5 Steps
to Home Buying

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Follow These Steps To Find Your Dream Home

Make The Decision

Are you thinking about buying? You've already started doing your own research to find out if purchasing your first home or upgrading would be a good idea. In these early stages, it's important to first know if you're personally able to take that financial step as well as figuring out what the current real estate market looks like.

Will buying a home put you in a better position? Some people decide to buy solely based on thinking about their financial future. Research done on home purchases shows that the costs of buying and owning a home in California are less than the costs of renting after just 3 years, so evidence comes to bear with the statement “buying a home pays off in the long run.”

Other people decide to buy a home because they plan on growing a family and could use more living space. Many decide to buy based on school districts, job opportunities, or being closer to extended family. There are a plethora ofreasons people would want to buy a home, but when you decide that it's time for you to become a homeowner, the next step is to determine how much you can afford.

Run The Numbers

How much are you able to afford? There are a couple common rules that lenders suggest you use in determining how much of a home you can afford to buy: You don't want your monthly debts to go above 40% of your monthly income, and your monthly mortgage should be no more than 32%. You can use our helpful mortgage calculator to get a good idea of how much you will likely be spending on homes of different prices. Another general rule is to not buy a home that is any more than 5 times your annual income. Many people are surprised by how nice of a home they are able to afford after combining theirs and their co-borrower's income, but the only way to do that is to see what homes are actually on the market.

Get prequalified. Find a good lender who can tell you how much you how much you will be offered for a loan. A conversation that lasts less than 15 minutes can end with you knowing which mortgage is best for you and how much you can make an offer for in a home.

Find a Lender

Search For Homes

Talk to a real estate agent. A good real estate agent is responsive and wants to hear details of the kind of home you want to buy. Create a list of what your needs are in a home and communicate those, even if you don't have an exact idea right now. Make it clear that you want regular notifications for what homes are currently on the market that fit your needs. A good agent will take your list of must-haves in a home and can give you an active home list or send email updates on the current inventory that match your needs. Feel free to use our Find an Agent page to get you connected.

Search on the Active Realty site. We have put together a Home Finder tool that shows you live updates of homes that are on the market, using search tools that show you the exact types of homes you're looking for. You may not know exactly the type of home you're looking for quite yet, but seeing what homes are actually on the market can help you narrow it down.

Search for Homes

Make An Offer

See Homes. Talk to your agent about which homes you like most that are in your price range and have them make an appointment to see it with you. You can ask them on the Active Realty mobile app or talk to them directly.

Submit the Offer. When you find a home you would like to buy, tell your agent and you can discuss how much you should offer to buy the home for. Having a good agent is crucial because, ideally, they are submitting offers for multiple people in multiple areas every week and will have a detailed understanding of how much you can offer to put you in an ideal position to have your offer accepted. For some homes, they may suggest offering several thousand lower because they know there is no competition or the home may be overpriced. For others, they might have you offer higher than asking price because it's more competitive.

Find an Active Agent

Transaction Process And Close

See Homes. Talk to your agent about which homes you like most that are in your price range and have them make an appointment to see it with you. You can ask them on the Active Realty mobile app or talk to them directly.

Submit the Offer. When you find a home you would like to buy, tell your agent and you can discuss how much you should offer to buy the home for. Having a good agent is crucial because, ideally, they are submitting offers for multiple people in multiple areas every week and will have a detailed understanding of how much you can offer to put you in an ideal position to have your offer accepted. For some homes, they may suggest offering several thousand lower because they know there is no competition or the home may be overpriced. For others, they might have you offer higher than asking price because it's more competitive.

Find an Active Agent