Buying a home for the first time can be quite a ride. With numerous steps and factors to weigh in the process, it could feel like a lot to handle before you even start thinking about holding the keys to your kingdom. Yet, if you come prepared, you’ll find the process can actually be a positive and enjoyable experience.

1. Find Your Budget Range

The entire search starts with your determined budget range based on what you can afford. When it comes to determining a budget range, multiply your annual income by three or four. From there you’ll be able to factor in what you can afford and what a bank might be willing to lend you.

2. Check Your Credit

Before you go looking for homes, you’ll want to address your credit score, as this is one of the most important factors when it comes to buying a home. Traditional lenders factor in your score to determine mortgage interest rates and what type of loan they’ll give you. When it comes to addressing your credit score, it takes time for the smallest changes to be reflected. The sooner you start working on this, the better.

3. Pick a Realtor

Now that you have a sense of your budget, it’s time to find your realtor. It’s important to have a good realtor with knowledge and connections, and it’s important that you like them. Interview several agents and get to know them. When you find one you have a good rapport with, start getting comfortable. This person will become a fixture in your life for the next few months.

4. Shop For a Home

Once your finances are in shape and you’ve been pre-approved for a loan, the joy of shopping can truly begin. By now, you’ll know what you can purchase based on what you’ve been approved for; and from there you’ll be able to narrow your home search using your own personal checklist of priorities, such as neighborhood, amenities, nearby schools, etc.

5. View Your Dream Home

Open Houses can be the most enjoyable part of the home-buying process. You get to experience the excitement of seeing new places that could potentially be yours, along with imagining what you’d do with the various spaces you’re viewing. As you walk up to the house and open the doors for the first time, the novelty of it all can be just as exciting as a trip to a theme park. Make open house tours a Sunday ritual for your family until you find your dream home.

6. Pack and Move

The prospect of packing up everything you own can be a positive experience if you think of it as shedding your old life and starting anew … and having some fun while doing it. Packing means finally getting to toss old items that have been sitting in the back of the closet or garage. It also means being able to buy shiny, new things to replace the old, or simply throwing out half of your stuff so you can begin a minimalist life. Invite some friends over for a packing party, and let them take home whatever they want from your discard pile.

7. Rebuild and Renovate

Another exciting part about moving into a new home is the possibility of making it exactly what you want. If you’ve purchased a home that needs updating and you’re ready to begin, the first thing you should do before you move in is to identify what you’d like to change. The second step is to find a contractor to make those builds, upgrades, and repairs for you in a reasonable timeframe. Phoenix renovations average between $3,050 – $9,786, but the amount depends on the job and the contractor. Just be sure to get multiple estimates and check the background for any contractor your considering.

Buying, selling, and moving are all long, drawn-out processes. It takes work for everything to come together and time for it to fall into place. The level of stress that hits you depends on what you do to prevent it and how you choose to view the process. So remember that it’s a journey, not a chore. Before too long, it will be a distant memory and you’ll be settling in to your new home.

Photo Credit: Pexels