8 steps in buying a home in Kenya

“What is the first steps in buying a home?” What’s the process involved?” These among many other questions have been in many new investors in the real estate market.

Being a homeowner has been part of the “Nairobi dream” as far as the Nairobi River was in existence. Individuals have prided themselves in owning a space they call home. According to NAR, in 2021, 27% of all home buyers reported the major reason they purchased a home was the desire to be a homeowner.

However, the homeownership process is only easier on a script to many as the process looks strenuous and almost a risky investment. Buyers have certain expectations that do not particularly involve the processes of acquiring a house.

If most individuals were questioned, they would rather avoid the process and get handed over the house without much back-and-forth process.

However, an old adage remains true “It’s the truth you know that sets you free” Knowing and understanding the process it takes to acquire a home helps in demystifying the process and makes it much smoother.

In this post, we’ll provide 8 steps that would act as a guide for first-time home buyers explaining what buyers are to expect on the ground when purchasing a house.

1. Consider your financial health

Before you go online or to a real estate agent and fall in love with your dream house, it’s vital to consider your financial situation. This you do taking into consideration the amount required in purchasing the house and the expenses involved in running it. The outcome of this audit will inform you if you’re ready for the home acquisition journey or not. When auditing your finances things to consider include:

  • Your savings

Before purchasing a house, you should ensure you have an emergency savings fund of a little over three months. This is because purchasing a house requires many upfront costs that bring a toll on your finances.

Therefore, having a good amount of savings will help you stay afloat as you settle in the house. Lenders will look out for this before supplying you with a mortgage loan.

  • Take stock of your spending

You’ll need to know how you’re spending your money and where it’s going. This will help you know what to save up and what amount to allocate for the payment of your mortgage. You need to account for every cost such as food, car maintenance, etc. Be sure to be thorough.

  • Examine your credit

To qualify for a mortgage, you will need a good credit history, proof of paying your bills on time, and a maximum debt to income ratio (DTI) of 43%. However, lenders opt for a DTI lower than 36% with no more than 28% of your debt set towards servicing the mortgage.

Additionally, lenders prefer limiting borrowers’ PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and homeowner’s insurance) to 28% of their gross monthly income.

2. Your mortgage qualifications

Before beginning to look for a house, it’s important to check with your bank about the loan you qualify for. You will need to first get prequalified for a mortgage. Factors determining the amount of loan you qualify for are your debt, monthly income/annual salary, and how long you have been in your present work all these factors determine whether you will get prequalified for a mortgage or not.

Also, realtors will not spend time with you on house showing if you cannot tell them upfront how much you are willing to spend on the property. Therefore, this is a vital process.

3. Look for the house that suits your needs and features

According to NAR, in 2021, 31% of all home buyers felt they made no compromise regarding the purchase of the house. The only compromise that was made was in the price, size, and condition of the home.

There are a variety of options when it comes to purchasing a house. We have townhouses, mansionettes, bungalows, luxury villas, etc. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, depending on your preference, be sure to choose the right one.

Additionally, you should have a list of your needs or wants that you would desire your property to have. For example, the neighborhood, size, being detailed to check the kitchen, bathroom size, bedrooms, etc. Purchasing property is a big investment and although you have to be flexible on the list, you have to make it count.

Some of the things to consider include:
  • Neighborhood – is the community a friendly one to stay in?
  • Security – How is the security of the place?
  • Amenities – are there certain features in the community that make it ideal and convenient such as proximity to shopping malls, schools, playgrounds, etc.
  • Water supply
  • Electricity
  • Are the houses within the vicinity well maintained?
  • What is the commute time to CBD?
4. Find the right real estate agent

Consulting a real estate agent provides you with valuable information that’s not readily available to the public. Information ranging from the property you want to either buy or sell, neighbors, size of land, etc. 

This is information that’s not readily available on the internet and helps you make an informed decision in your purchase. The best part is that you won’t have to pay a single shilling to consult with them as they are being compensated by the seller.

5. Have a home inspection

After selecting a house of your choice, it’s important to go and see the house for yourself. Your real estate agent would be the one in charge of helping you organize this visit. This will help you determine if the house is ideal for you and if there are any repairs you would like made before closing the deal. It also helps to decide if you want to continue in closing the deal or not without a penalty.

6. Have the home appraised

This is similar to having a home inspection but for the lender. It helps the lender determine if this is a worthwhile investment or not. They also estimate the value of the house based on the market estimate. This helps in knowing if you’re paying a fair price for the house or not.

7. Coordinate all the paperwork

There is much paperwork involved in the acquisition of a house. Your lender is responsible for arranging for a title company to help you with the paperwork and for ensuring that the seller is the rightful owner of the house you’re purchasing

8. Closing the sale

When closing the sale, you will be required to sign all the paperwork required for the purchase of the house which includes your loan documents. Normally, it takes a few days for your loan to be funded and approved by the lender after the completion of the paperwork. Once the money has been wired to the seller, you’re free to move into your new home.

Conclusion

The reality is that when most individuals make their first housing investment, there are factors they haven’t put in place. This causes them to move blindly, and make mistakes which at times can be costly and result in them losing money.

It’s wise to start out your journey by doing prior research, knowing the real estate market, and better yet, getting the right real estate agent who will help smoothen the process.

Remember, before considering buying a home, ensure your savings and investments are intact, visit your lender to check if you’re qualified for a mortgage and how much. Also, consider your financial health as this investment demands a lot of your income.

Please free to consult with us in the event you need further clarification. Happy investing!

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