Whether you're upgrading to a luxury, single-family home in Greenwich or securing your first NYC or Boston condo, the home buying process is equal parts exhilarating and challenging.
However, knowing where to start and what comes next can make finding your next home surprisingly straightforward. Let's jump into the five critical steps to buying a home.
Engage a Realtor
Teaming up with an experienced real estate agent will simplify the homebuying process considerably. From identifying homes and the vendors you'll need to work with (such as lenders and inspectors) to assist with the offer, inspection, and closing process, your realtor will guide you every step of the way.
Seek an agent you communicate well with who specializes in the neighborhoods and home types that interest you.
Understand Your Finances
Verify your credit score. Determine if you have enough money on hand to cover between a 10% and 15% down payment—or 20% if you want to avoid paying PMI—and cushion enough to cover any emergency expenses.
Next, create a home-buying budget and stick to it. Your front-end budget should include the down payment, appraisal fees, inspection fees, closing costs and moving expenses.
The actual home-owning budget needs to cover the mortgage payment, insurance, property taxes, utilities and ongoing maintenance. If applicable, include PMI and HOA dues, as well. Be mindful that the larger the home—and the better the neighborhood—the more significant your budget. Whatever your numbers, commit to not overextending yourself.
Determine Your Needs
Once you're ready to move forward—and keeping your budget in mind—create a list of what you want and need from your new home. Unless you're building custom, realize you may not land a home that fulfills your entire wishlist. Know where you're willing to compromise (and where you're not).
Focus on the homes and locations that best suit your lifestyle. Once you set your parameters, the remainder of the home search process is reasonably straightforward.
Pre-approval for a loan lets you make offers on homes with the full backing of your lender. It also signals to sellers you're ready to buy, a massive plus in a competitive market.
Although your Realtor may recommend a few possible lenders, shop around for lenders with the best rates and services that match your particular needs. Choosing the right one has the potential to save you thousands of dollars throughout your loan.
Search for Homes, Make an Offer, Close the Deal
Once you get to this point, the fun and excitement of a new home purchase begin. Your Realtor will show you homes that most closely match your requirements and budget.
Once you find a home you love, make a strong and competitive offer you're comfortable with and won't regret later on (a common occurrence in a seller's market). Don't end up with keys to a home you have little confidence in two, three, five, or ten years from now. Assuming the house passes inspection—and you should always opt for an inspection—you're ready to close the deal.
If you're ready to explore the best of Greenwich real estate and need a trusted partner to help sell your current home and secure your next residence, contact Mia Simonsen today. From homes in New York to Boston (and, of course, Greenwich in between), allow Mia's years of experience and expertise to be your guide on your real estate journey.