Whether you’re a first-time buyer, you’re new to new construction, or you simply haven’t bought a home in years, we’d like to demystify the process for you! Here are the first steps involved in making a new home purchase.
- Save for a down payment
It may be the first step when buying any home, yet many people don’t know how much to save for a down payment. When Richmond American conducted a focus group study, we found that current renters were either under or overestimating how much money they would need to purchase a home. To your best estimate, research home prices and estimated monthly payments in your area. Then research loans. This article on saving for a down payment is a good place to start.
- Focus on healthy credit
Your credit score is one of the most important elements for qualifying for a mortgage. In the years and months before you plan to purchase a new home, there are measures you can take to get your credit on track. Be sure to check out this article on 5 Ways to Help Maintain (or Improve) Your Credit Score.
- Get prequalified
Before you get your heart set on a particular new home in a particular neighborhood, get prequalified with a mortgage company. The last thing you want is to have to adjust your expectations after falling in love with the perfect model home. If you don’t have a loan officer, we recommend contacting our affiliate lender, HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation.
- Do your homework
Gone are the days when real estate agents simply set up touring appointments without input from their clients. Be in the know! When you’re buying from a new home builder, we recommend going to the builder’s website in addition to a real estate website such as Zillow or Trulia. The builder’s site will provide information on model homes, available homesites and more. Get the scoop on builder websites here.
- Find a neighborhood
When you visit a builder’s website, one of the main differences you may find from other real estate sites is that search results tend to list communities, not homes. At Richmond American, we believe that you’re purchasing more than four walls and a roof. You’re buying into the lifestyle of the area. When shopping new homes, you may have to use your imagination to envision what life can be like in a neighborhood that is still under construction. Be sure to note planned parks and trails, community amenities and access to local shopping and dining.
- Tour model homes
If you’ve purchased a resale home, you’ve most likely toured homes with a real estate agent. For many buyers, it can be hard to get past stained carpeting and unattractive paint color selections to evaluate a resale home’s true potential. Not with new homes! Model homes are usually staged to help you envision your life in the space. If there isn’t a model home of the floor plan you like at a community, be sure to ask if the plan is modeled at another community nearby! And check out these tips for a smooth model home tour.
- Select a floor plan or home (and possibly a homesite!)
Not every new home buying experience is created equal. Many builders accommodate homebuyers with a wide range of moving timelines. For example, if you decide to build from the ground up, some builders may allow you to select a floor plan and then choose a homesite. You’ll watch the home be built from start to finish and you’ll select items like cabinetry and flooring. However, if you choose a quick move-in home, that home may already be built or mostly built. In this case, all you have to do is sign the papers!
That’s it! If you’re ready to do your house hunting homework, you can start your search here.