So you’ve made the decision to buy your first home. Now what?
Here are the Top 5 things you need to know about the process:
1) Find a Local lender and obtain loan pre-approval
Before even walking into your first open house, you’ll want to find out exactly how much buying power you actually have. No sense falling in love with a home that’s out of your reach, then comparing it to everything within your price range, right? A lender will want to discuss your job history, tax returns, bank statements, down-payment monies and credit worthiness (also known as your FICO scores). All of this is done up front to determine how much house you can afford and which lending products are available to you.
2) Find your realtor (in other words, call Melissa)
The very next step is to find an agent. Not just any agent, though. Find an agent that understands your wants, needs and ultimate goals. Make sure that agent is highly responsive, has familiarity with the areas you’re considering, and is crystal clear on current market conditions. Side Note: There’s a misconception that dealing only with listing agents will get you a better deal or give you a better shot at securing the property. This is NOT the case. In that scenario, there is no guarantee to proper representation, not to mention the level of commitment from the agent or the buyers. But, I digress… more on that subject at another time.
3) Find your neighborhood
Finding out how much buying power you have will dictate which neighborhoods to consider your purchase. The best way to tackle this is to have a list of your Top 3 areas, and Top 5 back ups. Take into consideration your commute to/from work or nearest metro stop, schools, desirability of walkability to shops, restaurants, etc… These will all play a factor in determining which neighborhood would be best suited to your lifestyle.
4) Define Realistic Expectations
This one can be tough… Understanding the current real estate market can sometimes mean your first home isn’t your dream home. It’s the stepping-stone to your dream home. And it might not be in your dream neighborhood. Or, compromises may need to be had (think size or condition) in order to get into your dream neighborhood. Relying on your agent to expertly guide you through the process is crucial to achieving your goals while at the same time having a positive experience.
5) Be ready to make an offer
In today’s market, currently defined as competitive, once you’ve identified a property, you’ll likely need to act fast. That means having your pre-approval letter ready to go, your down payment in liquid form (cash in the bank), and an understanding of the paperwork – because there’s a lot of paperwork involved in purchasing a home.Presenting a Seller with a complete Offer Package demonstrates your readiness and willingness to act quickly and follow through on a purchase.
Finally, don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the process. Helping someone buy their first home is what I do (see step number 2 above). So let’s talk. We’ll schedule a consultation so I can learn more about your wants, needs and goals, and discuss the current market. My digital Buyer’s Guide will give you the overall process and start you on your way. And I’ll be with you to help from start to finish.