Are you a first-time homebuyer excited to purchase your first home? Are you wanting to upsize or downsize and it's been years since your purchased your current home? Below are some steps to follow to help you prepare and determine whether you're ready to move forward!
1. Getting started:Meet with a reputable REALTOR that will work with you and guide you through the process. When buying a home – you’re not just purchasing a house, your are making an investment in your future. Many questions will arise that your REALTOR can answer and help you with. He/She can also help you find a reputable lender to get you pre-qualified as well as help you through your loan process.
2. Pre-Qualify:Meet with a mortgage broker to find out how much you can afford to pay for a home. It's important to know how much you can afford as well as how much you are willing to spend. In other words, you may qualify for a $2,000/month payment but you may only want to pay $1,200.00/month. This step will help you determine the purchase price of the home & price range you will be searching in. This step helps you to avoid disappointment by looking at homes that are not in your price range. Sellers are much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-qualified when making an offer. Your Mortgage Broker will provide you with a Pre-Qualification letter which you should provide to your REALTOR. When making an offer, the listing agent may ask for a copy of the letter to show the sellers that you are a serious buyer for their property.
3. Wants vs Needs List:Make a list of your wants in your home, the wishes & things you would like to have (fireplace, granite, wood flooring, covered patio, swimming pool, etc) but that are not absolutely necessary. Then make a needs list. This should include items you must have (number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, garage, school district etc). Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for. Communicate your wants vs needsto your REALTOR to help you find the home that will be the best investment for your family.
4. Getting Started: Now the search is on. You will want to search the MLS, internet & newspaper ads for homes that fit your price range, your needs as well as some of your wants. You will want to stay on reputable websites such as your REALTOR's website, their office website or Realtor.com. Communicate with your REALTOR the homes your are interested in that you would like to view. Your REALTOR will also be searching the MLS diligently to find one that suits your needs! When you begin your search, try to remove your emotions of purchasing a home and think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don’t make a quick decision you may later regret.
4. Making an offer: You have found a house and now you are ready to make an offer. Remember that a few dollars you spend now may save you a big headache later. Keep in mind you will want to include 1) an inspection & mortgage contingency in your written offer, 2) have the property inspected by a professional inspector, 3) have a professional come out to check any concerns that may have arisen during the inspection while you are still in your option period (such as electrical, roof, structural, plumbing etc), 4) ask to do a final walk-through your new home to be within 24 hours of closing. This is the time you can confirm repairs that may have been required were completed as well as make sure no changes have been made to the home that were not agreed upon (such as removal of blinds, ceiling fans, shrubs etc).
This may all seem rather overwhelming to a new home buyer as well as any home buyer. As a professional REALTOR, I highly recommend you have represention to help you through the process. Feel free to call me directly or email me to get you started in the process of purchasing your new home!
ASK for my FREE GUIDE FOR HOUSE HUNTERS & PREPARING TO BUY booklet! I will gladly mail you one or you may stop by my office to pick one up!