Home purchase decisions are some of the biggest financial decisions of your lifetime, from first-timers to experienced property owners alike. There are a variety of considerations that will impact this important financial commitment.

Before making a commitment to buying a home, it is important to assess your financial stability and ability to manage monthly mortgage costs as well as closing costs that could range from 2% – 6% of the purchase price.

Getting preapproved for a mortgage

Early mortgage preapproval can give you an edge in the home-buying race and help secure your borrowing power. Furthermore, preapproval processes differ among lenders but usually consist of submitting an online loan application and financial documents for review.

Preapproval requires verifying income and financial data as well as performing a credit check. Once an underwriter reviews your file, you’ll receive a mortgage preapproval letter that shows home sellers and real estate agents that you are serious buyers; it will include specific loan amount information as well as monthly mortgage payment estimates ranging between 30 – 90 days depending on the lender.


Preapproval can be done online, in-person, or over the phone; however, mortgage lenders can only grant it if you meet their borrower guidelines – for instance having sufficient income to cover both your mortgage payment and any debt payments; having sufficient savings; as well as enough for a down payment – making sure all obligations have been taken care of is also considered by lenders when preapproving you for mortgage financing. Taking on new debt or increasing credit card balances before beginning this process could delay it considerably.

Mortgage underwriting depends heavily on your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which measures what percentage of your income you dedicate towards repaying other debts such as credit cards, car loans, and student loans. Your DTI should ideally fall below 36 percent; otherwise, it is unlikely you will be approved for a mortgage.

Once your preapproval process is complete, you should be prepared to start shopping for a home. Your preapproval will help establish your budget and compare prices between lenders. Find one offering competitive rates and fees; it might even pay to pit them against each other!

Shopping for a home

Home buying can be one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions most of us ever make, yet understanding all of its steps can make the experience less intimidating and more enjoyable. From getting preapproved for a mortgage loan to finding the ideal property and making offers. For first-time buyers there may also be special programs available from national and state organizations to assist.


Setting realistic expectations when home shopping can help prevent disappointment by the process. Consider what features are necessary, nice-to-haves and deal breakers before narrowing your search to homes that match both your needs and budget. Without clear expectations in place, home hunting could turn out to be disappointing experience.

Home buying can be an extensive and frustrating process, but patience should always be your mantra. Maintaining a good rapport with your real estate agent and staying on top of finances should make for an easier journey. Finding a trustworthy lender who provides a wide variety of competitive loan products with impeccable customer service should help smooth things over. A dependable lender should provide quick responses when asked questions as well as provide you with an accurate loan estimate so there won’t be any unexpected surprises when closing on a new property!

Once you find a home that fits your criteria, submit a written offer to the seller along with all required paperwork. If they accept it, escrow will open and you will need to provide a good faith deposit and conduct a home inspection prior to closing on the sale. Throughout escrow it’s important that you remain calm by asking your lender any questions that arise – doing this can avoid last minute surprises that might delay or lose you your earnest money deposit.

Buying a home? Time to make an offer on a home

Once you’ve found the home that satisfies all of your criteria, it’s time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will draft a purchase contract and present it to the seller’s representative; this document includes price, closing date and any special conditions you wish to add if accepted by them. Once accepted by them, this binding contract becomes official.

Your agent can help you set a price that falls both within your budget and market value. They’ll use comparable sales data and factor in special features of the property when setting the fair market price for you offer. In competitive markets, however, the final offer price could depend on how many other buyers are interested.

In a competitive real estate market, it’s essential that your offer be as compelling as possible. This may involve offering more earnest money or notifying sellers that you have loan pre-qualification – both will show that you are serious about buying their property rather than simply browsing around.

Some states allow you to include a contingency clause that gives you an out from purchasing, such as an appraisal or inspection report, should certain conditions not be fulfilled. This provides protection in case your opinion changes about a property while also giving more time for research before making a final decision.

Location is also an essential consideration. If you plan to commute, be sure that the property is close enough for easy access to work every day, while taking into account proximity of schools and public transit as well. Don’t forget to explore your neighborhood by talking with neighbors!

Make an emotional appeal: Sellers tend to be emotionally attached to their homes, so making an emotional appeal is vitally important. If possible, write a personal letter thanking the seller and expressing how much you would enjoy living there yourself – this will show them you care about their property while perhaps changing their decision!

Negotiating the purchase

Home purchasing can be one of the largest financial decisions of your lifetime, so it is essential to work with an experienced real estate agent and have a full understanding of the mortgage process. Before beginning to look for homes, take time to assess your financial situation and save enough for at least six months’ expenses so as to prevent overextending yourself and overextending yourself financially. Once you find the home of your dreams, negotiate an offer based on comparable homes in your neighborhood based on comparable values before entering escrow – an extended process during which all remaining steps will be completed – to complete this journey to ownership!

When purchasing a home, it can be helpful to have your real estate agent perform an analysis of comparable sales and current market trends. This will give you a good sense of what to offer the seller as well as avoid bidding wars which can be exhausting for both parties involved.


Another way to secure a better price is to ask the seller to cover your closing costs. These expenses could include things such as an appraisal and title search to verify ownership as well as private mortgage insurance or piggyback loan if your down payment falls below 20%. If they refuse, it may be wiser for you to walk away.

Negotiate with the seller regarding improvements that need to be completed after you move in. For instance, ask them to install or replace roof or heating systems at an affordable cost, giving you your dream home at an even more manageable cost. This could help get it to you faster.

Once a mutually agreed-upon price is reached, you’ll submit an offer in writing to the seller’s listing agent who will review and respond to it. When both sides accept its terms, you’ll complete a home inspection before finalizing mortgage paperwork for final close of escrow.