You are buying your first home. Congratulations!
You’ve saved a down payment, but now where do you start? What should you do first?
While you’re excited to get started, it can also seem overwhelming. So let’s talk a little about the process and take some of the mystery out of it.
The first step is to find a lender
You might start with the bank you already use for your checking or savings accounts. You could also ask friends and family…anyone who has bought a home or refinanced would be a good source of information for you.
The goal is to find out how much you can qualify for and what it will cost to buy. There are many online calculators, but they only look a small part of the package, a mortgage broker will talk with you in depth.
Once they qualify you, you will receive a pre-qualification letter that you will use to write offers.
Once you know how much you can afford, it’s time to contact a real estate agent
Again, referrals are a good resource. You can also look online and start contacting agents in your area.
Your real estate agent is going to help you with one of the largest financial transactions in your life, so make sure you talk with a few.
A good working relationship is important as well as their experience and market knowledge. The right agent can save you thousands with their negotiation skills and experience.
As you begin your search for your first home, it’s important to note that buying a house is not a single decision….it’s a series of decisions.
As long as the answers to the questions continue to be “yes” then you’ll move through the process. When an offer is accepted by all parties, you will then start the real work of the transaction.
You will have contingencies to the sale which include
- the home inspection
- appraisal, termite report
- home owners association rules
- loan approval
- seller disclosures and others
All these issues will be explored during the contingency period.
During this time, your deposit is protected. If anything is discovered that makes you unwilling to continue the sale, then you cancel the transaction and the deposit is refunded. All contingencies are removed in writing, so rest assured that if you have not signed a release which says that you are protected.
When you first meet with your agent, talk about these items. Ask about the process and how they manage a transaction.
It’s important to find an agent with the experience to handle any issues that might come up. They should have a list of professional inspectors and other vendors that they can recommend to make sure that you are getting the best information possible about the home and conditions which could affect it.
Buying your first home is exciting. By finding the right real estate agent and lender, it can also be a simple process.