Purchasing a home marks one of the most thrilling milestones in your life. To ready yourself for this significant moment, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the process. This comprehensive, step-by-step guide, thoughtfully crafted by your real estate agent, aims to alleviate the stress of first-time homebuying and enable you to savor the journey to the fullest.
Buying a Home with Us
A STEP-BY-STEP FIRST TIME BUYER'S GUIDE
STEP 1: RESEARCH
Have you already pinpointed your desired location for purchasing a property? Have you decided between a condo, townhome, or a single-family home? What specific features are on your must-have and must-avoid lists? Are you aware of the current offerings in the market? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s crucial to begin your research now. While exploring homes that catch your eye, make sure to also track any fluctuations in asking prices. This can provide valuable insights into housing trends within specific neighborhoods and prove advantageous when you’re ready to submit an offer.
STEP 2: DECIDE ON YOUR BUDGET
Notice that I emphasized deciding on your budget, not solely relying on the amount a mortgage company approves you for. In many instances, mortgage companies may pre-approve you for a higher amount than you’re truly comfortable spending. This is why it’s essential to establish the monthly payment you feel at ease with before approaching a lender. This process typically involves creating a comprehensive household budget and accounting for any additional expenses that may arise once you’ve moved into your new home. If you’ve been living in an apartment or with roommates, it’s easy to overlook new costs such as trash disposal, water, or HOA fees, which can potentially exceed your budget.
STEP 3: GET PREQUALIFIED
Merely believing you can comfortably manage a specific monthly payment doesn’t guarantee that a mortgage company will concur. Just as they might approve you for an excessively large sum, they could also approve you for a lesser amount or reject your mortgage application altogether. Factors such as limited job tenure, insufficient credit history, prior bankruptcies, or other financial concerns can pose significant obstacles in securing a mortgage. Before setting your heart on a particular home, it’s wise to consult with a mortgage professional to ascertain the qualifying amount available to you. This will also be advantageous when making an offer on a property since some sellers may only consider offers from individuals who have already obtained prequalification for a loan.
STEP 4: CHOOSE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
Is it possible to shop for, view, and make an offer on a home without the assistance of a real estate agent? Technically, yes, but why would you choose to do so when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to alleviate much of the stress? Not only will I assist in identifying properties that pique your interest, coordinating viewings, and managing the offer process, but I also possess market knowledge that you may not have. I can potentially guide you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, recommend hidden gems, or offer insights that can help you discover your dream home at the right price.
MY GOAL IS TO PROVIDE YOU WITH THE MOST PERSONALIZED SERVICE THAT IS DESIGNED TO HELP YOU BUY YOUR DREAM HOME.
STEP 5: FIND THE RIGHT HOME
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.
STEP 6: MAKE AN OFFER
Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.
STEP 7: HAVE THE HOME INSPECTED
In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.
STEP 8: SELECT YOUR LOAN
Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.
STEP 9: GET A HOME APPRAISAL
Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.
STEP 10: FINISH PAPERWORK
No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.
After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.