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  • Writer's pictureTeam BlueBid

What Are the Steps to Buying a House in 2024, and How Can It Be Better?

If you want to buy your first home in Massachusetts in the coming year, this is the best time to start taking steps to prepare. Although real estate prices in many states have risen sharply over the last year, the Massachusetts housing market has only risen by 1.8% over the last 12 months.

You’ll be better prepared to take advantage of the market conditions if you know what to expect at each stage of the buying process.

Prepare Your Finances

Among the steps to buying a house, the first thing to do is to evaluate your credit. Taking the time to pay down your debts will boost your credit score and reduce your debt-to-credit ratio. These factors will determine your eligibility for mortgages with traditional lenders and help you obtain better borrowing terms.

Additionally, use this time to save for a down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. In addition to a 20% down payment, Massachusetts closing costs usually come to 2% to 5% of the sale price. This range will vary, so it can help to ask your real estate agent for specific information.

Start Looking for a Lender

While some people may not look for a lender until they find a home to buy, that can be a mistake. In a competitive market, the time it takes to find a lender can give the seller time to consider another buyer’s offer. You’ll have more bargaining power if you already have a mortgage lender and a pre-approval letter.

The pre-approval letter will also help you set a firm spending limit, which makes this one of the most important steps to buying a house for the first time. Since today’s lenders can be stricter about ensuring their customers can repay their loans, this pre-approval will help you stick to an actionable budget.

Search for a New Home

Once you have completed these financial planning steps to buying a house, you’re ready to begin your search. Most buyer’s today find their future home online. You can turn to all the traditional online listing websites, and you can also enhance your search by engaging in new platforms that show off-market homes for sale!

Submit Your Offer

One of the key steps to buying a house for the first time is submitting your offer. Making an offer is often a more complex process than buyers expect. There may be other buyers who have expressed interest in the property, or the seller may be holding out for a higher price.

This is another reason many homebuying tips recommend working with an experienced real estate agent. Your agent can negotiate on your behalf. They may have information that they can use to convince the seller to accept your offer, or their negotiating skills may just be more persuasive.

Initiate Loan Processing and Underwriting

At this stage, the seller has accepted your offer, and you’re ready to proceed. The lender has several steps involved in processing and underwriting your home.

Home Inspection

You’ll need to schedule a home inspection to ensure the property meets certain standards. The inspection will inform you about major issues — such as a leaky roof or bad water heater — that will need your attention.

Title Search and Title Insurance

You’ll also have to pay for a title search. This step is necessary to ensure there aren’t any tax liens or claims against the property. Once the title search comes back clear, your lender will require you to pay for title insurance. It’s also a good idea to obtain your own title insurance policy to protect your financial interests.

Property Appraisal

A home appraisal verifies that the home’s value is equivalent to the sale price. If the sale price is higher than the property’s value, the lender may not allow you to proceed with the purchase.

Close on Your New Home

The last of the steps to buying a house is closing on your new home. It begins when all of the underwriting is complete and the closing reports have been fully processed. You’ll review these documents along with the seller to ensure all of the information is correct. You’ll also go over your mortgage details with your lender.

After reviewing and verifying the mortgage and property sale documents, you’ll sign everything. At this time, the deed will get transferred to you, and you’ll transfer the funds to the seller. Your real estate agent will guide you through this process before handing you the keys to your new home.

Planning Ahead Makes for A Better Homebuying Experience

Even if buying a home in Massachusetts in 2024 wasn’t on your list of goals, you can still start preparing for your first home purchase. Taking more time to prepare will help you buy a better home and obtain better lending terms. When you are ready to buy, you’ll be glad you took that extra time to plan for it.


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