Do you think you may be ready to buy your first home? Fabulous! Just be sure you have everything lined up in order to make this exciting time go as smoothly as possible. There is a lot to know so it leave it in the hands of an expert. As a buyer, you are represented by a Realtor at no charge so take advantage of this FREE service. That leads us to the first step…
Step # 1: Find a Realtor
Most first time buyers begin by searching the internet and finding homes that they like. It’s important to know how much you can afford so you don’t fall in love with a home that may not be in your price range.
You can find a good real estate agent online or through referrals from family and friends. If you know a homeowner, chances are they used a Realtor to help them purchase their home. Based on their experiences, they will recommend their agent if it was a good one. Be sure to go online and read reviews, check years of experience, how many homes they’ve sold and make sure it is in the area that you are wanting to move. You want someone who knows the neighborhoods, schools and local market to get you the best price.
Step # 2: Talk to a mortgage lender
Your Your Realtor will be able to suggest some local lenders that do not see you as just another number. Your agent will most likely be able to provide you with a few recommendations of lenders who will help you through the process of determining which loan is best for you including interest rates and estimates of closing costs and monthly payments.
Once you’ve chosen a mortgage lender and have been prequalified, it is time to begin your home search. During this time, your lender will be asking for a considerable amount of paperwork such as bank statements, tax returns, paycheck stubs, etc. in order to get your loan fully approved and get you into your new home.
Step # 3: Decide where you want to live
Now for the fun part… Once you know how much you can afford, decide where you would like to live. Keep in mind things like commute to work, school districts, and amenities that you’d like in your neighborhood. Don’t forget about special habits and interests that you may want nearby. Your Realtor will be able to help you narrow down neighborhoods and assist you with finding homes that meet your criteria based on size, price, and other must haves.
Step # 4: Take a tour
Make a list of homes that you are interested in seeing. Your Realtor will be able to map out the properties and schedule times to view each home. It’s a good idea to limit the number of homes you see in a day from about five to seven homes. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to see many more and remember which ones had specific features that you liked or didn’t particularly care for. You may want to make notes of pros/cons of each home as you are looking. This is a great way to help you narrow down your choices after you’ve seen all of the homes you are interested in seeing. Although, most buyers “know” when they find the home that is meant for them.
Step # 5: Make an offer
Finally, it’s time to make an offer. This is a good time to rely upon your Realtor’s market knowledge to help you make a “fair” offer that will not be offensive to the seller while allowing you to get the best price for the home. Have your agent run a comparable market analysis (CMA) of similar homes in the neighborhood that have recently sold. This will help you devise a reasonable offer. Your Realtor will write up the offer and review it with you. Your agent will then submit the offer to the listing agent along with your prequalification letter and negotiate on your behalf until an agreement is reached upon sales price, closing date, and other details in the offer.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will be busy getting inspections, obtaining Homeowner’s insurance, and setting up utilities and movers for your big day. A dedicated agent will be there to guide you through the entire process and beyond.