Whether you’re in the market for your first home or you’re a seasoned home buyer, one key element you need to keep in mind is insuring your new investment. Particularly for first-time home buyers, mapping out the home-buying process can help to make the experience go a little more smoothly. This includes making sure you’ve covered your homeowner’s insurance needs. Here’s a helpful rundown of steps along the way to help you cover all the bases.
Do Your Early House Shopping Online
Starting on the path to home ownership can be fun, especially if you choose to do it from the comfort of your couch – say, on Sunday mornings while sipping coffee and perusing online home listings. Use a few different websites for your early research. Photos of the houses for sale and information about their neighborhoods can vary between real estate websites, so using a few sources for information can help you get a rounded perspective. Be sure to check out any online tools that can help you learn more about a house that catches your eye.
Contact a Real Estate Agent
You can always tap into the expertise of a local real estate agent to help with your search. A realtor might know about homes that aren’t yet listed on real estate websites, or can point you toward a home that meets your needs that you may have missed in your search. You may want to begin to take note of house features that you prefer, as these will come into play during your future discussion about homeowners insurance.
Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved1 for a mortgage could help to make your offer more appealing to a seller when you find the right home, since a pre-approval will let the seller know you’re a qualified buyer. The mortgage pre-approval process is also helpful for understanding how much you can comfortably afford. Remember, some mortgage lenders include taxes and insurance in the mortgage payments. Either way, you will need to show proof of adequate homeowners insurance coverage when you finalize the mortgage process. Real estate taxes can be high in some areas, possibly changing the affordable price range for your home.
Choose Your Home
Choosing your home is often a process of elimination. As you check out houses in person, you’ll see plenty that aren’t quite right for you. Compromising on features isn’t uncommon, but look for a home that can meet your needs both now and for the foreseeable future. The location and individual features of the home you choose may impact the amount and type of insurance coverage you may need.
Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a home that’s right for you, it’s time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will walk you through the process. The seller can accept or reject your offer, or possibly make a counteroffer.
Get a Home Inspection
After you reach an agreed-upon offer with the seller, it’s time for a home inspection. A licensed home inspector will check the home for needed repairs and structural soundness. It’s a good idea to attend the inspection in person. Depending on the age and location of the home, you may also want some specialized inspections, such as a termite inspection, radon inspection or an oil tank inspection.
Get Insurance for Your (Future) New Home
The home inspection went well, and it looks like you’re moving forward with your home purchase. You’ll need insurance for your new home before the closing. Your insurance agent will walk you through the simple process of obtaining homeowners coverage, explaining key coverages designed to help protect your home and belongings. Ask your agent about discounts for bundling your car and auto insurance, which could result in extra savings that could be used toward new furnishings or home improvements.
Closing on Your Home
The closing process can seem long with endless piles of papers to sign, but it’s the last step in the home buying process.2 You may have thought house hunting was the fun part – but turning the key to the front door of your new home after closing is the best part.