Buy your first home on time.
There is no magic formula for first time home buyers. There are, however, some general guidelines on how the process should go. Of course all these things can change or vary depending on the type of housing market you’re looking in. An active market might compress your timeline (act a bit faster) but in a slower market, you may be able to take a bit more time. Regardless, here is a basic timeline for first time home buyers.
3-4 months prior to preferred move date
At this beginning stage of the home search, you should be doing some serious background work:
- Make a checklist of your wants and needs for a home, including location and features.
- Mortgage pre-approval process is imperative. The sooner you get your finances in order the better! You’ll have a clear idea of what your budget is and be in a better position to make an offer and close in a timely fashion.
- Finding an agent important at this stage of your search. Find a Realtor you can trust and communicate well with. Make sure they know the market you’re interested in living in someday. Ask friends for referrals or visit open houses to meet agents in the area.
- The fun starts with house shopping! This is when you quickly figure out favorite neighborhoods, styles of homes and things you are willing to compromise on…and things you’re aren’t.
2-3 months out
- You’re still shopping at this point, but soon you’ll be finding a home you’re interested in purchasing. With the advice of your licensed Realtor, write up an offer and begin negotiations.
- Once you have a negotiated price, get an inspection by a qualified home inspector and make any repair arrangements with the homeowners to finalize the contract.
- Make your closing arrangements.
- Give your moving notice (if necessary) at your current residence.
3-6 weeks from closing
- Make your moving arrangements. Start to pack non-essentials, request changes in utilities and plan for an address change. Arrange for any school transcripts or transfers.
- Monitor the mortgage process and be in contact with your agent and any other mortgage officials to be sure everything is on track for the closing date.
2 weeks to closing…it’s crunch time
- Check and double-check everything is in order for closing and your move. Make sure all your documents are in order and ready to go.
- Finish up your packing and enlist friends to help on move-in day!
- Sign all the appropriate documents at closing and then pick up your keys. Now you can celebrate!
Congratulations – you’re a new homeowner!
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.