Home ownership is a wonderful feeling, but the process of becoming a homeowner can be stressful. Many people have no idea where to start when it comes to buying a home which can leave a potential homeowner feeling frazzled!

Here are 10 easy steps to buying a home and what to expect:

  1. Decide on the area(s) you want to live in. Make sure to take into consideration schools, employment opportunities, crime rate, and the vicinity of any features you may want such as shopping or recreational activities.
  2. Shop for a mortgage lender. Make sure to choose one that not only has a great rate but that you feel you “click” with. You shouldn’t base your decision on rates alone.
  3. Get pre-approved for a loan. It’s important to note that you should get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified, as there is a difference. Being pre-qualified just means the loan officer pre-approved you based on what you verbally provided; while pre-qualified means they have proof of your income, debt, and expenses.
  4. Find a realtor that is a buyer’s agent. It’s important to have a buyer’s agent during the home-buying process. Best of all, it’s free to the buyer! A buyer’s agent according to realtor.com is a realtor who works to negotiate the best terms and price for the buyer.
  5. Search for a home. Armed with your pre-approved status, budgeted amount and list of wants your realtor can begin showing your houses that fit those requirements.
  6. Make an offer and wait for acceptance or rejection by the seller. This tends to be the most stressful time for most buyers.
  7. Home inspection and appraisal.  done on the property. Depending on the outcome of either, you may need to renegotiate with the seller or you will move forward with the loan process.
  8. Underwriting. After all the negotiations are complete and the appraisal and inspection have come back, your loan will be sent to underwriting. It is very important during this time that you respond immediately to your lender’s requests for additional information and well as maintain your current credit profile. This means do not open any new lines of credit, charge items to your current credit cards, or close any accounts.
  9. Obtain Homeowners Insurance. Once your loan has been secured, you will want to obtain insurance for your new home so that when it comes time to close, your home will be immediately insured.
  10. Closing. The final step is closing on your home. It’s important to remember to bring your contract, proof of insurance, identification, checkbook, and any other items your lender or realtor has told you to bring. You will then sign a mound of paperwork, pay any closing costs or other fees, and obtain keys to your new home!

Congratulations! You are now a homeowner!