How to Buy a Home

A Step-by-Step Guide

Buying a new home is an involved process that might take a lot of effort, but here are some ways you can simplify the process.


1. Get a feel for the market

Learn all you can about the available properties in your area. Look at prices in the neighborhoods you’re interested in and note how long houses stay on the market. Are prices going up or down? How many available houses are there?

2. Figure out how much you can afford

Ideally you’ll be able to make a down payment of at least a 20% on your new home (anything less and you’ll need private mortgage insurance). Your credit score makes a big difference too, so pay down your debt and do everything you can to raise it before going on to the next step.

In general, you should look for a property that costs no more than three to five times your yearly household income. This affordability calculator can help you figure out your price range.

3. Get prequalified and preapproved for your loan

Getting prequalified means your lender tells you how big a loan you might get based on preliminary financial information. It’s a good ballpark figure (so you’ll know how much house you can afford), but you’re not preapproved until you’ve shown your documents (W2s, bank statements, etc.). Having your preapproval in hand when you make an offer is a fantastic selling point that makes you stand out from other bids, since the seller knows it won’t fall through at the last minute.

4. Pick a good realtor

Our realtors are some of the best in the business. We have experience in every neighborhood in San Diego and we’ll be able to guide you through the home buying process, match you up with the right seller, and take a lot of the paperwork off your hands. We can also offer suggestions for the best mortgage lender if you don’t have one already picked out.

5. Find your new home and make an offer

Narrow down the things you’re really looking for – what are your rock-bottom requirements? Good schools and a big backyard? A great kitchen? Make sure you check all the details, too. Our home survey will help you cover all the bases.

Once you’ve found the house you want your real estate agent will help you make an offer that’s fair to both of you.

6. Get the house inspected

Finalizing the sale is usually conditional on the home inspection. The inspector will check the structural integrity of the house, and how it compares with other houses in the immediate neighborhood. If anything comes out in the inspection then you can alter or back out of your agreement with the seller, or demand that they fix it before you close the sale.

7. Arrange for your mortgage loan

Our realtors will help set you up with a mortgage banker who’ll work with you to choose the appropriate loan for your situation. We’ll consider every variable and work together to get the best terms and the loan for you.

8. Close the sale

Your realtor and lender will take care of the final details, such as having the house appraised and coordinating the paperwork. You’ll sign everything and wait a few days for the loan to be funded. Once the seller takes possession of the check, you’ll be the proud owner of your new house. Congratulations!