Life Planning

10 Steps to Take in Your Homebuying Journey

Posted on Jun 11, 2021

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Buying your first home can be overwhelming. But if you break it down into simple steps, you can feel much more confident as you navigate the process. Below are the 10 steps you’ll take in your homebuying journey:  

  1. Save Up for Your Down Payment and Closing Costs

    Start saving up for your down payment and closing costs. Most traditional home loans require 20% of the home’s purchase price up front, although there are special homebuying programs that require smaller down payments – just bear in mind that the more money you put toward your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. You should also save extra money for closing costs, which are an additional 2 to 5% of your home’s purchase price in addition to your down payment.

  2. Clean Up Your Credit

    Check your credit report and credit score before you start the homebuying process. By law, you can get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months at annualcreditreport.com. Be sure to review your credit report for any errors and dispute them early on in your home buying process. It can take time for credit bureaus to change incorrect information, so cleaning up your credit may take a while. Read “Bad Credit Score? Here’s How to Fix it” to learn more about how to improve your credit score.

  3. Determine How Much Home You Can Afford

    Before you start house-hunting, determine your budget to get a sense idea of what you can afford. This will give you and your real estate agent a good idea of your price range. Remember, you may get approved for more than you can realistically afford, since most calculators and mortgage companies don’t ask about or factor in your living expenses.

  4. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    Before you begin house-hunting, you should get pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will show sellers you are a serious potential buyer, which can help in the negotiation process. First Hawaiian Bank offers a variety of mortgage options, from fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages to Jumbo Loans, First Time Homebuyer Loans, VA Loans, and more. Loan payment terms also vary and typically range from 15 to 30 years for most loan types. Talk to your personal banker or a First Hawaiian Bank Mortgage Loan Officer to learn more about your options.

  5. Shop for a Home Within Your Budget

    Now comes the fun part: shopping for your dream home. Before you begin, determine which amenities are nonnegotiable for you. It’s also important to consider the neighborhood and quality of the home’s school district. Ask your friends, family, or personal banker to refer you to a good real estate agent who can help you navigate the process.

  6. Make an Offer on the House You Want

    When you find the home that you’d like to buy, it’s time to make an offer and negotiate. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you through this process and handle everything on your behalf. Make sure you know the selling prices of other comparable homes as well so you can negotiate accordingly.

  7. Put a Deposit Down

    Once you and the seller have both agreed to the home’s purchase price, you’ll need to put down a deposit to show you are serious and to secure the home. This money will go into an escrow account.

  8. Submit Your Mortgage Application

    To finance your home, you’ll need to submit your mortgage application. First Hawaiian Bank’s streamlined Digital Home Loans portal makes the application process quick and easy. Experienced Mortgage Loan Officers are always standing by if you have questions or need help through this process.

  9. Close the Sale

    You’ll need to have the home inspected before you can move in. Home inspections are a great way to figure out if the house has any major defects before you are locked into the sale. This can also help you during the negotiation process, as many buyers ask sellers to fix things or lower the sale price based on the inspection results. Once all terms are met, you will need to deposit the funds and the seller will need to deposit the deed. Depending on where you live, this process may vary. You may also want to hire an attorney who can walk you through all the paperwork that needs to be signed.

  10. Move into Your New Home

    Once you’ve completed the process, you’ll be handed the keys to your new home. Start packing and calling up your friends to help you move, or get ready to hire a moving company. Don’t forget to set the date for your housewarming party!

    Buying a home is a major milestone that can quickly become overwhelming. Make sure you find friendly and knowledgeable people along the way to help make your homebuying journey as seamless as possible. If you’re ready to take the first step toward your new home, start your application in First Hawaiian Bank’s Digital Home Loans portal today.

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