1. What should I know before starting the homebuying process?

While buying a home requires a lot of time, money, knowledge and help, it doesn’t need to be complicated! Keep reading to lay the foundation for a smooth and successful homebuying experience.

Know the order of events

Most real estate transactions in NWA follow the same basic sequence of events. However, for a new homebuyer, they’re not always intuitive.

The secret to making your home purchase smooth and successful? Doing things in order.

So many homebuyers want to start their home buying experience by touring homes, lots and lots of them (after all, that’s the fun part, right?), only to find out that tours are reserved for serious lookers – those who have a preapproval letter in hand, a singular agent, and have narrowed their search to 5-10 homes total.

Alternatively, a homebuyer may scour online listings for months waiting for their dream home to pop up. But, when it does, they find themselves four steps behind other buyers and in no position to compete.

Therefore, as you move through this guide, you’ll discover and understand why financing is the second step and (spoiler alert!) touring homes is fifth. Remember, the home buying order of events is set up to protect you from making mistakes, whether those complications be financial, legal or simply save you from a bit of embarrassment down the line.

So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and take some time to read through this guide in its entirety. Review everything, from the documents you’ll be asked to produce and sign to what you’ll bring to the closing table.

This is an exciting journey! Familiarizing yourself with the process ahead of time will give you the greatest buying power when it’s time to purchase your new home.

How recent industry changes affect your buyer experience

Technological advances have changed the way real estate is practiced today. Therefore, the process of buying a home looks very different than it did many years ago. For example, consumers today often have less face time with their agents which means that more and more responsibility is placed on consumers, like you, to ask questions or know what you’re doing.

Fortunately, you have access to resources, like this site, to help you self- educate better than ever before.

How to prepare

  1. Do your Homework. Knowledge is power. Visit Real Estate 101 to familiarize yourself with the NWA market and the ropes of real estate. Get definitions to new real estate terms and concepts. Learn the basics of how the industry works, understand how property ownership is transferred, and gain insight to the unwritten buyer etiquette rules you’ll want to follow.

This is also the time to get out and about. Explore the various towns and neighborhoods of NWA, drive roads at various times of day to familiarize yourself with traffic patterns, and research school districts. All of this will help you set priorities and search for homes later in the process.

  1. Set your focus. Consider the reasons why you want to move. What’s

motivating you to make the purchase of a home a top priority in your life? Buying a home can be stressful and emotional at times so focusing on your reason (your goal that makes all this hassle worthwhile) throughout the journey will enable you to proceed with

confidence and make wise decisions that coincide with what’s best for you and your family.

  1. Evaluate your personal situation. Buying a home requires a lot of time – time to research, tour homes, hire an agent and inspectors, sign a multitude of documents and move in, to name just a few.

Have you set realistic expectations on how the process will affect your time, your pocketbook, your weekends and your family? Is everyone involved mentally and emotionally on the same page regarding the purchase of a home? Do we need a worksheet for readiness here?

  1. Will you need to sell a house first (expand?) – go to selling a home

guide first, talk about contingencies and what to evaluate before entering the buying process.

  1. Get financially ready. Purchasing a house is one of the largest

financial decisions you’ll make in your lifetime, in fact for many people is it a positive financial investment. However ,you’ll need your finances in order before your lender will approve you for a loan (List these instead?), and there are many costs associated with the purchase of the home and homeownership to consider as well.

To get an idea of the overall investment you need to consider and budget for the following: Down payment: Although it’s a myth that you need to put 20% down on a house, most loans do require a certain percentage of the loan amount to be paid at closing. Closing costs: Paid at the close of the real estate transaction, your closing costs will include fees associated with the purchase of the home. Use our Closing Cost Calculator to get an idea of what your closing costs could be. Mortgage payment: Your mortgage payment is a regularly scheduled payment that includes the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments you owe for your home. Use our Mortgage Payment Calculator to see what your monthly mortgage payment could be.

Moving expenses: Don’t forget about the fees that often accrue from moving into your new home. Perhaps you need to hire help move your furnishings in, or buy new furnishings to fir your new space? Rekey the doors? Or clean and paint a little to make the home your own? Ongoing home maintenance: When purchasing a home, keeping the cost of maintenance in mind will help you set realistic expectations of what you can afford. Consider the home’s age, condition and needed repairs when estimating how much it will cost each month to maintain (in addition to your monthly mortgage payment). Our handy Homebuyer’s Budget worksheet can help.

Decide to move

You’ve weighed your reasons, evaluated the costs and determined that buying a home is the right decision for you and your family. Congratulations! You’ve graduated from a casual home shopper to an active home buyer.

Now it’s time to find a lender and secure some purchasing power! Let’s get started with Step 2…