The path to homeownership is made up of lots of little steps that add up to one important purchase. We'll take you through the complete home buying checklist—most of which can now be completed online with the help of Better.
You can even download a printable version so you can mark your progress any time, anywhere.
Figure out how much home you can afford
The first step towards owning a home is to develop a good understanding of your financial strengths and limitations. Knowing exactly where you stand will help you negotiate with confidence and avoid situations where you’re financially overextended.
- Check your credit score
- Calculate your debt-to-income ratio
- Consolidate your down payment funds
- Get a sense for how much you can afford. Try using our Affordibility Calculator
- Start thinking about financing options
- Get pre-approved for a loan. Better can get you pre-approved in as little as 3 minutes
- Avoid hard credit pulls and/or switching jobs as these changes could require further documentation and delay your mortgage
Start the fun part: house hunting
Once you have your financials memorized, it’s time to begin your home search. Remember: dream big, but stay within budget. Explore and ask a million questions.
Remote option: When you work with a Better Real Estate agent be sure to ask if you can arrange for a virtual tour if you aren't able to to visit the property in person.
- Brainstorm your must-haves and dealbreakers
- Research your favorite neighborhoods
- Look at your preferred school districts
- Evaluate transit needs
- Try doing a dry run of your commute
- Check out pre-market listings
- Cruise the open house circuit
- Run the faucets to test the plumbing
- Flick switches to make sure there are no electrical issues
- Open and close all windows and doors
- Give the garage door a test run
- Double check that every feature is in working order
Assemble an all-star team to help guide you through the process
Buying a home is very much a team effort. Make sure you get the right people behind you—a little due diligence ensures that everyone has your best interests in mind.
Find the perfect agent to
bring it all together
Get local expertise and a $2k discount when you work with a Better Real Estate agent. *Terms and conditions apply
Recruit an attorney to help
with the paperwork
Get an inspector to do
a thorough examination
Find an insurance agent
that covers your needs
Did you know: Better Cover offers home owners insurance coverage to go with your Better Mortgage. See what’s available in your state.
Gather your mortgage documents to speed
If there are multiple people vying for the same property, the most organized buyer usually wins. Make sure to come to the table with all your documents at the ready.
Tip: Better Mortgage can help you get ready with fast uploads and processing speeds.
- Make sure to have 2 years of personal tax
- If you’re a business owner, include 2 years of business tax returns, K-1 statements if you own an S-corp, and your profit & loss statements
- Get at least 2 years of W-2s or 1099s
- Download 2 months or more of recent
- Get proof of alimony or child support
payments (if applicable)
- Have your pre-approval letter from
Better Mortgage on hand
- If you earn a fixed income, prepare to share your pension award letters, Social Security, and/or disability income
- If part of your income is from restricted stock units (RSUs), locate your written verification of employment (WVOE) from your employer and your vesting schedule
- Make sure to have 2 years of personal tax
Lock your rate and close your dream home
This is the final stretch, but it’s crucial. The team you chose will swing into action and help make sure the home you want becomes the home you own.
Tip: Better Mortgage closes 10 days faster than the industry average.
Make an offer and put down a deposit
Get loan estimates from
your mortgage lenders
You won’t find commission or origination fees on our loan estimates. That’s what helps us deliver more affordable mortgages to our borrowers.
Use points and credits to help adjust your rate and/or down payment
Choose a loan and lock your rate
Get a settlement agent to help with title insurance and closing
Get a appraised and inspected
Remote option: Organize a "drive-by" appraisal and go fully remote with a desktop appraisal.
Negotiate any necessary repairs
Schedule your closing with your
Sign and notarize all county and state
Remote option: Request digital document signings and arrange for a mobile notary service.
Record your purchase with the county
Remote option: See if your state offers e-recording to send documents online.
Make sure to do a final walkthrough
Get ready for the big move
Once you’re here, the hard part is essentially over. Now it’s time to make your dream a reality and start nesting. Congrats.
Pick up your keys
Pick out your movers
Outfit your new home with a security system
Save money on a SimpliSafe home security when you close a Better mortgage.