A 3rd party broker that specializes in mortgages guaranteed by the US government

11 Steps to Home Buying Success

In 2018, over 5 million existing homes were sold; representing a far greater share of the market than the 667,000 new homes that were sold, according to NAR research. The average age of a house purchased in 2018 was 28 years old. First-time buyers made up roughly 33 percent of the housing market, with buyers financing nearly 90% of the transactions. Purchasing a home is a milestone, despite the post-recession economy, which pushed the average age of first-time buyers back to 31, younger Americans maintain the same desire for home ownership as their older generational counterparts. Recent surveys of potential Millennial and Gen Z home owners have confirmed this desire.

Real estate transactions often vary based on the customs and laws of the area in which you live.

Many of the advised steps in the home buying process are fairly standard. Though, the order in which the individual accomplishes them may differentiate depending on the location of the property.

Understanding the full scope of the home buying journey, will lead to a greater feeling of confidence in completing the requirements of all that is involved in the transaction, as well as in yourself.

VAHLC has compiled a list of 11 steps to assist you in achieving home buying success!

  1. Put your finances in order
  2. Decide on your needs and wants
  3. Familiarize yourself with the mortgage industry
  4. Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage
  5. Working with Real Estate Agents
  6. Finding A Home – the Fun Part
  7. What To Do Before You Make an Offer
  8. Making an offer
  9. Home Inspections and other tests
  10. Correcting or avoiding problems at the last minute
  11. Closing

Put your finances in order

Prior to submitting an application for a VA housing loan, it is extremely important to determine the contents of your credit report, and what they include pertaining to your financial history. Lenders look at how you have previously managed your finances through your credit report. A lender uses this financial information to determine what your interest rate and loan terms will be. If you have not checked your credit for some time, you may be surprised by what information is contained in each report. Errors are not uncommon. Thus, it is important to review your report so you can fix any mistakes reported in error.

Decide on your needs and wants

If you are familiar with the real estate market in the area you want to purchase, and have established your specific needs and wants prior to looking for a home, a shortage of funds will not necessarily negate a home purchase.

Familiarize yourself with the mortgage industry

The two largest factors in determining the potential success of a home buying transaction are the loan and the lender. It is crucial to find both the right lender and the right loan. You determine your needs. Thus, it is a sound plan to learn about the loan process before you start talking to a lender.

Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage

Prior to beginning the hunt for a house, approaching a seller, and any concrete plans about a home purchase, it needs to be determined how much you can afford to spend on a home. To do so, call 888-573-4496 or fill out a VA home loan application. A seller who is presented with two

If a seller is given two similar offers and one is absent of paperwork, and the other is accompanied with a bank letter stating mortgage approval in the amount offered, the seller will almost always (if not always) choose the pre-approved buyer.

Working with Real Estate Agents

Agent loyalty and duty are complex, important to understand facets of real estate. Before making the first phone call to find an agent try to understand agent obligations. Real estate professionals represent sellers, buyers and in certain states they act as a third party facilitator. Finding an agent who works hard to act in your self-interest, not someone else’s is essential. A buyer’s agent only represents the buyer. Be certain that your agent is not also representing the seller. In the event of dual representation, the agent will have a duty towards the seller before the buyer. Working with a buyer’s agent prevents an agent from also representing another party. Buyers agents referred by VA Home Loan Centers are not contractually allowed to charge you for their services.

Finding A Home – the Fun Part

To see what is available in your budget obtain a multiple listing sheets from your agent to study. Read the classified section of the newspaper, browse through magazines, with a home sale section. Drive through neighborhoods during free afternoons to view the area and the quality of homes for sale in it. You can also search the VAHLC database for thousands of listings.

What To Do Before You Make an Offer

Determining the physical parameters that you desire in a home, including the features and structure is not the only important aspect of your purchase – far from it. Review aspects of the home including the resale potential it maintains, its heating system efficiency, the accuracy of the reported square footage, and whether or not the there are other rights attached to the property.

Making an offer

Throughout the country, differing customs and real estate laws have been established, with variance by location. A specific set of conditions and instructions that can be applied across the board does not exist. Certain tips can come in hand, however, no matter where the home is located. These guidelines pertain to home appliances, furnishings, outdoor play sets, and possession dates. Establish how much you want to offer, what information the seller needs to disclose and if a disclosure of the presence of lead paint is required.

Home Inspections and other tests

It is crucial for you to figure out the specific home inspections and tests you want to be performed… certain states require these inspections to be carried out prior to the finalization of the purchase offer. In some states, these tests do not need to be performed until after the final offer. Discuss with your agent or an advisor to discover when these inspections need to occur and how they need to be handled. Agents are also able to let you know what additional types of testing are needed in your geographic location.

Correcting or avoiding problems at the last minute

Last minute inconveniences can result in disaster. As the date of close nears, you should be in contact with all parties involved in the real estate transaction on a daily basis. Staying on top of things means immediate knowledge of any problems or snags. If you stay on top of things, you can avoid many problems that buyers commonly deal with at the last minute. Common occurrences include low appraisals and credit score changes (under no circumstance change jobs or make a large purchase until after closing). Line up the proper insurance, switch the utilities and do not get frantic; keep your emotions in check.


At closing time, much of the stress and problems are now a thing of the past. Closing, also called a settlement occurs when ownership of the property is transferred to you. The final walk through is required, and you should be able to sign.


At this time, you have secured your new home. Never hesitate to ask questions! Regardless of If this is your first home purchase or tenth, it is important to understand all of the expectations and intricacies of the purchase process. A lot of money is going to be spent, a larger quantity that you may have ever before, or again spend. A long term commitment is being made. If you know what is happening in the transaction, you will feel more at ease.

Don’t forget to check out our article on 11 things not to do when buying a home