Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.
Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.
Whether you are purchasing a primary residence for you and your family or a beautiful vacation home in which to celebrate special events and enjoy relaxing vacations with relatives and friends, you have to decide what you wish to spend. A mortgage company may pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, or you may have adequate funds in your portfolio but not wish to pull them out. Make sure you remember to consider additional expenses such as real estate transfer and local property taxes, utilities, or HOA fees that could easily effect your budget.
Moving money around can take some time and effort. Or, just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Talk to your tax and/or financial advisor or mortgage professional early in the process. This will be an advantage when you make an offer on a home.
Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. We may be able to save you time from considering certain homes or neighborhoods that do not fit your needs, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.
Our goal is to provide you with personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We 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, where the sun rises and sets, and how close it is to necessities like schools, grocery stores, hiking and biking trails and ski runs.
Once you have selected the perfect home, we will work with you to craft an offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Some factors to consider are what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market. We can help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go "under contract" or "pending".
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. We 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, subject to the terms of your contract, you can withdrawn your offer.
Now is the time to go get your finances in order. If you need to move money around, you have time to do it now. If you are getting a loan, you will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or other special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.
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. If you are not getting a loan, you can chose whether or not to obtain an independent appraisal.
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.
Laura & Bruce are dedicated to helping you find your dream home and assisting with any selling needs you may have. Contact us today to start your home searching journey!