How to Buy a Home in One Year: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s start the new year off right. If you’ve been dreaming of a new home, it’s time to get started. Here’s a month-by-month guide to planning for and buying a new home. It’s about time to set your new year’s resolution, right?

January: Brush Up on Your Market Knowledge

Woman typing on a laptop with a paper pad and pen sitting next to her on the desk.The best way to get started? Brush up on your real estate knowledge. Scour the market with a fine-tooth comb. Check out things like current inventory in your city, average sales prices, and the listing-to-sales-price ratio.

This research will help you familiarize yourself with the market.

February: Address Your Budget

Let’s finalize our budget shall we? The easiest way to do this is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with a lender (let us know if you’d like a recommendation) to review your finances. The lender will go over your financial history, and then let you know what the bank is willing to lend you.

Now you have an idea of what your mortgage will be and what you can afford in a home.

March: Find Your Perfect Location

A park full of bright trees, each at a different stage in the fall process (one is red, one yellow, and one green).Do some soul searching. Where will you be happiest? Explore locations based on their job market, housing affordability, and overall quality of life. The goal is to narrow down your search to one city.

If you have the means, try to take some time off to go and visit a few cities. Once you find a city, it’s time to narrow your search down even further by pinpointing specific areas or neighborhoods that will best meet your needs.

April: Find the Right Agent

Find the right real estate agent to help you buy a home. Trust us: they’ll save you time, money, and more than a few headaches.

If you need any recommendations, let us know. We have more than a few ideas.

May: Define Your Dream Home

Luxurious living room with winding staircase, bright furniture, and hanging light fixtures.Now is the fun part! Start putting together a list of everything you want in your dream home. We recommend starting by defining your “must-have” features. Think of the things in your home you can’t live without. That’s a great place to start.

It’s also important to know the difference between “must-have” (i.e. you need 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) and “nice-to-haves” (it would be nice to have granite countertops but you can also live without them.)

June-July: Begin Searching

Use a handy home search tool like ours to begin browsing homes for sale in your target area. Once you find a home that you like, it’s time to schedule a tour.

Private home tours are often better than traditional open houses because you have more time to walk through the home, without the pressure of competing with other potential buyers.

At some point in your home-search journey, you’re likely to come across at least one home that calls your name.

August: Fall in Love and Make an Offer

Bright dining room with hardwood floor, small black table, modern decor, and a ceiling fan.You’ve found the one; now make an offer!

Work closely with your agent to compare recently sold homes in the area and craft the perfect offer.

Ask your agent for their advice—like whether or not they think the price is right for this home, as well as what other contingencies you might want to include in your offer. This is when your real estate agent will prove truly valuable: they’ll be able to provide useful insight in order to help you get the home of your dreams for the best possible price.

September: Schedule All the Things

Let’s get down to business. It’s time to negotiate with the seller, schedule an inspection, have your real estate agent complete any renegotiations (based on that inspection), and get the home appraised by a professional.

You’ll also have to take care of some more paperwork to finalize your mortgage loan.

October – December: Let’s Start Closing

Two adults reaching over a table to shake hands.Next, you’ll start the closing process.

Buckle up, because we’re in it for the long haul! Here’s where you’ll finalize your mortgage approval (this requires a ton of paperwork) and meet with an attorney to set closing dates and sign paperwork prior to closing. This is also the time when you’ll review closing fees and the exact monthly costs for your home.

At the end of it all comes the close. You’ll pay the remaining closing fees, sign all the paperwork, and collect your keys Congratulations! You just bought a home.

Ready to Begin?

We’re ready to help. Give us a call today to get started.

About Walter Burns

Walter Burns is a licensed New Jersey Realtor since 2002 and he specializes in luxury living in the hottest New York Metro area communities including the prestigious New Jersey Hudson River waterfront areas of Hoboken, Jersey City, Bayonne, Union City, Weehawken, West New York, Guttenberg, North Bergen, Cliffside Park, Edgewater, and Fort Lee. Walter's mission, desire, and goal is to assist all parties in accomplishing their real estate goals, as well as to empower his clients through exceptional service, creating extraordinary results. Having been mentored by several of the top 100 Realtors and Developers in the United States and Canada, he graduated from Rowan University and currently resides in Hoboken. Walter is part of Weichert Realtors, the largest privately owned real estate firm in the world. NJAR Circle of Excellence Sales Award, 2009, 2010, 2011. Google

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