So you’re thinking of buying a house? Congratulations! Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your life. It’s important to be well-informed and understand the process before you start looking for houses. In this blog post, we will outline everything you need to know about the timeline for buying a house. We’ll discuss each step of the process and give you some tips on how to prepare yourself along the way. Let’s get started!
Get Pre-Qualified for a Mortgage
- This is a great place to start to see how much mortgage you may be able to afford. Use our Mortgage Affordability Calculator to get an idea.
Go to Open Houses
- This is a great time to casually look at homes and see what’s out there in your range. Use this house hunting checklist to search smart.
5 Years Out: Get a good credit rating
- A good credit score can save you thousands in interest in the form of a lower interest rate. Check out your credit rating for free at Credit Karma. You should aim to have a score of 700 or higher.
3 Years Out: Start Saving Your Down Payment
- Your down payment can take a few months or a few years to save up. Here is how you can save up for a down payment.
- Start saving for a down payment
- It’s recommended that you save at least 20% of the purchase price for your down payment. If you don’t have this saved up yet, start budgeting and setting money aside each month so you can reach your goal in time.
- Check your debt-to-income ratio
- Your debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your monthly income that goes towards paying off debts. You want this number to be as low as possible so you can qualify for a mortgage. Try to pay down any high-interest debt and make extra payments on your student loans before applying for a mortgage.
1-3 Years out
Find Neighborhoods You Like
- Start looking for neighborhoods you can afford and start to see which houses are in your price range.
5 Months Out
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
- Get approved for a final mortgage amount (see difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved mortgages). You can do this with an online mortgage broker such as Lending Tree.
3 months out
Pick a Real Estate Agent
- Around now you can interview real estate agents and pick one that is a good fit. Here’s how to find a good real estate agent.
2 Months Out
Start Putting Offers On Houses
- Once you put in an offer you will be setting a possession date.
6 Weeks Out
- Once your offer is approved things kick into a new gear!
Book Home Inspection and Valuation
- The home inspector will spot any issues and the bank will send an evaluator.
Get Documents To Lawyer
- Once your offer is approved things kick into overdrive!
4 weeks out
- Moving day will be here soon. Get your home essentials checklist and start packing for the move to a new house!
1 Week Out
Organize your move
- Get all your friends lined up and ready to help you move. Check out our moving day essentials for more help.
- Get the keys. Pack up the trucks and move in!
Finally! Enjoy Your New Home
- You’ve made it! Enjoy your first of many nights in your new home!