Do Your Research (And Be Realistic)
Set yourself up for success by setting realistic expectations for yourself and the process. Put together a list of features your new home must have (specific location, certain number of bedrooms, minimum square footage, etc), and then put together a separate list of the features you would like your home to have (such as vaulted ceilings or a wood-burning fireplace). This will help you get your priorities in order and stay focused on your home search.
Find The Right Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent will be your best friend throughout the entire home buying process, and it's important to find one who has experience working with buyers in your position. Ask about prior experience, check references, and - most importantly - choose the agent who "feels right." While it's important to remain as logical as possible, buying a home is always an emotional experience and it's crucial to find an agent you like and trust.
Know How Much You Can Afford
Looking at homes outside of your budget is the quickest way to set yourself up for disappointment. Instead, take a hard look at how much you will be able to provide for a down payment and what subsequent monthly payments you will be able to afford. Remember that the price of the home is only part of the picture - the interest rate on your mortgage loan will greatly influence the affordability of your home.
Shop Around For Mortgage Options
Talk to financial institutions and banks at the Lake of the Ozarks to get a feel for how much house you will truly be able to afford. You will need to provide several financial documents in order to be approved for a mortgage loan (such as W-2s, pay stubs, bank statements, etc), so this is also a good time to begin getting these documents together. Different lenders may offer you different interest rates for the same loan amount, so it's important to do your homework.
Understand The Offer Process
Finding your dream house is only half the battle; once you find a home you love, you have to begin negotiations with the seller. Your real estate agent will be able to help you evaluate the situation and determine what you should offer in order to give it the best chance of being accepted. You will have to rely on your agent's expertise to set you apart from the other buyers who may also be interested in the home.
Get A Home Inspection
The home might look great during your tours, but it's impossible to determine the shape the home is actually in without a professional home inspection. The official inspection report will reveal the actual condition of everything in the home. If the inspection reveals a major problem, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to reach a lower price (if you still want to purchase the home). Ultimately, the inspection will give you confidence that you know exactly what you're buying.
Know What You're Signing
If you have never purchased a home before, you will be amazed at the amount of paperwork that has to be signed at closing. Your real estate agent, title insurance agency, and your Lake of the Ozarks mortgage lender will be able to explain what each of the documents mean. Don't be afraid to ask for additional clarification if necessary!
Owning your own home is a wonderfully rewarding experience. The team at First Bank of the Lake would be honored to help you through the process! Ask us about our competitive mortgage loans at the Lake of the Ozarks today.
First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!
4558 Osage Beach Parkway, Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065