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Step-by-step Guide for Home Buyers

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

by Ashley Jantz, REALTOR®

Buying a home can be an exciting but complicated process, and it's important to have a good understanding of the steps involved. Here's a general overview of the home buying process:

  1. Find a real estate agent: A real estate agent can do more than help you find a home that fits your needs and budget. They can also help you navigate the buying process and negotiate with sellers, connecting you with trustworthy resources and partners along the way.

  2. Determine your budget: Ask your real estate agent for recommendations for a few local lenders that you can meet. After choosing which lender you'd like to work with, complete their pre-approval application, so that you know exactly how much you can borrow and determine how much you can afford to spend. This will depend on your income, expenses, and the amount of debt you have.

  3. Find a home: Your real estate agent will help you look for homes that meet your criteria. They may setup a search for you, keep their ear to the ground for upcoming listings, and let you know about upcoming open houses. Your real estate agent can also represent you if you decide to build a new home, so make sure to bring them along if you want to meet any builders.

  4. Make an offer: When you find a home you like, you can make an offer to the seller. Your real estate agent will help you with this process and negotiate on your behalf.

  5. Get a home inspection: Before you finalize the purchase, you'll want to get a home inspection to make sure there are no major problems with the home. This can be as simple as a whole house inspection or you may chose to do additional inspections such as radon, mold, septic, sewer line, etc.

  6. Get homeowner's insurance: You'll need to get homeowner's insurance to protect your investment. Always get at least three quotes and review the differences in coverage to ensure you're getting a great rate and the right amount of coverage.

  7. Close the deal: Once the inspection is complete, any necessary repairs have been made, and the appraisal is back confirming the value of your investment, you can close on the home. This will involve signing a lot of paperwork and paying closing costs.

  8. Move in: Congratulations, you're now a homeowner! You can start moving into your new home and enjoy your new space. In Nebraska and Iowa, it is common for buyers to gain possession of their new home the same day they close.

Of course, this is just a general overview of the home buying process, and there may be additional steps or considerations depending on your specific situation. It's always a good idea to work with experienced professionals, such as a real estate agent, lender, appraiser, home inspector, and insurance agent to ensure a smooth and successful home buying experience.

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