Planning for Home Purchase


What Do I Need to Buy a House: The Essentials of Planning to Purchase a Home

It seems like the real estate market is constantly changing. Between applying for a loan, contacting a real estate agent, and looking for your dream home in the perfect neighborhood, the process of planning to purchase a home can be an overwhelming task without any clear direction of where to even begin.

The usual first question families have when planning to purchase a house is “What do I need to buy a house?” The good news is that by asking the question, you have started off on the right foot. Purchasing a home involves many different tasks and decisions, but most importantly, it requires thorough planning.

Planning to Purchase a Home

Before you even start looking at homes for sale, it’s very important to come up with a full plan. Start by creating a budget to determine what size house you can afford. This can help you begin planning to purchase a house and keep you organized and focused through the process. It can be easy to get ahead of yourself looking at all of the homes currently on the market, and understanding your budget will narrow everything down.

While determining the size of the home you can afford, it’s also important to think about the type of home you need based on family size and lifestyle. The home buying journey for a family looking for their first home will be a different search compared to a growing family or one transitioning into a multi-generational home. You will want to think as long term as you can when determining the home you plan to purchase.

Next, establish your necessary down payment. Based on your budget, you will know the price range you can afford.

  • Estimate that you will need between 3.5% to 20% of the purchase price, in cash, as your down payment.
  • The down payment amount can vary depending on the mortgage loan type you are securing:
    • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans require as little as 3.5%
    • Conventional loans require up to 20%

Working with a lender to be pre-approved for a mortgage helps specify the down payment you need. Plus, being pre-approved also shows your seriousness about purchasing.

Financing Secured, Now What?

With financing figured out some of the fun can start. You will need to make decisions about what you are looking for in a home, neighborhood, schools, etc. The question of “What do I need to buy a house?” can now change to “What do I want in the house I buy?”

In planning to purchase a home, you should think long term so you and your family can grow and be comfortable for years to come. It may also be helpful to consider looking into multi-generational homes, taking into account aging parents, or young adult children staying at home longer.


We suggest making a list of things you must have in the house you purchase such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size of the backyard, and any other home amenities that are important to you and your family. Make a second list of things you want in your neighborhood, including a pool, biking and hiking trails, parks, and what should be in your community including shopping, health care providers and facilities, sports and recreational areas.

Find Your Home

You first asked yourself, “What do I need to buy a house” and then you went through the process of planning to purchase a house. Now, you actually get to view available homes for sale that meet your budget and needs.

From virtual tours to private showings and open houses, touring and seeing all the options, you’ll start to envision your future in the various homes and the happiness you’ll share as you start a family or grow your family into a multi-generational home. Take notes as you view the houses, what you liked, disliked, or would want to change. Depending on how many homes you look at, they may start to blend together, but detailed notes can help overcome that.

From here, lean on the professionals in the real estate field, like real estate agents, mortgage lenders, builders, home inspectors, lawyers, and title companies to help guide you through the nitty-gritty parts of the process. You don’t need to go at it alone. Planning to purchase a house when you’re ready to start a family or finding the multi-generational home of your dreams should be enjoyable and exciting!

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