The Ultimate Checklist for Buying a Home

The Ultimate Checklist for Buying a Home
The Ultimate Checklist for Buying a HomeWhether you’ve owned your home for the last 20 years or whether you’re about to be a first-time homeowner, buying a new home is both incredibly exciting and incredibly stressful. You’re trying to find a place in your budget in the area you want to live. Added to that, of course, you also want to make sure that you can see yourself living there for (hopefully) a long time.

Trust me, we understand the stress that the entire process can cause. That’s why we created this checklist to make the entire process go a little more smoothly… and to make sure you don’t forget anything and experience any unwelcome surprises later! If your not quite ready but want to search around, sign up for listing alerts at You can search ALL available homes in the Tampa Bay area here. Get to know the market. When you are ready, give us a call. In the mean time, read on…..

1. Get your financials in order.
Before you contact a real estate agent and look at homes, it’s a good idea to get your finances in order. Request a credit report and check it for accuracy. This is also a great time to gather all of the documents that you’ll need to provide a loan officer – including pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns.

2. Decide on a budget.
Do you want a home that’s move-in ready or do you want to find more of a fixer upper? If you do plan to do a lot of remodeling, do you have enough money set aside or will you be able to get a loan that covers the cost of the remodel? These are all important considerations, since you’ll need to be able to give the realtor an idea of how much money you can spend on your house and what, exactly, you’re looking for.

3. Find an agent.
While this may seem like a simple task, it’s actually one of the most important steps in the process. As with any profession, there are some agents that can work miracles… and there are also those that leave something to be desired. Ask them how long they have been in business? Are they full or part time? Google their names and see how good their marketing is? Don’t be afraid to ask for references before you make a final decision. Of course, the Metts Group would love to have the opportunity to sell your home. We are an A+ rated business with the Better Business Bureau. Get to know us, google our name.

4. Start looking for houses.
This is the fun part! Make sure that you’re taking lots of notes on each property you visit. While this may SEEM unnecessary before you start, by the time you’ve seen six or seven different properties, you may have trouble keeping them all straight in your mind! Always keep your top 3 picks in mind. When we get back to the office, your Realtor can do research on these. There are other buyers out there, so follow your Realtors advice on how HOT the property and possible competition is.

5. Make an offer.
A good real estate agent will be able to guide you through this process,  but it’s still important to know what needs to happen at this stage.  Look at the prices of comparable homes in the area that have sold recently. Look at condition & upgrades of those homes… compare apples with apples, and use those prices to determine what your initial offer should be.  Make sure that you are up front about any extras you want included, such as any light figures you want to remain in the home. Also, ask the seller to pay for the home warranty, which will cover the cost of any major repairs that are needed during the first year after closing.

6. Getting a mortgage.
Ask your friends, family or your real estate agent for recommendations for lenders. You’ll want to get quotes from at least three lenders. Ideally, you should pay at least 20 percent of the purchase price down to avoid having to buy private mortgage insurance.

7. Getting an inspection completed.
Find an experienced inspector and request a detailed report in advance. You can expect to pay at least $300 for a general inspection. Make sure you attend the inspection as well, since this is your opportunity to ask questions and learn about the location of different shut-off values and the breaker box. Also ask for a written estimate of all repairs.

8. Have the property appraised.
Your lender will hire a property appraiser in order to determine the value of the home. You’ll also want to shop for title insurance at this time to protect both you and the lender against any liens on the home.

9. Navigate the closing process.
Decide if you want to hire an attorney. While it isn’t necessary, you may want to consider hiring one if the property was in foreclosure. Also make sure you lock in your interest rate 30 to 45 days before you close and ask for a detailed list of closing costs so you can watch for any extra fees that have been added to the bill, such as document preparation. If you find any, you can always request that they be removed. (Hey, it’s worth a shot!)

10. Make the final walk through.
Before closing, go through the house one last time and make sure everything is working. Check that the appliances and outlets are working properly, test all faucets and toilets, and look for signs of mold or vermin. If everything looks good and you’re satisfied, sign the closing docs and call the moving company!