Buying your first home can be an extremely exciting, but overwhelming time. A lot of times first-time homebuyers overlook key steps and expenses in the process of purchasing their first home. It’s important to prepare yourself for what’s to come before beginning your home search.
Here’s an overview of what the home-buying process looks like and what you need to prepare for along the way.
First and foremost, you need to get pre-qualified before you begin searching for a home, and especially before placing an offer on a home. Getting pre-qualified will not only help you narrow down your field of search, but also gives you credibility with the seller when it is time for you to make an offer on a home. Home sellers will choose to negotiate with buyers who are pre-approved over those who are not because of the lower risk involved.
To get pre-qualified, bring your financial information to a mortgage banker for them to review. They will confirm how much they can lend you, giving you a clear idea of what price range of homes you should be looking at.
Hire an Agent
Really, hiring a real estate professional when purchasing a home for the first time can save you time, and most importantly, money. Not only do real estate agents know the ends and outs of the home market in your area, but they are also trained in negotiating contracts, which helps buyers save money! Plus, great realtors work hard to build and maintain a network of top vendors they can refer to you, like title companies, inspectors, and mortgage lenders. Of course, before hiring anyone, do your research! You want to make sure the agent is trustworthy and available to you and your needs.
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Submit an Offer
After you’ve found the home of your dreams, the rest is up to the real estate agent and their negotiating skills. This is why it’s important to make sure you are comfortable and trusting of the agent you hired. Work with your agent to determine a fair offer based on the value of the other homes in the neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached agreement on a price, the house will go into escrow.
What is escrow? Escrow is the period of time it takes to complete all the remaining steps of the home buying process. To enter into escrow, most sellers require an earnest money check or purchase agreement documents that are given to a third-party to hold until specific conditions are met.
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Time for an Inspection
Getting an inspection from a licensed inspector can mean the difference between a great buy and an utter money pit down the road. Normally, a home’s purchase is contingent on whether it passes the inspection. Inspectors are trained to look for any structural defects, hazards, and coding violations that can potentially damage your home and your wallet.
After receiving the final inspection report, you can either decide to wait and fix the issues yourself, or, in most cases, ask the seller to fix anything on the property before the close of the sale.
Congratulations! You’re finally ready to close on your home. At closing, you will sign all necessary documents required to complete the purchase of the home, including your loan documents. Once the loan is funded and the check is delivered to the seller, you are ready to move in!
Are you ready to find the home of your dreams? Get started by browsing our expansive list of homes for sale in your area.