Do you find the home buying process mystifying and maybe a bit overwhelming? You're not alone. Apparently stock photo sites don't really get it either. So here's a silly, but also hopefully informative, look at the home-buying process.
Step 1: Check Your Credit Score
First, you'll want to check your credit to help determine how much of a loan you'll be approved for. It's easy, using the handy yellow "Credit Report" button on your laptop.
Step 2: Determine How Much You Can Afford
There are mortgage calculators online that can help with this. But if you can't find one (you know Google exists, yeah?), you can substitute a regular calculator and a tiny house instead.
You don't have a tiny model of your dream home? Everyone else does.
Step 3: Find the Right Partners
You'll need a real estate agent and a mortgage lender. You can ask for referrals from friends who've bought homes recently, or search around yourself online. Don't forget your binoculars. Yes, you need binoculars. You really don't understand how the internet works, do you?
Whomever you pick, make sure they're legit by asking for a business card.
Step 4: Look for the Right Home
Many people will suggest that you make a list of your top priorities on paper. But here's a real estate secret: It's easier to visualize your dream home if you actually draw it. Yes, right on your walls in your current apartment. Make the windows bigger. Add a crooked frame or two.
And definitely draw in a cat that's nicer and has many more whiskers than the one you have now. This step is all about dreaming big.
Step 5: Make an Offer on the Home
Now comes the fun part: Find a house and make an offer! You'll work with your agent (the one with the nice business cards) to put together an offer for the seller. It's becoming common to include a personal letter to the seller to strengthen your offer, or to carve and hand-paint a tiny model of the home to get into the seller's good graces and show them how badly you want this house.
Step 6: Close on Your Home
Congratulations! The offer was accepted. Now you'll do some due diligence and wait to close. Work with your lender to make sure you understand all the costs involved so there are no surprises on closing day. In the meantime, you'll order a home inspection, which is when you pay a guy $500 to show up with a giant magnifying glass to make sure everything looks to be in working order.
Step 7: Move In!
All the hard work is behind you and you can really enjoy your new space. So now that the house is yours, grab your stuff and move in! If anyone in the family doesn't seem as happy as you are about your new home, here's one final tip: You can use your moving boxes as masks to cover their cranky faces. Happy homeownership!
Re-edited from a post originally published 6.23.2016 - TW