First Time Residence Shopping for Guidelines: Your Information for 2021

Here is your checklist for buying a home

Buying a home is probably the biggest purchase most of us will make in our lives. It is very natural to have questions while buying a home and to experience all the familiar emotions.

There's plenty to do, but don't worry – this home buying checklist will help you roll up your sleeves and prepare you for your graduation in 10 easy steps.

Check your eligibility to buy a home. Start here (11/20/2021)

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Complete home purchase checklist

Use this home buying checklist as a cheat sheet for your entire home buying process: from collecting your records to applying for a mortgage to finding your dream home. Below we explain each phase of the process in detail.

Click the image to open a PDF version of the Home Buying Checklist.

1. Find out what you can afford

Home ownership can be one of the biggest financial decisions you will make. Before you start visiting open houses, make sure you can afford the purchase price of your dream home.

Most home buyers require a loan to buy a new home which requires finding a lender. There is nothing worse when buying a home than having your mortgage application turned down. Therefore, it is an important first step to review your personal finances before you start looking for a home.

Use a mortgage calculator

A mortgage affordability calculator can help both first-time buyers and seasoned veterans understand:

How much home you can afford Desired loan terms and interest rates Amount of installment Desired monthly mortgage payments Estimated property taxes

Take some time to think about how your current monthly expenses compare with the results of your mortgage calculator estimates.

Check your credit history

Your creditworthiness is an important factor in qualifying for a mortgage and determining the interest rate on your home loan.

Even if you have a good credit rating, check your credit report and deny any mistakes.

Paying back high-interest credit card debt, personal loans, or student loans before applying for a mortgage can also help improve your credit score and lower your debt-to-income ratio.

Check your mortgage eligibility. Start here (11/20/2021)

2. Agree on the deposit

Once you have figured out how much home you can afford, the next step is to determine the down payment required.

The size of your down payment depends largely on the type of mortgage you are receiving. Down payments on conventional mortgages start at around 3 to 5% of the home purchase price.

However, if you want to avoid private mortgage insurance, you need a 20% discount.

FHA loans require a 3.5% discount, and some types of loans allow you to buy a home with no down payment. With government-sponsored USDA and VA loans, you can get 100% of the home price without losing money.

Regardless of the size of your down payment, it's a good idea to set aside a small surcharge to cover closing costs and any repairs your home inspection might reveal.

3. Decide on a lender and get pre-approved

Most people take their time looking for an apartment when buying their dream home. In fact, the average home purchase in the US takes around four months.

During the shopping time, you will learn what is important to you for a new home in your price range and what is not, which districts you prefer and what your deal-breakers are.

However, few home buyers enjoy the mortgage process as much as buying a home.

The majority polled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) only considered a single mortgage lender when financing their property. Additionally, a significant percentage postpone contacting a lender until they find the perfect home.

Pre-approval for mortgages

You really shouldn't start buying a home until you know how much home you can afford. And if you are to be taken seriously by sellers and their real estate agents, you need a pre-approval letter.

Note that pre-approval is not the same as pre-qualification. If you are pre-qualified by a lender, this is an estimate of what they will loan you.

The pre-approval is a more rigorous examination of your financial situation and tells you exactly the amount of loan a lender is willing to take on.

You can get pre-approved a home loan by applying to one or more mortgage lenders. Insurers will likely have questions or lists of required documents and once you meet their requirements you will receive your pre-approval letter. It's easy to request a fistful of quotes online so get them now. Then you can contact some of the most competitive lenders and rate them personally. Be aware of the mortgage lenders whose workings are the same as your own. If you prefer calling and texting, or if your loan officer is hard to find with any questions, choose someone who is more convenient for you

Contact a lender to begin pre-approving your mortgage (November 20, 2021)

4. Find a real estate agent

A real estate agent can be of great help when buying a home. Not only can realtors find homes for sale once they're listed, they know the housing market in your area and can provide unique insights to help you find the perfect home.

When you find a real estate agent, ask friends and family for recommendations, read reviews online, and talk to several options before choosing the right agent.

In addition, home buyers shouldn't worry about the cost of a real estate agent.

Many first-time buyers do not know this, but the seller almost always pays their own agent and the buyer's agent. You can usually get help from a buyer's representative free of charge.

5. Find your dream home

Once you know exactly how much to spend and that you can buy any property that meets your lender's standards, the fun begins. To go shopping. This is also the fun part of the home purchase checklist.

This checklist below was originally created by HUD and is a good reminder to look out for the same details for every home you see. As you fill out the forms and see more houses, you and your realtor should quickly learn which areas and house types are better suited.

Use one for each home you tour and match it with the pictures you have taken. Alternatively, there are several house shopping apps that you can use to incorporate your notes and pictures into online files. For each criterion, write down whether the home function is good, average, or bad for you.

Checklist for looking for an apartment:


Number of square metersNumber of bedroomsNumber of bathroomsPunctuality of the floor plan Condition of the interior wallsCabinet / storage roomBasementFireplaceCable TVBasement: Moisture or odorsExterior view, conditionLawn / courtyard areaFence of patio or terraceGarageEnergy efficiencyScreens, storm windowsRoof: Age and conditionGutters and downpipes


Appearance / condition of the surrounding apartments / shopsTrafficNoise levelSafetySafetyMix of ages of residentsNumber of childrenPet restrictionsParkingDistribution regulationsNeighbourhood restrictions / contractsFire protectionPoliceSnow removalRubbish service


Age / ConditionReputationTeacher QualityAchievement Test ResultsPlay AreasCurriculum Class SizeDistance


SupermarketSchoolsWorkShoppingChildcareHospitalsDoctor / DentistLeisure / ParksRestaurants / EntertainmentChurch / SynagogueAirportHighwaysPublic Transportation

6. Hire a real estate lawyer (if required)

Hiring a real estate attorney isn't always a necessity, but some states require that an attorney represent you. Your broker or broker can tell you if one is needed.

If your state needs a real estate attorney, avoid choosing the cheapest service you can find. Treat this process much like choosing a lender or broker – get referrals, read reviews, and talk to multiple options before you make up your mind.

7. Make an offer and negotiate

When you've found the perfect home, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agent or agent will walk you through the process and, in many cases, will take the lead.

Your offering is based on numerous factors including

How hot the property market is asking price Whether there are other offers or not How long the property has been on the market

The seller will either accept, reject or contradict your purchase offer. If the seller refuses, you have the option of submitting a counter offer.

Your purchase offer includes a cash payment – usually between 1% and 3% of the purchase price – which is deposited in an escrow account. The serious money stays in trust until the seller accepts your offer.

If you get cold feet in the apartment and withdraw your offer, the serious money will be forfeited to the seller. Otherwise, it will be counted towards your down payment and the cost of taking out the mortgage.

8. Get final approval for your mortgage

Once the seller has accepted your offer, you will begin the formal mortgage application process.

Even if you have been pre-approved for a loan, expect to provide additional documentation to your loan officer during the course of the underwriting process.

Documents that you will need for the mortgage application

Mortgage lenders just want to make sure that you can afford your home loan and that you can probably repay it as agreed. You must comply with government regulations that require them to demonstrate that they lawfully rated you.

Proof of employment and income

One month pay slips or the last two years of military leave and earnings records If you are self-employed, a contracted employee (25% or more), an employee with non-reimbursed business expenses or real estate income, provide at least your last two tax returns to. If your income fluctuates significantly or is unusual, you may need additional years; if you own a business, you will need a business tax return of at least two years. This usually means a letter of arbitration, check slip, or direct deposit divorce order and settlement documents for separate maintenance (if applicable) letter of explanation for employment gaps

financial assets

Two-month bank statements for current and savings accounts Two monthly statements for investment and pension accounts Information on real estate already owned (use, income, if available, estimated value, mortgage)

Personal information

Government-issued IDPrevious Addresses in the Past 2 YearsDate of Birth and Completed SchoolingSocial Security Numbers for All ApplicantsRace and Ethnicity Information (for government surveillance – required on all mortgage loans) State and county where you plan to purchaseNumber and ages of dependents

Details of the property

Purchase contract accepted and signed by you and the seller (if you have selected one) Name and contact information of the insurance agent you use Name and phone number of the homeowners association, if applicable

Credit and liabilities

Your loan officer will check your creditworthiness by preparing a credit report showing your accounts, but on occasion the information may be out of date, missing, or inaccurate. This information goes into your mortgage application and it is your responsibility to review and confirm it. Loan loss statement Divorce decree and settlement documents for child or spouse (if applicable) Bankruptcy and discharge documents (if applicable) Documents that refute erroneous items on your credit report

For a full breakdown of all papers, download our home purchase checklist.

Don't forget your home insurance

Your lender may require you to take out home insurance as part of the approval process. Even if it doesn't, it is a good time to get quotes from your insurance company or buy your home insurance from some providers for the best deal on insurance coverage.

9. Schedule a home inspection and assessment

After you have agreed on the purchase price of the house with the seller, the next step is to schedule the home inspection and appraisal.

The home inspection ensures that the property complies with regulations and that the foundation and roof are structurally sound. Your home inspector will test systems such as plumbing and electrical and prepare a detailed report for you with the results of the home inspection.

In addition to a basic inspection, some home buyers also test for the presence of radon and mold.

While a home inspection is not required, it is highly recommended and will help you avoid hidden problems that could affect your home's value for years to come.

On the other hand, a home valuation will be required from your mortgage lender to confirm that the value of the home is the same as the amount of the loan.

Your appraiser determines the market value of the house by looking at the property values ​​in the neighborhood and assessing the general condition of the house.

10. Close your new home

Congratulations, the closing process is the final step on home ownership! Your real estate agent and loan officer will handle most of the work, but you still have a few final tasks – including signing mountains of paperwork.

Here's a quick breakdown of what to expect on your graduation date:

Your lender will submit the final declaration at least three days in advance of closing

Are you ready to go?

Once you've studied the home buying checklist, you're ready to get the ball rolling.

Start with a review of current mortgage rates to find out what you can afford.

Confirm your new plan (November 20, 2021)

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