Realtor :-). I have built relationships with lenders who serve buyers in all sorts of situations. I’m happy to refer you to them. Reach out to me at 303-204-6494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 Months Out
- Get pre-approved for your loan
- Start shopping for your new home — This is where we start spending lots of quality time together :-).
2 Months Out
- Make an offer on a home — I have more than a decade of experience specifically in the Denver metro real estate market. As an exclusive buyer’s agent, I will work with you to know your maximum offer and non-negotiables. Together, we will craft an offer designed to get you the most for your money. I have experience with successful negotiating strategies that other, less-experienced agents simply haven’t encountered. (As just one example, check out how a nontraditional strategy got Amy and Cody into their new home.)
- Once you are under contract, we’ll walk through the various steps together, such as getting a home inspection — I have a few truly great folks to refer you to for this critically important step. Contact me at 303-204-6494 or email@example.com.
In the Last Month
- The lender will triple-check that they have all your financial documents and will review and verify them all again before closing
- Get insurance for your new home — Get in touch with me at 303-204-6494 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a referral here.
- Do a final walk-through
- Get a cashier’s check or bank wire for cash needed at closing
All that’s left now is to attend the closing, hand over the check, get the keys…and then celebrate your status as a new homeowner!