Purchasing a home is a huge endeavor, whether it be your first time or you're a seasoned veteran. It is important to do a bit of research and prepare for what's to come down the road ahead to avoid any costly delays. Check out these six steps to buying a home before you reach out to a real estate agent.

6-steps-to-buying-a-house-1-mark-j-schmidtStep 1 – Check Credit

Your credit report is imperative when purchasing a home. A home mortgage lender will carefully inspect your credit history to determine if you are a qualified loan candidate. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can receive a free copy of your credit report from the top three reporting agencies once per year. Take advantage of this free report and check for errors. Report errors and take care of any delinquent accounts as soon as possible to help improve your credit worthiness. Make sure your credit is in pristine condition before you contact a mortgage lender.

Step 2 – Save Money for Buying a House

Even though you'll have a home mortgage loan to cover the asking price of a new home, there are other expenses you'll have to prepare to pay for out of pocket. A typical down payment is around 20-percent of the asking price. In addition to a down payment, you'll want to be prepared to pay closing costs (between 2 to 8 percent of the price). New home ownership also has some expenses that sneak up on you once you've signed your purchase contract. Moving companies, upgrades, and home furnishings are all things that you will have to pay out of pocket for once it's time to move into your new home.

Step 3 – Find a Real Estate Agent

Having a knowledgeable, experienced, real estate agent on your side when you're buying a home is the key to making the process move as quickly and stress-free as possible. Find an agent who has ideas that match your own and understands your expectations. Make a list of what you're looking for in a potential home to help guide your agent and keep yourself on track when it's time to start looking at properties.

6-steps-to-buying-a-house-2-mark-j-schmidtStep 4 – Apply for Home Mortgage Pre-Approval

Avoid falling in love with a property you can't afford by knowing how much home you can afford before you start your search. A home mortgage pre-approval gives you an accurate budget without any guesswork. Not only will a pre-approval help you with your budget; it will give you a boost in the eyes of a home seller. This pre-approval lets a seller know that you are financially ready to follow through on your offer.

Step 5 – Place an Offer

Once it's time to put an offer on your dream home, the wisdom and negotiation skills of your real estate agent will come into play. You want to catch the seller's attention and let them know you're a serious contender without paying too much for the property. Your agent will guide you through this part of the process to get you the most bang for your buck.

Step 6 – Closing Time

Congrats, your offer was accepted! Now, the mortgage lender will order several inspections and an appraisal of the property. There will be a title search and a bit more paperwork that your agent will walk you through. Once closing day arrives, you'll sign the last parts of paperwork and pay any fees that are due. The keys will be handed over, and now you're the proud owner of a new home.

Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give Mark J. Schmidt a call today at 908-705-5110 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.