If you’re considering buying a house, there’s some work to do first. Read on to learn more about the steps towards becoming a homeowner.

Determine Your Budget When Buying a House

So that you know your house-shopping budget, find a mortgage lender and get pre-qualified first. Talk with your lender about what mortgage product will be best for your circumstances. Your down payment will also help determine what you are eligible for.

The mortgage broker will look at your debt and your income to come up with a DTI (Debt to Income) ratio. Once they have your DTI, they will look at the term of the loan and the available interest rate. After allowing for annual property taxes and homeowners insurance, the lender will tell you how much of a monthly payment you can afford.

Shopping for a Home

Finding a house can be challenging. First, decide what area you’d like to live in. What features are important to you? Do you want a short commute, shopping, entertainment, or do you prefer living in a more rural area?

Look for a real estate agent to make the homebuying process easier. Find someone you like working with who communicates well and promptly. Let them know your budget, ideal home requirements, and the neighborhoods that interest you.

Your agent will offer a list of homes that they think will meet your needs. Print a map of the area and mark each property location on the map. Go out for a drive to preview the neighborhoods. You’ll be able to eliminate some of the homes and choose others you would like to tour.

Get a Showing

Now that you’ve refined your list to a few homes, talk to your agent about the ones you’d like to see. The agent will set times and give you access to tour each of the properties.

Take notes of what you like and don’t like about the home. Look at the condition of the property and think about improvements and repairs you might make. Over the long term, these will factor into the cost of owning the home.

Making an Offer When Buying a House

When you have found the home you hope to buy, the next step is to make an offer. Your agent will help you determine the value of the home. Recent home purchases in the neighborhood that are similar to the home you’ve made an offer on are your comparable sales. Also, take into account how long the home has been on the market. Are there multiple offers? What repairs need to be completed?

Your offer can be contingent on the findings of a home inspection, the appraised value, or any number of things. Be careful, though: unreasonable contingencies may cause a seller to reject your offer. Your offer, along with earnest money, locks your accepted offer into a pending purchase.

When Buying a House, Order a Home Inspection

Once your offer has been accepted, it’s time to order a home inspection. Ask your real estate agent, friends, or search online for an inspector. After the inspection, you will receive a report detailing the findings of the inspection. Discuss the inspection with your agent. If there are major issues with the property you may want to ask the seller to make repairs or renegotiate for a lower asking price.


After finalizing the price, a closing date will be scheduled. Sometimes all parties will meet up at the same time to sign the paperwork, and other times you may never even meet the seller. After closing, that’s it; you – and your lender – own a home. You will get keys and the property becomes your responsibility.

Encompass Home Inspection Service provides home inspection services to Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. If you’re buying a home, contact us to book an appointment.