If you’ve never experienced the home buying process, it can seem overwhelming. There are a number of steps you have to take before you can pack your boxes and start the next chapter of your life. If you understand the key steps you’ll have to take before you even start your home search, you’ll be prepared for any potential roadblocks you might face along the way.

At Patrons Oxford, we understand how stressful the process can be and we’re here to help. Whether you’re ready to buy your first home now or just thinking about it, we’ve put together a checklist to help you along the way.

#1. Set a budget 

The first step in the home-buying process is to determine your budget and to make a realistic savings plan for your down payment. You also need to factor in the closing costs, realtor fees, and additional expenses for home repairs, moving and unexpected maintenance costs. Before you even begin looking at homes, you’ll need to decide on your price range and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much house can I afford?
  • Am I going to take out a loan?
  • How much do I have saved for a down payment?
  • Can I afford my desired neighborhood?

#2. Get pre-approved
Now that you’ve determined your budget, start looking for a mortgage lender with a good reputation and timely closings. How much the lender will give you to purchase your first home will be dependent on factors such as your monthly income, debt, credit score, and profession. During this time, you can also secure your financing options and to make sure you’ll be able to afford your monthly mortgage payments.

#3. Find a realtor

Find a professional real estate agent who is an expert in the market and area you are considering to buy in. Throughout the whole process of financing, inspections, showings, and negotiating, a real estate agent will help you navigate your search and ensure you’re on track. Your realtor will help you set priorities and make an informed decision when it comes time to make an offer on your dream home. 

#4. Begin your search 

Set a list of amenities you want your ideal home to have and prioritize them from must-haves to nice-to-haves. For example, do you want to be near a local hiking trail or nearby lake? This will help you narrow down your search and weed out homes that may not be right for you and your needs. Your realtor can help you set up times to visit and tour the homes in-person or virtually. 

#6. Make an offer

Once you find your perfect home — make an offer. Your realtor will help you put this together and can guide you on what price makes sense for you. If your offer is accepted you can move on to the next step and if not, you’ll resume your search until you find the right match.

#7. Schedule an inspection

This essential step will help you identify any major underlying issues with the home that may not be visible to the eye or disclosed by the seller. Should you find a problem and the sale was contingent on the inspection, you’ll be able to renegotiate or pull out of the sale entirely. Typically, the inspection should be completed within one week of the offer being accepted.

#8 Purchase a homeowners insurance policy

Now that you have your home — protect it. Before you close, you’ll have to provide proof of an insurance policy. Your existing agent can help you open a new policy or you shop around to find a policy that works best for you. Your coverage will protect you from damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. So when you’re entertaining during your housewarming party, you can have some peace of mind that your home insurance policy will cover you in the event of someone being injured or something being damaged. 

#9 Close and prepare for your move

Once all the steps above are completed, you can close on your home and prepare for your move. This includes finding a moving company, looking at furniture, and setting a move-in date

We hope this checklist helps you throughout the home buying process. Visit our website to find an agent near you who is ready to answer all your insurance questions. https://patrons.com/find-agent.htm