As a first time home buyer, there are many questions you probably have. Where do I start looking? How do I find an agent? How do I qualify for a home? We’ve put together this blog post to help answer some of those tough questions to help you navigate through the home buying process with confidence to find the home of your dreams. We may not get all of your specific questions answered, so please feel free to ask in the comments section below or send us an email.
- Choose an Experienced Agent: A great Realtor will help you to understand the process of buying a home, from finding a quality home loan professional, to connecting you with the right title company when the time is right. They can help you to see the whole picture before you get to the individual steps to success and ensure you do not make any mistakes along the way! Having a real estate agent isn’t just for selling your home, you should have one when purchasing one as well. Remember that the seller’s agent works for them, not you! You really need someone in YOUR court, helping you through every step of the process to get the best house and best deal. We know a couple of really good agents off the tops of our heads, but you may already have someone in mind.
- Next up is the Loan Officer: He or she will be able to take you step by step through the process of finding out your credit score and repairing if need be, pre-qualifying you for a home loan so that you can be perceived as a “cash buyer” once you find the home of your dreams. He or she will also be able to communicate to you and to your Realtor what sorts of terms will be most advantageous for you to write into your Purchase Agreement, once you find “the one,” so that you get the very best deal possible based on your unique situation. He or she will also show you various programs and options to help you with #3…
- Set Your Budget: Going into a home search without a budget isn’t a good idea. You may think you can afford something that is higher in price or taxes than your actual budget will allow OR the bank may give you more money than you would like to afford. You don’t want to end up in a home you can’t pay for, due to not knowing all of your options and the payments that will be attached to those options! Here is an online budget calculator from mapping your future. They are just one of many online places to plan.
- Choose Your Financing: As a first time home buyer, you have a wide variety of options for financing, and sometimes your loan officer will be able to show your special first time home buyer programs that give special options for people just like you! Think about what kind of down payment you would like to provide and remember that the seller will require about 1% in earnest money. There are very low down payment requirements in many of the programs available today and your Realtor and Loan Officer can help you to decide which might work best for you. You will also want to take into consideration closing costs and any other fees associated with purchasing a new home. Don’t worry; we can walk you through it.
- Make an Offer: Now that you’ve found the home you have always wanted, it’s time to make an offer. You will want to do this quickly so you don’t lose out on your dream home! Consult with your agent so you make an offer that is in line with the actual value of the house and the terms they believe the seller will be likely to accept. A low ball offer may cause them to not take your seriously. Once your offer is submitted to the seller, your agent will notify if your offer is accepted or if there is a counter offer in response. Once your offer is accepted, the house will then go into Escrow. This means that the house is taken off the market (usually for a period of about 30-60 days) with the contractual expectation that you will buy the house once you have completed your inspection and financing processes.
- Get a Home Inspection: Most buyers, especially first time home buyers, choose to have a home inspection performed by a professional inspector. You will want a trained professional to inspect the property for quality, safety, and overall condition. If they don’t find anything serious, you will continue with the process. If the home inspector finds a serious defect that wasn’t disclosed by the seller, you can generally rescind your offer or negotiate a compromise with the seller. If you choose to cancel your offer at this time, you will receive your earnest money back.
- Close/Move In: Wow! Your offer was accepted and there wasn’t anything serious found in the home inspection! Now it’s time to move in. The closing process usually involves various areas of coordination that a good loan professional, Realtor and title representative will handle for you from their end; and then signing plenty of paperwork and more paperwork… And more papers! While the process may move quickly, make sure you have reviewed all of the paperwork as your title representative is explaining each document. This ensures you know exactly what you are agreeing to. Once you review and both parties sign-You are officially a NEW HOME OWNER. Congratulations!!!