There’s more to buying a home than browsing real-estate listings and picking out the best option. Home buyers should be prepared to face numerous challenges along the way.

he Challenges of Buying a Home

Some of the top challenges of buying a home include:

  • Familiarity with Local Market:Buyers who are relocating may be completely unfamiliar with the local real estate market, so the help of a reputable real estate agent is all the more important.
  • Unpredictability of the Market: Just because the real estate market is trending upward now doesn’t mean it will stay like that. There may be few homes for sale now and dozens in just a week or two.
  • Inspections Aren’t Foolproof: Just because a home makes it through the inspection okay doesn’t mean there aren’t any major issues. Home warranties and additional inspections can mitigate these risks.
  • Finances: Buyers must be prepared and able to make a substantial down payment, make an earnest money deposit, and cover various closing costs and fees.
  • Choosing an Agent: The right agent will know the local real estate market well and will have a proven track record of success.
  • Documentation: Home buyers should stay organized right from the start. Before looking at any real estate for sale, invest in file folders and keep everything in order.
  • Negotiations: Negotiations sometimes drag on for days or weeks.
  • Underwriting: Obtaining a pre-approval is one thing; making it through the underwriting process is another.

What to Expect when Buying a Home

Home buyers spend a lot of time perusing real estate listings, but that’s just one tiny piece of the puzzle. The home-buying process generally unfolds as follows:

  • Pre-Approval: Buyers can get a feel for what they can afford by obtaining a pre-approval from a lender. Sellers will take them more seriously too.
  • Finding a Home: For best results, buyers should check out lots of different real estate for sale and attend numerous open houses.
  • Negotiating: Making an offer is just the first step. Negotiations are generally necessary, and they don’t always end up with an agreement.
  • Inspection: Before making an earnest money deposit, a buyer should have an inspection performed by a reputable, qualified inspector.
  • Sales Contract: Once the buyers are confident about the condition of the home, they need to sign a sales contract. From this point forward, they could lose the deposit if they are unable to buy the home due to a lack of financing or other issues.
  • Financing: For best results, a buyer should use a mortgage broker to find the best home-loan option. The ensuing underwriting process can take several days or even a week or two.
  • Appraisal: This is the make-or-break part of the process. If the home appraises too low, the lender won’t be able to extend the amount that is needed to complete the transaction, and it will be back to the drawing board.
  • Closing: After performing a final walkthrough, the buyer will sit down at the closing table and, with any luck, walk away with the keys.

Copyright 2016

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.