The Home Buying Process

1. Decide on Location

This first tip might seem very obvious to any buyer, however, first time home owners have typically been renters for several years. This means they have likely stayed in the same place for 12-24 months at most before making a move. So why is location, location, location crucial for your first home? The average homeowner lives in their house for seven years. You want to think of your life not just in the present, but where you might find yourself in the next five to seven years. So what we always suggest to buyers is to think of their current needs in a home, but to also think longer term than when they previously looked for rental properties.

2. Get Pre-Approved

Once you have settled on the location of your first home, you are almost ready to start the fun part of your buying process, the search! Before starting your search it’s important to get pre-approved by a mortgage professional. A mortgage professional can help a new homeowner find out what payment they can reasonably afford. When purchasing a home you may have to factor in differences in property tax payments, assessments (for condos and town homes), homeowner insurance, etc. Your mortgage professional can also discuss down payment options and potential programs available to a first time homebuyer. Many first time homebuyers assume that they need 20% as a down payment, but this is not required in all instances. Depending on your credit, income, and individual circumstances, some lenders may be able to approve you to purchase that first home with as little as a few percent down.

3. Find a Real Estate Broker/Agent To Work

With Many first time homebuyers incorrectly believe that their real estate broker will charge for assistance on their home search. Brokers representing buyers in a transaction are not paid by their buyer client (you), but instead paid at closing from the seller. So why not use the assistance of a trained professional to find your first home? Especially when that professional does not cost you a dime. A real estate broker not only helps assist you in finding a property, but can also help you connect with the right mortgage professionals, help walk you through your home inspection, and manage the entire process from showing to closing in an organized professional manner. We like to say, “let the chef do the cooking,” and your real estate broker can go a long way in helping protect your interests when buying your first home.

4. Give Yourself Enough Time To Search

You are about to embark on one of the most memorable moments of your life. You are buying a new home! Waiting until the last minute to search for this home can make this memorable moment a very stressful one. Many times buyers attempt to find their first home within 45 days of their current lease ending. Keep in mind that most closings with new lending laws take approximately 45-60 days from the time your offer is accepted. We suggest to our clients to begin searching at least three months before they need to move. Waiting too close to the date you need to move will absolutely put you and your real estate broker in a time crunch. Buying a home can be so much fun and exciting especially when we have the ability to take our time and find the right home.

5. Once you find the home you want, make an offer

The real estate market moves very quickly and when you find the home you want, you should prepare to make an offer. Your broker should send you a comparative market analysis (“CMA”). This CMA will show you the right initial offer point, and what the correct price is to purchase your home for.

6. Hire an attorney and home inspector

The first five business days after you go under contract to purchase your home, your attorney (and yes you should hire one) can make adjustments to better protect you through the buying process. Also make sure to hire a home inspector to do a full home inspection. It is crucial that you have a licensed professional give you a clean bill of health on the purchase of your home. Your home inspector can also help find items that you can negotiate to be repaired prior to you closing on the home (or you can negotiate a credit in lieu of these repairs).

7. Work closely with your lender

Work with your lender to get your mortgage approved once you are under contract, you must start working closely with your lender on getting your loan approved. Your lender may ask you for multiple documents and on multiple occasions. Work diligently to get them all the documentation they require to get your mortgage completely approved.

8. Close on your home and HAVE FUN!

Once your mortgage is approved, you will shortly after find yourself at the closing table. Remember to transfer utilities into your name, and once your closing is complete, move in and enjoy your new home!