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 created by your agent 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 we said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many 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 like me 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, but we also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. we may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or 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!). We 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, work with your agent 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. We 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.
Cecelia was absolutely fantastic. She was quick to respond. Was able to help me with lots of options. When it came time to closing on my rental property, she was amazing at helping with little details in my lease. If you're looking for someone to help you find your future home or rental, she is the absolute best!— Seller
Cecelia was actually referred to us by my mom because we were having a difficult time getting started. We’re first time homebuyers so we have/had a lot to learn but Cecelia (and Amanda, our lender) made the process easy to navigate. Right from the beginning she was quick to set up viewings on houses we were interested in and gave genuine feedback when we really needed it. Ken and I have different work schedules and she was able to accommodate and was really quick about answering questions we might’ve had no matter the time of day. Follow up and communication was a really big factor me so I was very happy that we finally found a team that also had th...— Stephanie D.
Selling your house can be stressful. That is why partnering with the right Realtor® is key. I feel like it was serendipitous that AOG Realestate was our Realtor®. They are not only professional, very thorough, savvy, and get results. Before our house was listed we had people wanting to look at it. It was sold quickly and we were well informed every step of the way. We would not have wanted to have this experience with anyone else. We didn't have a bit of stress and knew we could depend on our Realtor® to keep us informed and on track. I highly recommend AOGThanks for everything!— Buyer | Seller
I recently had the pleasure of working with Amber for the sale of my home and the purchase of a condo. She effectively handled both transactions concurrently and kept me abreast of every detail. It's well known that the home buying/selling process can be tricky. Amber was always available to answer any questions that I had or to explain something that I did not understand. She is knowledgeable and a dedicated professional, someone that I would certainly recommend to my family and friends.— Laronda S.
Amber is the absolute best! As our Realtor®, she went above and beyond to meet our house purchasing needs. She was very attentive to my husband and me and helped us "first-time buyers" understand all of the ins and outs of buying a house. Amber helped us get the best bang for our buck by negotiating and staying firm with our offer! Please, if you are in the market for buying or leasing, check out Amber!— Rosetta T.
Amber is awesome! She leads a dynamic group that operates at the highest level of professionalism. For an amazing home buying experience with a highly competent team, there is no need to look any further than AOG Real Estate.— Darrell P.
Amber provides exceptional service and she was well versed in her knowledge of the real estate industry. It was a speedy and smooth process. It was a pleasure working with her and I will be using her services again.— Riann D.
I can’t say enough about this broker- professional, knowledgeable, and cares about her clients. She makes the process as stress-free as possible. I will call her for my future real estate needs.— Cecilia B.
Wonderful person to work with, friendly, always available, and gives great advice. I would recommend her to anyone buying a house or looking to sell their own.— Keith E.
A lovely individual who goes above and beyond. Very talented and sweet. Would recommend her to any and everyone who is looking to purchase a home.— Kenneth F.
Amazing. Truly grateful to have come across them. Highly recommend!— O'Cee B.
Very genuine people.— Chukwuso O.
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