Navigating the steps of the homebuying process: an expert's guide
Buying a new home is an exciting life decision—but where do you even begin? Read on to learn the steps of the homebuying process, and everything you need to know along the way.
What is the homebuying process?
With this important journey ahead of you, it’s crucial to understand all that the homebuying process entails, so you can feel prepared for every stage.
To get the ball rolling, evaluate your financial picture to get an idea of where you stand in the eye of lenders, and ultimately how much house you can afford. This includes knowing your credit score, gathering all of your financial documents, and getting a mortgage preapproval. This last item is more important than ever, according to NerdWallet, as it gives you a leg up in today’s seller’s market. When it comes to saving up your money, make sure you’re covering all your bases, from the down payment, to insurance, to closing costs, to lender fees—and even still, you should have some funds set aside for any unforeseen circumstances.
Once you have an idea of what you can afford and start to explore your new home options, it’s important to do your due diligence—research the area, talk to neighbors, visit the site. As a place that you’ll be setting down roots in, you want to make sure it suits your needs both now and in the future.
You’ll also need to make sure you build a good team of experts to help you through the process. From your lender, to your attorney, to your real estate agent, having representation you can trust is key to making the homebuying process as smooth as possible. You can always contact a Shea Homes representative for more information on how to find your “dream team” and make the process smooth.
Your team will really come into play during the actual buying phase. They’ll help guide you as you fill out paperwork, make an official offer, set up a home inspection, and prepare for closing. It’s in your best interest to keep an eye on the daily progress of your home buying process, especially as you near your closing date, to ensure there are no last-minute problems to address. Once you complete your final paperwork on closing day, there’s only one step left: getting the keys to your new home!
This section is just a quick overview of what goes into buying a home—read on for an in-depth look at how the process has evolved over the generations, and for a more comprehensive guide to your own homebuying journey, once you’re ready to start.
The evolution of the homebuying process
The journey to homeownership has evolved with each new generation, due to the market climate, the cost of living, and differing preferences and behaviors. Even within the last 10 years, the experience of being a first-time homebuyer has shifted.
The biggest reason for this shift can be attributed to the real estate crisis of 2008, of which Generation X homebuyers were most impacted. Following a housing boom, the first-time buyers of the late 2000s were most likely to find their house underwater, meaning that the market value of their home fell below the balance of their mortgage loan. The Great Recession also brought about job losses and general economic uncertainty, making it difficult for these homeowners to pay off debt, let alone build equity in their homes. Now, as the economy continues to recover, Gen-Xers looking to buy their second homes are more conservative than other age groups, prioritizing single-family homes in the suburbs that they can finally invest in.
For Millennials, today’s biggest first-time homebuyer group, the cost of living has increased at a faster rate, making it harder for them to afford a home than it was for preceding generations. Because they have to save for longer, they are buying their first home at a later age, and are more likely to buy near city centers than Gen-Xers, as shown in a study mentioned in CityLab. And, because technology now plays a big role in daily life, the homebuying process has started to include virtual reality tours and more social media interaction. Technology has changed the homebuying process by making mortgage approval and paperwork processing faster and more efficient, so that the time to close is shorter.
Begin your journey to homeownership
Ready to get the homebuying process started? Our comprehensive guide will fill you in on everything you need to know.
(Click on the image to download the guide!)
Additional homebuying resources
In addition to the guide above, we’ve curated other useful homebuying content for you to explore, making sure you feel well-equipped for the exciting journey ahead:
Lastly, check out our Resource Guide, designed to provide you with all the tools and info you needthroughout the homebuying journey. Here’s a quick overview of some of the resources you’ll find:
From dreaming about your new home to unpacking your moving boxes, we’ll help simplify the whole experience as a first-time homebuyer.
Financing a new home can be daunting. We’re here to make the process as seamless as possible, whether it’s finding a loan or enhancing your credit.
Easily navigate the homebuying process with our glossary of all the words and phrases you might encounter along the way.
At Shea Homes®, we treat our customers like family, and want to help you in any way we can to make your journey to homeownership a memorable experience. Reach out on social if you have any further questions on the homebuying process, or if you’re ready to find your dream home, explore our new homes today.