Buying Guide

An Easy-to-Follow Guide for First-Time Home Buyers

Embarking on the journey to homeownership might seem daunting, but take heart! This guide simplifies the process, outlining clear steps to help you make that big move with confidence.

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Begin Your Home Search

Kickstart your journey towards homeownership by starting your research early. Look at various neighborhoods that pique your interest and keep an eye on the real estate market there. When you’re ready to place an offer, this information will be invaluable.

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Set Your Budget

It’s essential that your budget is a decision you make, not one determined by a mortgage company. Often, lending companies will pre-approve you for a sum larger than you’re comfortable with, so you need to figure out a monthly payment that suits your financial situation before involving a lender. An in-depth household budget is crucial, as new costs such as utilities and HOA fees can quickly creep up on you.

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Get Pre-Approved

Your perceived affordability of a monthly payment might not align with the mortgage company’s judgement. They might approve you for a lower amount, or even decline your application due to various financial factors. Therefore, before setting your heart on a specific home, consult with a mortgage professional for pre-approval. This not only gives you an idea of what you can afford but also lends credibility to your offer.

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Engage a Real Estate Agent

Yes, you could potentially navigate the home buying process solo, but why would you when a real estate agent can alleviate much of the associated stress? A real estate agent not only helps in identifying potential properties, scheduling visits, and handling the offer process, but they also possess market insights that you may lack. They could guide you away from certain properties, recommend lesser-known options, or give you advice to acquire your dream home at the right price.

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Search for the Ideal Home

This is arguably the most fun part of the process (aside from moving in!). I will coordinate visits to properties that align with your interests and budget. Make sure to inspect each home thoroughly and evaluate the neighborhood, traffic, parking situation, and proximity to essentials such as schools and supermarkets.

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Place an Offer

Once you’ve found the right property, collaborate with your agent to put together a fair offer, based on the prices of other similar properties on the market. Depending on market conditions and the listing price, your offer might be above, below, or at the asking price. I am here to help you navigate any counteroffers to reach an agreement.

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Arrange for a Home Inspection

Typically, offers are contingent on a home inspection to verify there are no structural issues or substantial repairs required. I can help you organize this. If the home passes the inspection, the process moves to the next step. If not, the offer can be renegotiated or withdrawn.

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Decide on Your Mortgage

After selecting a home, return to your mortgage lender to finalize the loan. They will provide options based on your financial circumstances, such as fixed or variable rates, 15 or 30-year terms, or special programs like VA or FHA loans.

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Obtain a Home Appraisal

The lender will arrange for an independent appraisal of your chosen home to ensure its value is fair for all parties.

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Complete the Documentation

The final step is paperwork, an essential but tedious part of the process. Your lender and title company will handle the arrangements. Once completed, you will legally own your new home.

Time to Celebrate!

Upon finalizing the paperwork, you are now the proud owner of a new home. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded after the paperwork has been returned to the lender. However, once the seller receives the check, you are ready to move into your dream home.