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 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.
Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In some cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.
Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.
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 I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, I also have a knowledge of the market that only comes with being a full-time real estate professional. My responsibility is to manage the entire transaction from start to finish and give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.
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.
Once you have selected the perfect home, we will work together 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you want a Realtor® that will have your best interest at heart, I would work with Tara Cardinal. Tara is passionate about finding the right home for the right person.
I absolutely loved working with Tara. She is great!
Tara is so enthusiastic and accommodating. Would definitely recommend her.
Tara is awesome! Extremely knowledgeable, relatable, and very pleasant! Highly recommend!
Tara was wonderful! Had one Realtor®, not happy and switched to Tara. She is tremendous and will do anyone a great job! Great person, a great Realtor®, goes the extra mile, and will get things done!
Tara was awesome to work with! She went out of her way to come show houses at the last minute. She found us an amazing mortgage agent to work with as well. If I need an agent again it will definitely be Tara. Highly recommend!
If you want the best, Tara Cardinal is the solution to all your Real Estate needs. Her professionalism, resourcefulness, and communication are second to none! She exceeded expectations in every aspect of the sale of our home. W...
Tara was exceptional at helping us with our search for the perfect home! I would especially recommend her to any first-time home buyers. The process was stress free knowing she was behind us every step of the way. She stays in ...
Tara is the best! She was thorough and professional and great to work with. She kept me apprised about available appointments and always let me know as soon as something new that was a good fit for me came on the market. She wa...
What an amazing experience this has been. Buying/selling a home can be very hectic with all of the moving parts that need to be in place to make the transition smooth. Tara is so knowledgeable her ability to pinpoint comparable...
Tara combines an innovative marketing strategy with superior networking skills to expedite the sale of your home while maximizing your proceeds.