How to Buy a House: The Pro Checklist - Home & Texture
Homeownership Homebuyer Checklist

The Ultimate Homebuyer Checklist To Help You Secure Your Dream Home

Check, check, and check. Use this checklist for a smooth homebuying process.

March 26, 2024 at 2:40 PM PST
Homeownership Homebuyer Checklist

The Ultimate Homebuyer Checklist To Help You Secure Your Dream Home

Check, check, and check. Use this checklist for a smooth homebuying process.

March 26, 2024 at 2:40 PM PST

Buying a new home is quite the emotional rollercoaster. You might be bubbling with excitement for a fresh start, feeling proud of hitting this major milestone, or even a tad nervous because, well, where do you even begin? There’s a laundry list of things to consider before taking the plunge into homeownership. But don’t worry—you can ease some of that stress by sticking to a homebuyer checklist. This handy tool ensures you stay on track every step of the way. And if you’re feeling a bit lost, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with one that we carefully curated. From setting your budget to jotting down your dream features, everything you need is right here for a smooth journey ahead.

Preparing to Become a Homeowner

Before you get started with your checklist, you should be confident in your decision to pursue a goal as big as this one. So ask yourself, are you really ready to be a homeowner? This means having a stable job and bringing in income that can support the expenses of a home, but it doesn’t stop there. Being emotionally ready to take on all that comes with a home is just as important.  Additionally, think about your other goals set for the next couple of years.

Do you see yourself relocating sooner rather than later? Buying with a partner? Starting a family? These are all things you should consider to make sure that buying a home right now is the best move for you to make.

Get your finances in order.

Buying a home will be the biggest financial decision you make. That said, review your finances, save, budget, and make sure everything is aligned. You’ll also want to check your credit score. A high score means a lower interest rate.

Photo credit: Karolina Grabowski

Find a mortgage lender. Then get pre-approved.

Knowing what you can comfortably afford is key before diving into homeownership. Mortgage lenders will only offer you a loan that fits within your monthly budget. Having a handle on your finances lets you narrow down your home search quicker. Take some time to check out different lenders and make sure they have the loan options you’re looking for.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage gives you the real numbers. It helps you see what loans you could get approved for, along with interest rates and more. During this process, lenders will check out your credit score, income, and assets to give you a clearer idea of where you stand financially.

Get a real estate professional.

The homebuying process is a lot to handle, especially on your own. The process should be generally worry-free and exciting. Investing in a real estate agent will make things much easier for you. From providing support and guidance to negotiating with sellers and studying the property listings, having someone who has your best interest will make a huge difference.

Photo credit: Pavel Danilyuk

Create a wishlist.

Now that all the important things are taken care of, you can breathe a little and have some (more) fun. Envision your home in the way that best reflects and suits you. What does that look like? What qualities does the home have? Your wishlist should include those must-have factors that you can’t live without. When creating your wishlist, consider things like location, the number of bedrooms, whether or not there’s yard space, or if the home is move-in ready or a fixer-upper.

Begin house shopping.

Now for the fun part. With your pre-approval, you can start house hunting for homes within your budget. You may come across “for sale” signs in some of your favorite neighborhoods, but keep in mind many listings will also be listed virtually. You can use databases to help find your forever home. Filter your search based on price, number of bedrooms, special features, and more.

Conduct an appraisal and home inspection.

Appraisals and home inspections are important. Appraisals help you understand the starting value of your home or how much it’s worth. During the home inspection, you’ll be able to see a little further into the inner workings of the home. Many things like the electrical system, plumbing, and others will be tested.

Make an offer.

Once you’ve found the home that’s right for you, make an offer! The seller will either accept, reject, or offer a counteroffer. Discuss comparable sales with your real estate agent and get their help with the decision-making process.


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