8 Essential Steps to Buying a Home

Thinking about buying a home in the Bethesda area? First of all, congrats! Taking the first steps towards a move can bring up a lot of emotions. You might be feeling excited, overwhelmed, or a mixture of the two. Buying a home is a multi-step process that isn't always easy, especially if you're a first-time home buyer or haven't moved in a while. Ready to learn about buying your Maryland dream home? Here are 8 easy steps that cover the process from start to finish!

Step 1: Determine What You Want in Your Bethesda Home

People buy homes for a variety of reasons, and in Bethesda, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Your housing needs are unique to you, so be sure to create a list of must-haves in a home you'd consider buying before beginning your Bethesda home search.

This is also a great time to sit down and get your finances in order. Knowing what you can afford will determine the location and types of homes you can look at. Not sure where to start? Our handy mortgage calculator can help!

Step 2: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Once you have a general picture of what you can afford, it's time to begin the pre-approval process for your mortgage. Although it might seem overwhelming, staying organized and doing plenty of research can make everything simpler than you think.

Be sure to shop around for the right lender and provide them with all required financial information. In turn, the lender will come back with an estimated mortgage amount in a mortgage pre-approval letter, which is your ticket to begin your home search.

As you're shopping for a lender in Montgomery County, you should also be on the lookout for the right real estate agent to suit your needs. This is perhaps one of the biggest decisions you'll make—choosing the right agent can make everything so much easier. Looking for an agent in Montgomery County? Find out more about my experience and how I can help you buy a home!

Step 3: Start Your Home Search

This is probably the part you've been looking forward to the most. Once you've gotten your pre-approval letter, you can start searching for your dream home.

Although you might be enamored with a home just by the photos, you should also schedule plenty of showings with your agent and attend open houses. Use these home viewings as opportunities to imagine yourself living there. Go ahead—picture yourself cooking some meals, hosting game nights, and relaxing after a long day.

Not sure where to start? Your real estate agent is here to help, and they'll help you find the right neighborhood that suits your needs.

Step 4: Make an Offer to Buy the Home

Once you've found the place you want to call your own in Montgomery County, it's time to take the first steps towards making things official. Before making your offer, you'll want to analyze comparable homes in the neighborhood or request a market analysis of the property. After you've crunched the numbers, go ahead officially submit your offer.

Your agent will help you navigate the negotiation process, and if things go well, you'll agree with the seller on a price. Then, you'll deposit earnest money into an escrow account, which holds onto your payment until the home is yours. Having your mortgage pre-approval letter readily available to show the home seller will also let them know that you're serious about buying.

Step 5: Filling Out Paperwork

This is the not-so-fun part about buying a home. Unfortunately, such a large financial transaction comes with a lot of paperwork, but the right agent will guide you through the process and answer any lingering questions you might have. 

This is also a good time to consider closing costs. These are the miscellaneous expenses that come with buying a home and will include your home inspection, attorney fees, title insurance, and more. Be sure to plan ahead for these expenses, and contact me if you have any questions!

Step 6: Finance your Montgomery County Home

Remember that pre-approval letter? Now it's time to put it to good use. This is when you choose which loan product to use based on what you can afford, and determine whether you want to keep your monthly payments low or fixed.

There are many different types of loans to choose from, even if you're having trouble coming down with a down payment. For more info on choosing the right loan, check out my easy guide to mortgages!

Step 7: Get a Home Inspection

Even if you're buying a new construction home, a home inspection is an absolute must before you sign the final paperwork. A licensed inspector can tell you whether the home you're interested in has structural damage or needs major fixes. If there are any repairs that will make or break the sale, now is the time to crunch the numbers. You can even negotiate the price of the home based on any necessary fixes.

Your real estate agent will help you arrange a home inspection within a few days of having your home offer accepted by the seller.

Step 8: Closing on your home

Congratulations—you've finally reached the last step in the home-buying process! After all the searching and paperwork, it's all over, and now you can enjoy living in your new home.

At this point, you'll want to establish utility services, take a final walk-through to make sure everything still looks good, and resolve any lingering issues.

Once everything is over, be sure to thank your agent—without them, all of this wouldn't have been possible!

Ready to Embark on the Home-Buying Process?

Is it time to find your dream home in the Bethesda area? Just reach out to me, Audrey June-Forshey! I have the tools you need to navigate the home-buying process, and I'd love the opportunity to work with you to find your niche. Whenever you're ready to take your next steps, or if you have any questions, just give me a call. I'm always here to offer my guidance!

Montgomery County Real Estate Resources