Buying a new home should be an exciting and thrilling experience. However, because there are so many different steps involved and a lot of paperwork to fill out, many people find the whole process rather stressful.

Whether it’s your first home or your third, you want to make sure that you can handle everything as quickly and seamlessly as possible. You have enough to focus on with the move and getting settled, so your real estate transaction shouldn’t be weighing on your mind.

To that end, we want to help put you at ease. When it comes to buying a new property, stress should not be a major part of the experience. In this article, we will outline five steps that can help remove this negativity from your next real estate transaction.

Step One: Have a Plan

Part of the reason why this process can be so complicated and cause anxiety is that most people don’t buy and sell property on a regular basis. As such, it’s easy to get confused about what to do at what time, particularly when it comes to paperwork.

To ensure that everything runs smoothly, you should follow the correct order of steps from start to finish. If you get things out of order, then it can snowball into a highly stressful situation. In the end, the more organized you are, the better off you will be. Here are a few ways to ensure that you’re ready for the home-buying experience.

Collect Financial Documents

For many people, financing a home is the only way to make it work. Since you probably don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around, a loan is the only method available to you to pay off your mortgage.

As such, it’s imperative that you collect all of your financial documents ahead of time. These can include (but are not limited to) bank statements, tax returns, 1099 forms and W2s, as well as rent checks or pay stubs. Any information that you can provide regarding your financial history and current status will help the loan process go by much faster and more smoothly.

Avoid Large Monthly Payments

When you apply for a loan, one of the things that lenders look at is your ability to pay over time. If your budget is stretched thin as it is, then you are much less likely to get approved. For example, if you spend the bulk of your income on bills and you barely have enough to cover food and gas, you can’t afford to pay back a loan.

Another issue would be other large payments that you have. These can include a car payment or a significant utility bill (i.e., cell phone) that wipe out the majority of your income. If you don’t have one already, avoid it until after you get approved. Even then, if it’s going to affect your ability to pay the loan, don’t do it at all.

Find Professionals

As smart and capable as you are, real estate transactions are not likely in your wheelhouse. As such, you should assemble a team of professionals that can help you along the way. Some examples include a mortgage broker, a title company, and, of course, a highly qualified real estate agent.

Having these people on your side will not only expedite the home-buying process, but they can alleviate a lot of the stress that you will face. Since these transactions are their livelihood, they will know what you need and when to complete certain tasks. Don’t try to do it on your own – you’ll save a lot of time, energy, and money in the end.

Step Two: Commit to a Real Estate Agent

Sure, this step may seem a little self-serving, but when you think about it objectively, it makes sense. A real estate agent is more than qualified to handle your real estate transaction, especially if it’s your first time. Do you know how to deal with lenders? Have you filled out all of the right paperwork correctly?

Without an agent in your corner, you will likely make mistakes that could cost you significantly. Here are few reasons why choosing the right agent will make your life so much easier.

No Out of Pocket Expenses: real estate agents get their money from the person selling the home. As a buyer, you don’t have to pay a cent. Getting “free” help from an expert in the industry is more than enough of a reason to get started, but it’s far from the only one.

He or She Fights For You: unless you have a lot of free time on your hands, chances are you don’t have enough time to focus yourself on buying a home. As a result, you won’t get to push for the house that you want. With an agent by your side, he or she will fight on your behalf to ensure that you not only get your dream house but that you get it on terms that work for you.

Less Hassle: for the most part, buying a new home is a full-time job. If you work and have a life, you won’t be able to do everything necessary to get the property you deserve. A real estate agent will schedule showings, locate and help you fill out the right paperwork, and guide you through any issues that may arise. All you have to do is pick the home you want, and the agent will do the rest.

Less Uncertainty: a lot of the stress of buying a new home comes from the unknown. Will your loan application go through? What does the seller think of you? How many other offers are being considered? These are the kinds of questions that an agent can answer (or find the answers to), thus removing a lot of the doubt from the equation. Any questions or concerns you have can be directed to your agent who will always be ready with a response.

In the end, committing to a competent and worthy real estate agent will lift a lot of the weight off of your shoulders. Since you aren’t an expert in this industry, why would you try to go it alone? Remember, you aren’t paying anything for the service, so what do you have to lose?

Step Three: Communicate Effectively

Even though we are living in the age of communication, too often we fail to do so effectively when it comes to these kinds of transactions. Whether you’re afraid that you will look foolish or you don’t want to “bother” your team of professionals, the fact is that it’s always a good idea to be in contact with them at all times.

Here are a few of the ways that you can make the home buying experience go much smoother through consistent and reliable communication.

Ask Questions!

It doesn’t matter if you think you’ll sound stupid or uneducated – it’s better to ask than to wonder. This rule applies particularly if you are concerned or unclear about something that you’re agreeing to. If something in your contract seems confusing, ask about it before you sign. You don’t want to have questions after you’ve committed to something.

Pick a Communication Method That Works for You

Do you prefer to talk via text or phone call? Is email the best way to reach you during the day? If you don’t let your team know this kind of information, you might be getting calls when you can’t answer them or emails might get lost in the shuffle.

Since there will be a lot of back and forth between you and your team, it’s essential that you have several open lines of communication. Emails might work best for paperwork, while texts are ideal for talking about open houses or asking random questions.

Be Direct With Your Team

Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases you will ever make in your life. Now is not the time to be shy or coy about anything. As we mentioned, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if it has to do with your financial requirements as a buyer.

Also, don’t hesitate to say if you don’t like something. If your agent shows you a house that you’re not 100% in love with, tell him or her immediately. Don’t worry about hurting your agent’s feelings – he or she does this for a living, remember. Your agent isn’t showing you houses as a favor to you; it’s to make sure that you find the right one for your needs.

Think about it this way, if you settle on a house because you weren’t direct with your team, that’s a decision you’ll have to live with for years. Are you prepared to handle that kind of commitment to something you aren’t sold on?

Step Four: Be Patient, Persistent, and Decisive

Buying a home is not something that you should take lightly. Unless you are in a significant time crunch, don’t be afraid to take your time with this process. Patience, persistence, and decisiveness are crucial assets to make sure that you are satisfied with your purchase.

Here are a few reasons that these qualities will be necessary to avoid stress, even if you don’t feel like you can rise to the occasion.

It may take weeks or months to find the house that fits all of your parameters. Never rush into a decision, even if you feel some pressure from either the seller or the agent. Remember, you are the one who will be living in this house, so you have to make sure that it’s 100% right for you.

Patience is also necessary if you have a limited budget. Homes that fit within your financial limitations may not be available very often, so you will have to take that into account. Not only that but getting approved for a loan can take a long time in some cases, so you have to be able to handle the wait, no matter how ready you are to move.

Once you do find the perfect home, don’t expect to be able to move in right away. In many cases, the closing process can take a while, so it’s best to assume that you won’t be able to do anything for a few weeks. This way, you won’t be surprised or disappointed at the results.

Finally, it’s necessary for you to make a decision about a home that you do like. If you are comparing different places and you can’t seem to make up your mind, you may lose out on the best choice because you waited too long.

As such, it’s helpful to create a list of deal breakers beforehand. These are elements of your house that have to be there for you to say yes to it. If any of these come up during the scouting process, you can cross it off your list.

Step Five: Be Flexible

Another significant cause of stress during this experience is being too rigid in your expectations. If you are unsatisfied with the majority of homes that you come across, it can feel like you’ll never find the right one.

On top of that, you have to realize that you will have to depend on other people to get your deal finalized. From the seller to the lender to the broker, many different items have to be signed off by a variety of people. As such, you can’t try to force things to happen of which you have no control.

In the end, while having a mentality of “never settle” is good to make sure that you don’t wind up with a house full of regret, it’s also crucial that you recognize the shortcomings that you will face. Overall, it’s best to remember these things:

  • You can always renovate and update the home
  • The neighborhood may change in a few years
  • You may decide to move again in a while, so this might not be your final destination
  • Besides your financial capabilities, almost everything else is beyond your control

As long as you can keep those elements in mind during this process, you should be able to avoid much of the stress that comes from buying a home. Also, remember that nothing is going to cause the end of the world, meaning that even the worst problem you face can be solved.


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