How to Buy a Home

Buying a home is a major life milestone, and one to be celebrated. It can also, unfortunately, be a very complex, overwhelming, and daunting process. You might not even know where to begin. Below is a breakdown of the basics of home buying.


1. How Much Can You Afford?

Before you start looking at listings and falling in love with properties, you must determine your budget. In addition to your income, you will need to take into consideration your expected mortgage interest rate, utility costs, and other monthly expenses.

You might consider getting pre-approved for a loan. Buyers will be more motivated to sell to you if you have this evidence that a lender is willing to provide you with financing. Keep in mind that your lender will likely require a report from a Jacksonville appraiser before closing.


2. Know Your Rights

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends that you have a strong understanding of your rights as a homebuyer. You can visit their website to read about the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, fair housing laws, predatory lending regulations, as well as other legalities that might affect your rights.


3. Explore Home Buying Assistance Programs

If you are unable to receive a pre-approved mortgage from a conventional lender, there are government-backed programs that make it easier for more people to access the financing they need to buy a home.

Among the most commonly used financial tools of this kind are FHA loans, which are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, making them much less risky for lenders to approve. The credit requirements are fairly lenient, but the FHA will need a Jacksonville appraiser to ensure that the property you are purchasing meets their minimum health and safety standards.


4. Finding the Right Home

When searching for the right home, it is best to first make a list of all of the features that are most important to you, from the number of bedrooms to the schools that are nearby. You can then search on your own, or with the help of a real estate broker to find the property that fits your needs.


5. Make an Offer and Begin the Closing Process

After you have received satisfactory reports from a Jacksonville appraiser and home inspector, you are ready to make an offer. If the buyer accepts your bid, you can begin signing the necessary paperwork and start the closing process.