Money Smarts Blog

Buying a Home in 10 Steps

Mar 5, 2024 || Tasia Bunker, Mortgage Loan Officer

Woman hugging man while holding keys

So, you’re ready to buy a house. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time, but it can also be a little overwhelming — especially if you’ve never gone through the process before.

That’s where I come in. With nearly eight years of experience in the mortgage world, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to help members score new home wins. Let me walk you through the must-dos on my list so you know how to get started and what to expect.

1. Check your credit score

The higher your credit score, the more money you’ll save on your home purchase by qualifying for a lower interest rate.

2. Get preapproved

Having a preapproval in-hand when you’re ready to make an offer makes you a more attractive buyer. Plus, it helps you shop smarter by estimating how much home you can afford.

3. Find an agent

Having an experienced professional in your corner can help you navigate the home buying process and advocate on your behalf to make sure there won’t be any surprises at the end.

4. Go shopping

Narrow down your wants and needs (location, amenities, room features) and start touring homes that fit your budget. Keep your eyes peeled for any potential underlying issues (check water pressure, test the light switches, listen for traffic noise, etc.).

5. Make an offer

Today’s market isn’t quite as hot as it was during the pandemic, but you’ll still want to make a fair, yet competitive offer.

6. Get insurance

Mortgage companies require fire and hazard insurance on the replacement value of your new home. Flood insurance is also required if the property is in a flood zone. Once that offer’s finalized, contact IHMVCU Insurance Services by visiting

7. Schedule inspections

A whole home inspection (costing about $350) is one of the best ways to make sure your dream home doesn’t have any major, non-cosmetic issues that could cause future nightmares.

8. Get an appraisal

An appraisal (ordered by IHMVCU or other mortgage lender) is a professional assessment of the home’s worth, and ultimately determines your home loan value.

9. Final walk-through

This is your opportunity to make sure the seller went through with any repairs discussed prior to closing.

10. Close on your new home

You’ll meet at the attorney or lender’s office to review and sign all loan documents, transfer property ownership and get the keys to your new house. Expect this process to take up to an hour or more.

Have more questions? Talk to one of our Mortgage Loan Officers

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