Texas Living

Moving Checklist: How to Buy Your Dream Home

By Abi Grise 3.18.19

Home, home on the market. There’s a lot that goes into the decision to buy or sell a home. From finances and paperwork to inspections and negotiations — oh yeah, and finding that perfect place — the process can seem overwhelming for first-time buyers. But take it one step at a time and you’ll find yourself moving closer and closer to, well, moving.

Complete this moving checklist for a stress-free (OK, nearly stress-free) home buying process.

Get Your Finances in Order

Your moving checklist begins with you becoming financially ready to buy.

  • Raise your credit score. Typically, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate on your mortgage. Pay off your credit cards and set up automatic debits for student loans or car payments.
  • Calculate how much house you can afford. Roll your mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance costs into your budget.
  • Save, save, save. The bigger the down payment on your house, the better the interest rate you can get on your mortgage. Your loan issuer may require you to pay for private mortgage insurance if you don’t put down 20 percent.
  • Research mortgage options. Talk to your bank and browse online to find the best deal for you. Federal Housing Administration loans have lower down payment requirements and easier credit standards. VA loans for military personnel and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans for rural dwellers with low to moderate income don’t even require a down payment.

Organize Your Paperwork

Next, you’ll need to prove to lenders that you’ve completed the steps above and are ready to buy.

  • Gather documentation. Your mortgage lender will need proof of your identity, employment, and financial condition. Make copies of your tax returns and pay stubs. Locate your government-issued IDs. Print your bank and brokerage account statements.
  • Get a stamp of preapproval. Your lender can preapprove you for a home once they’ve checked your credit and verified all the information you provided in the step above.

Find the Perfect Place

This is the best part of your moving checklist: finding a house to actually move into.

  • Tour houses. Ah, the fun part! Make a list of must-haves for your dream home. Browse online, drive around neighborhoods you like, and attend open houses. Go into homes and take note of what feels right, what you’re looking for, and whether you can envision yourself living there.
  • Hire a real estate agent. Or don’t — it’s completely up to you. Real estate agents will save you time by handling all the research, contracts, and negotiations. However, they usually take a percentage of the selling price.

Closing Time

Congratulations! You’re a homeowner. Take these last steps to secure your property and protect your assets.

  • Make an offer. Deliver your offer to the seller or their real estate agent. Review their counteroffer. Submit your counteroffer. Don’t stop until you are comfortable with the decision and ready to sign on the dotted line!
  • Schedule an inspection. After your offer is accepted, you’ll have several days to get an inspection. Hire a professional to look through the property to ensure there are no red flags.
  • Transfer your insurance policy. Your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent will guide you through the easy transfer process. They’ll also walk you through any changes to your rate due to home value, neighborhood safety, or weather exposure. If you move to a new county, they’ll happily set you up with an Agent closer to your new home sweet home.

Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agents will look after you, your family, and your property no matter where in Texas you call home. Find out more here about your property insurance options and how to protect your new home

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation.

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