The 10 Steps to Homebuying: How to Buy a House

The 10 Steps to Homebuying

You need to get your finances in order and find the right lender for your mortgage. But there are also fun things.

We have broken down the 10 best steps to buying a house. We call it a buying a house checklist. There are choices to be made and things to do at each step. Some steps are very stressful, others are quite cool, and some are just plain annoying. Each step will get you closer to your goal of homeownership.

1. You must be prepared

Yes, it’s important to be financially prepared to purchase a house. (See Step 2 for more information). Are you emotionally ready to buy a house? Even though it is your starter home, you are making a significant financial commitment and planting roots.

It is important to consider your future goals. Is it possible to buy with a partner? If so, how are you going to spend your money? Are you willing to move for work? Do you have thoughts of starting a family? These big-picture considerations can help you decide if this is the right time for buying a house.

2. Make sure you have your finances in order

You may make the largest financial decision of your life by buying a house. Before you do, ensure that you have solid finances.

A home affordability calculator will help you calculate your budget. It takes into consideration your income, debts, and location. (More on down payments later). This calculator will show you how much your monthly mortgage payments could add up, and what your financial situation might look like as a homeowner.

This is important to keep your dreams in check. Although you might be eligible for a substantial mortgage, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to dedicate that much of your income to housing.

Also, check your credit score. Higher credit scores are the best way to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage. Learn about the different mortgage options available to you based on your credit score. It may be worth waiting to get homeownership if your credit score is not in good shape. Instead, do what you can to improve it.

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3.Plan for the down payment

Once you have determined your financial capabilities, you can determine how much money you will need to save for a downpayment. Many homeowners choose to make a smaller down payment than 20%, even though it used to be the norm. While a smaller down payment will require less upfront money, it will mean that you’ll need to pay mortgage insurance. The minimum down payment depends on the type of loan you take out.

You may be interested in state programs for first-time buyers if this is your first house or if it’s been a while since you last owned one. Many provide financial assistance, including down payment assistance.

Nerdy tip – You will need to save money for more than the down payment. The closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the total loan cost. In case of an emergency, it’s a good idea also to have emergency funds.

4. Make a Wish List

I said there would be fun steps. It’s not hard to come up with a list, both of the essentials and of the nice-to-haves, for your home. There are many details to consider when looking for a home.

Attached house or detached house? A traditional single-family home might be the best option for you if you want a yard. If you live in an area with high density or don’t want to manage all the maintenance, a condo or townhouse may be the best option. Co-ops may also be an option in some cities.

Where is your ideal place? Now that you know where you want your home to be, and you have decided to stay in the state you live in, it is time to find a neighborhood. Consider safety, amenities, such as walkability, green space, or coffee shops, and costs. This can include property taxes, and HOA fees if applicable. You should also consider the school district. Even if you do not plan on having children, the school district can have an impact on the value of your home and affect your resale prices.

Are you looking for a move-in-ready or fixer-upper property? It’s easy to buy a house that you can move into. If you live in a competitive or expensive market, you may be able to afford a bigger house or move into a more expensive neighborhood by taking over a property that is in need of some TLC. You will have to do the work and pay the money to make the property livable.

5. Find the right mortgage to suit your needs

The type of mortgage that you choose to purchase a house will affect how much you can qualify for it, including the down payment amount and the repayment terms. The right home loan will increase your chances of approval, and could save you thousands over the long term.

It is important to understand the pros and cons of each type of mortgage before you make a decision about which one to choose. These are the most common types of mortgages.

  • Conventional mortgages are mortgages that do not come with federal guarantee. These loans have lower down payments but require more qualifications.
  • FHA loans are mortgages that are backed by Federal Housing Administration. Although these loans are easier to get than conventional loans, they have more stringent requirements regarding mortgage insurance.
  • VA loans are available from the Department of Veterans Affairs for eligible spouses and active servicemen. You can make no downpayment on VA purchase loans
  • Jumbo loans are mortgages that are higher than the standard lending limits and are used to finance houses. These loans usually require higher credit scores and larger down payments.
  • You can wrap home improvement costs into your home loan with renovation loans. This can allow you to borrow more money for repairs, even at low mortgage rates, and pay less interest than with a personal loan or other type of home improvement loan.

You may be able to choose between an adjustable-rate mortgage (also known as an ARM) or a fixed-rate mortgage. Fixed rates are fixed, while adjustable rates can change. As you may have guessed from their names, adjustable rates can fluctuate. The mortgage term will also be chosen. The most common mortgage term is 30-year, although there may be 10-, 15 or 20-year options.

6. Pre-approved for a mortgage

Now you know what your homebuying budget is and have decided which type of loan you will need. It’s now time to search for a mortgage lender. There are many lenders available, including large brick-and-mortar lenders with familiar names, nonbank online lenders, and smaller credit unions and local banks that might offer better service.

The first step in looking for lenders is to determine if they offer the loan type you need. If you have made a decision to get an FHA loan but they are not an FHA-approved lender then move on. Beyond that hurdle, it’s important to compare their sample rates with current mortgage rates, determine your closing costs, and compare mortgage origination fees. Most likely, this information is available on their websites. However, to obtain more numbers, a loan officer will be required.

It is important to work with a lender in order to be preapproved for a mortgage. The lender will be able to give you accurate numbers if you have provided detailed financial information. This includes a hard inquiry that will be reflected on your credit report. Good news: Multiple lenders may not count the application as one hard pull.

It can take a lot of time to gather all documents needed for preapproval. It will be worthwhile. You can get a Loan Estimate along with the preapproval letter that will tell you how much the lender is willing to lend you. Although this form is not final, it allows you to compare rates, fees, and other costs between lenders since they all use the exact same form. Preapproval letters are typically valid for 60 to 90 days. After that, they will need to be renewed.

Preapproval letters can also show sellers and agents that you are serious buyers who can obtain financing. This can help you gain an advantage over other home-shoppers. It’s not the same thing as pre-qualification. This is a rough estimate of the amount the lender may allow you to borrow.

7. Locate a real estate agent

Now that you have your preapproval and you know what type of house you want, let’s start looking for someone to help. A good real estate agent can make all the difference in the buying process, whether they are able to help you find the right house or provide moral support during the frustrating search.

Interviewing at least three agents is a smart idea. Ask friends and family who have recently purchased a home if they would recommend their agent. The one rule is this: Do not use the agent selling your home. Your agent should be able to advocate for you and negotiate on your behalf.

The seller usually pays a commission to the buyer’s agent. Although you will sign a representation agreement, the seller won’t pay you.

8. Go shopping!

This step is worth an exclamation mark. It’s time for you to go beyond scrolling through real estate listings online and to actually visit some homes in person. You might only get to see a house once before you decide whether or not you want to make an offer. This is especially true in hot markets. Do not let other home buyers or the agent of the seller get you discouraged.

To help you remember what to offer, take photos with your smartphone. While it might seem easy to remember the charming breakfast nook or an extra bedroom that would make an ideal home office, the older appliances or decking that need replacing could be hard to see. You should discuss potential issues with your home inspector to determine if they could affect the price you offer.

9. Make an offer

Have you found the right home for you? It’s time to make an offer. A real estate agent can help you find comparable sales information as well as any insight about the sellers that they may have gleaned from their agent (e.g. if they have already moved to a new area and are more motivated to sell). A real estate lawyer may be helpful. A lawyer may be required in certain states to assist with any real estate transaction.

You can make a counteroffer if the seller declines to accept your offer. It all depends on why they turned it down. Talk to your agent if the seller objects to your offer. You can then decide whether you will accept it or not. These negotiations are where a buyer’s agent truly earns their money.

Accepted offer? Congrats! You’re now ready to move on. This is also when you’ll likely write your first check. The earnest money is the deposit you make towards the purchase of the house. It is usually placed in an escrow account and most buyers use it to close the deal.

10. Apply for a mortgage

Now you know what property you want to purchase and how much it will cost. You will now choose a lender to obtain a mortgage. You’ll work closely with a loan officer even if you apply online.

This is a lengthy process that requires a lot of paperwork. Be prepared to upload a lot. Here are the things you will likely need:

  • W-2 forms for the last two years (possibly even more if your employer has changed).
  • Pay stubs for the last 30-60 days
  • Documentation of gift money or proof of other income sources is required.
  • The Federal Income Tax Returns for the Past Two Years.
  • Recent bank statements (usually from the last few months).
  • Information about long-term debts such as student loans or car loans.
  • ID and Social Security number

After your mortgage application has been submitted, you will be subject to underwriting. The lender will make the final decision about whether or not to approve you for the loan. This is basically ensuring that there are no risks in the deal.

You may have to provide additional documents if you need to underwrite. A lender will also inspect the property you have chosen (see Step 13 below), and request a title search.

Update to Facebook REmarketing for Real Estate

One Click SEO – Your Full Service SEO Agency

Updates to Facebook Remarketing for Real Estate

One Click SEO is now rolling out dynamically created Featured Listings Ads for our Facebook REmarketing This puts your most recently listed properties right in front of everyone that has recently visited your website.

What is Facebook REmarketing?

REmarketing (sometimes called retargeting) on Facebook has proven to be a very effective way to keep your brand in front of your clients inexpensively.  With Facebook REmarketing, anyone who comes to your website will then see ads on their Facebook feed, providing another opportunity for them to interact with your brand.  Because you are only advertising to a small group, the advertising costs are relatively low.

It is important to keep in mind that the first time someone sees your website is usually the first time they are exposed to your brand.  If they leave (regardless of how long they stayed) if they then see your brand through a different digital channel (Facebook) that strengthens their recall of you.

How does Facebook REmarketing Work

Leveraging Facebook REmarketing

Facebook REmarketing for Real Estate

Anyone that has been in the real estate industry understands that real estate has a long sales cycle.  It can be 18 months from the moment that a wife looks over at her husband and says “I think we should buy a new home” to the closing day.

With the long sales cycle, the ability to keep in front of a potential client over three months is very powerful and lends itself well to the real estate vertical specifically.

We generally drive initial traffic to real estate websites in two ways.

  • Google Pay Per Click — Geographically and keyword targeted Google ads that show above Google searches in which you are charged “per click”.  These PPC ads can be turned on or off or adjusted at will.
  • SEO — Search Engine Optimization is showing up organically for real estate search terms.  Real estate SEO is much slower but has long term benefits.

Upon them visiting the site by either PPC or SEO, we can then flood them with Facebook Ads.  In the past, we have used video as Facebook has given a preference to video over image ads. We are now have the ability to leverage your specific listings as those remarketing ads.

With the long sales cycle, the ability to keep in front of your website visitors over the next 90 days is extremely powerful.

Facebook Dynamic Featured Listings Ad for REmarketing

If you consistently have over 3 listings at any time, we can now display a special, automated Facebook ad that shows your listings.  This ad automatically updates as new listings come onboard and are sold off.

These new dynamically created Facebook REmarketing ads have shown to provide substantially better click through rates (CTR) while achieving the same branding.  Most users initially find the website in search of homes for sale, we then place recently listed homes back in front of them over the next 90 days!

Here is an example of a dynamically created Facebook REmarketing ad that would use your most recent listings:


Updating Your Facebook REmarketing Campaign

If you are leveraging Facebook REmarketing through One Click SEO – we will create your new Dynamic Featured Listings Ad upon request. You must consistently have 3 or more listings for the ads to display properly and use IDX Broker.

We can then devote your entire Facebook REmarketing ad spend toward your new listings (recommended) or split it between your other REmarketing ads.  Just reach out to us at support at One Click SEO


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Why You Should Consider Owning a Real Estate Franchise

Real Estate Franchise

Many people wondered about how the internet would impact society fifteen to twenty years ago. The internet’s potential “killer” industries were a hot topic. Many supposed “experts” predicted the demise of different industries and jobs. While some of these predictions were true, others weren’t, such as real estate.

Many argued that people could now find all the information they needed online so there’s no reason to have realtors anymore. Although it is possible to look up the relevant case law and also represent yourself in court, it would not be a good idea to do so. The real estate business is growing at a rapid pace and realtors are the only ones who have the time, experience, and knowledge! If you are interested in being your own boss in the real estate business without starting something completely new, consider becoming a part of a real estate franchise. These are the greatest advantages to owning a real estate franchise.

Property Values Are At an All-Time High

Property values in many cities are worth more than they ever have been. Although every city, town, suburb and county has its own unique situation, the majority of homes in the country are expensive. While this has its pros and cons, it is generally a good thing for real estate franchises. Firstly, it can be very lucrative if you deal with high-end properties such as ones located in gated residential communities. Secondly, many homes are so costly because of the high demand which leads people to turn to real estate franchises for help. 

Real Estate Franchise

Real Estate Franchises Are Important to People

People don’t buy many homes in their lifetime. The realtors and real estate agents that homebuyers worked with to purchase their home are the ones that are always remembered. Clients are more likely to recommend your real estate franchise if they have had a good experience with you which is great news for well-managed franchises. When a potential client’s family members, friends, or neighbors recommend your franchise, they will be more likely to trust you.

Real Estate Franchise

You Will Be Recognized Instantly

Because they are unknown, many business owners fail to make money within their first few years. People who are selling or buying a house want to know they are working with industry experts. Putting a name on your company that is well-respected and known will make you look good! Clients will be more inclined to work with you when they are familiar with the brand and not if your business is new and unknown.

Real Estate Franchise

Owning a Franchise Gives You Extra Training & Support

Real estate franchising is a proven business model that can help your success! You can benefit from the guidance of mentors and systems that have proven successful for others whether you are just starting out in the real estate business or an experienced agent. Without being a part of a real estate franchise, these tools can cost thousands of dollars.

Real Estate Franchise

Their Marketing Systems Are Already in Place & Proven

Marketing is about optimizing your budget and understanding what works to help clients look for homes in their area. These proven marketing strategies are already in place for real estate franchises which can help you save a lot of time and money that could otherwise have been spent trying on figuring out marketing strategies. Because you pay more for advertising media and printing costs as an independent agent, industry connections can save you money!

Real Estate Franchise


A real estate franchise is a smart choice if you want to take control of your career. If you are interested in becoming your own boss, it may not be the best idea to start a business from scratch. Consider investing in your real estate franchise. This career choice offers unique benefits that will allow you to build a successful business without the hassle of starting a startup.

Standard Rules Apply: The Things to Follow When Living in Gated Residential Communities

When you ask someone if they’d rather live in a gated community or not, they’ll most definitely answer yes—depending on where they live. Gated residential communities give a sense of security like no other. Aside from that, the thought of living in one sound like something a person with a thing for safety would like.

Bear in mind, though, that to live in one is to be disciplined. Read on and find out how to be a model citizen in a gated community.

Know the Rules and Regulations by Heart

The guidebook is given to you by the developer for a reason. Gated communities are governed with a strict set of rules that should be followed at all times. You risk penalties and, worse, expulsion if you break these.

Have a mind on safety for everyone

Living in a gated community means you should look out for everyone and not only for your family. This means that you should keep the aura of safety. Doing something that breaks that net of safety may be frowned upon.

Be mindful of the children

Children are one of the main reasons why people seek the relative security of gated communities. With that in mind, gated communities may or may not have more children than elders. Keep their safety in mind especially when driving around.

Add to the Security of the Community

The security personnel in a gated community are there for a reason—to provide safety to everyone. You should do your best to keep that security intact. Alert the security of suspicious persons. Also, if someone you know or relatives are visiting, it’s best to inform them beforehand.

Observe Traffic Rules

This is especially of the essence when there are children. Even if there are none, observing these rules is a good indication that you’re doing your part to keep the community’s safety intact.

When you’re living in a gated residential community, it’s best to be a good neighbor. You don’t have to carry the guidebook around with you always. Knowing the basic rules by heart is already good enough if you want to be a model resident.

What’s the Issue? Gated Residential Community Problems to Look Out For

There are a lot that goes into the maintenance and development of a gated residential. To some, it may be a picture of safety and security; to others, however, the iron bars, the gates, and the prowling security guards may paint a picture of something going terribly wrong within the walls.

Everything has cons. We take a look at gated residential communities and break down what makes it so wrong to live in one.

Blatant Excess

To live in a gated community is like to live in a posh, luxury resort. There are mid-level communities, yes, but the walls promote a certain level of exclusivity. The prices can also rise up with the snap of a finger—you might actually pay more than you would do if you decided to live outside of the walls.

Secret Crimes

The last thing people would expect to happen within gated communities is heinous crimes. Living in a gated community might actually be dangerous; when crime strikes here, you never know if it’s going to be covered up or not. You might actually feel trapped by being in gated communities if crime does occur.

Paranoia Festering

Gated communities are actually pillboxes waiting to blow, so they say. The problem with living inside a protective wall is you become ignorant of the world around you. Ignorance may be bliss, but if you continue to live in bliss, you might actually become indifferent about societal problems happening around you.

The Long Wait

You might have made it to the big time, but what about the rest of the family? When you live in a gated residential, even family and friends have to be questioned. It’s easy to let the power go into your head and refuse to see them if ever they get hung up before they enter.

There are many benefits to be gotten from gated residential communities. However, there are problems too. Make sure that the reason you want to live in a gated community is for the good and not for the bad.

Is this for sale? The Way to Look for Homes in a Gated Community

We all are in search of homes that we can comfortably live in. Looking for these aren’t that easy because we’ve each got our own reasons. These reasons need to be satisfied most of the time and for good reason. We only want the best for our family—why will we settle for anything less?

The best homes are behind walled communities and that’s why we look for properties available here. However, how will we be able to figure out the best properties available?

Don’t be shy, Ask around

If you manage to enter a gated community, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to ask around if a house is for sale. The best thing to do that is to perhaps try to look at the community board. If that’s not possible you could ask someone you know in the community to ask around.

Inquire with a Real Estate Company

The next best thing is to go serious. There are many real estate companies that are selling homes and some of them may be from gated communities. They are also knowledgeable of any home’s issues, so if you want a gated community home, they may be your best source.

Find a Good Agent

If you can’t speak or find a real estate company, go directly to a real estate agent. They’ll know exactly how to find a good home to move into. Asking around, figuring out which homes are for sale, how much their prices are and any lingering issues the homes have—these agents will do the leg work.

Be Educated, Be Knowledgeable

While they’re making the leg work and necessary guesswork, that doesn’t mean you should leave yourself out in the cold! Ask them what they’ve found out. Do some investigating of your own. It’s best if you’re personally involved in the selection process and choosing of your own home.

Your home is a big investment, so it’s only natural that you should choose the very best. Don’t hesitate to pull all the stops in finding out if you can finally leave in a gated residential community. Who knows? You might just be the newest member of the community.