Buying a house in the United States: A step-by-step guide
Buying a house is, for many of us, one of the most important goals in our lives. And is not for less. Having your own home provides security to our loved ones and constitutes the heritage for our families. If you are thinking about giving up renting to buy your own home, but you have doubts about it, we have excellent news for you: it is possible to buy a home in the United States! Take a look at this guide that we have prepared at trompeta.net.
Here you will learn the steps you must follow to buy a house in the US.
1. Determine the type of house you are looking for
It’s impossible to do an efficient search if you don’t know what you want. For this reason, the first step in buying a home is knowing exactly what your needs are. Make a list of your family’s priorities, and consider using the answers to the questions on this form as a starting point. Based on these, define what would be the ideal house for you. This “custom” model will not necessarily be the house you buy, it may not even exist, but it is important that you describe it in as much detail as possible to facilitate the search process.
2. Know the requirements to buy a house
Buying a home is not an easy process, but being prepared could save you a lot of headaches. You do not need the famous «Green card» or any kind of special visa. Having the ITIN is enough. Also, you will have to apply for some type of financing to make the purchase, so it is necessary that you have a good credit history .
3. Start your search
The real estate market in the United States is very competitive. This makes properties sell quickly on most occasions. To speed up the process and not miss out on good opportunities, you can hire the services of a real estate agent. Just make sure the real estate broker is certified by the US government.
In case you decide to search on your own, we suggest you establish a price range so as not to exceed your ability to pay. Once you have the list of desirable features and the amount you are willing to pay, you should start monitoring the neighborhoods that interest you. On the site http://www.city-data.com/ you can find information about schools, average house prices, crime rate, among others.
In the same way, it is advisable to visit the area that interests you because that way you can see the atmosphere of the place. This will also allow you to identify buying opportunities directly on the site.
At the same time, we suggest you start your search online. On Trulia and Zillow you can find houses for sale in the United States without having to pay a subscription. When you find an offer you like, visit the house, go through your list and take photos. In fact, we encourage you to visit as many houses as possible so you can compare before you buy.
4. Evaluate how you are going to pay
Unless you have a large sum of money, you will have to take out a mortgage to buy your home. Before applying for a mortgage loan, check carefully: the interest rate, the closing costs of the loan, the lender’s commissions, the APR (effective annual rate), the term of the loan and the type of interest rate. It is very important that when looking for mortgages you compare all the conditions of the loan, including penalties and extra costs.
Bank mortgage loan
A Home Mortgage Counselor can help you determine the maximum loan amount you could receive for your dream home or apartment. She can offer you a loan pre-approval, which is a written commitment from the lender that tells you, and the prospective seller, exactly what your budget is for a home purchase.
Pre-approval typically requires the following:
- your personal credit history report;
- proof of income;
- the balance of your bank accounts.
The counselor will be able to tell you specifically what you need to present.
What you need to know: Once you receive your personal credit history report, check for any errors. In the event of a credit reporting error, be sure to notify your Mortgage Counselor as well as the appropriate credit bureau immediately so that the error does not have a negative impact on your pre-approval.
Federal economic support programs
Did you know that the US government has programs that can help you buy your home? The Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development offer programs to offer mortgage loans and purchase homes. Learn more here .
5. Submit your offer
When you find a home you like and can afford, ask the seller for a disclosure agreement to find out what’s wrong with the property. After knowing these details you can make an offer. This means that you must send the seller a proposal with the amount you are willing to pay and a clause with the terms of the offer (in some cases it is recommended to include proof of liquidity for the down payment).
If the seller accepts the offer, both you and the seller are obligated to continue with the buying and selling process, unless something specified in the agreed terms occurs. After this, you will need to hire an inspector to check the general conditions of the house: foundation, plumbing, electrical system, etc.
If the inspector finds problems not included in the disclosure agreement, you can renegotiate the price or even cancel the offer. It may also happen that the seller agrees to make arrangements before giving you the house.