Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

Purchasing a home can seem a bit daunting and stressful! But, with some preparation, patience, and the guidance of a good real estate agent, the process can go smoothly with only a few bumps in the road.

  1. Expect to experience a variety of emotions! This is a major investment that can create tension and unease at unexpected times. Remember to have conversations with everyone involved in the transaction, and don’t be afraid to share your feelings!

  2. You’re more than likely not going to get everything you want in a house! Your ideal house may not have been somebody else’s ideal house. Go in with an open-mind: paint and flooring are easy to change. PRO TIP: It usually takes about 2 years of living in a home to understand what you REALLY want. You will find ways to make what you have work, what you will want to change overtime, or wait until you have enough equity to sell and purchase something else.

  3. Pre-Approval for a Loan. Seriously, this is very important. Most sellers won’t even consider accepting an offer unless they know you can afford the home. It does not take long to get pre-approved. Ask your real estate agent for referrals for loan officers, or you can consult multiple loan officers to get the best rate. For a fee, you can consult with a mortgage broker who will find the best rate for you.

  4. Finding a Real Estate Agent you get along with. This is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, so it’s important that you can enter a deal knowing that your agent has your best interests in mind. Find an agent you can build a professional relationship with. Yes, you can fire agents! Yes, you can interview agents as a buyer!

  5. What do you want in a home? Prioritize what you want and what you can be flexible on. PROTIP: On average, it will take looking at 7 homes before you make an offer.

  6. Home Search. Let your agent know how many homes you’re comfortable seeing in a day. Expect to be tired and overwhelmed at the end of the day. Bring a notepad to take notes and take lots of photos or videos to help keep track. Ask Questions! PROTIP: Wear shoes that can be easily removed or covered in paper booties.

  7. Offers, Negotiations, Contracts. Once you found the home you want to make an offer on, your agent will run local sale comparisons and current market data reports. They will suggest the best terms and price to offer to help get your offer accepted. Once an offer price and terms have been discussed, forms will be signed and sent over to the listing agent. Your agent will discuss with the listing agent, negotiations will more than likely occur, and then there will be a waiting period. Once you and the seller come to an agreement on offer and terms, you enter a legally binding contract and open escrow! PROTIPS: Sellers have the options to accept your offer, deny your offer, or counter your offer. Also, doing a low-ball offer can backfire and insult the seller. This may ruin any chance of getting your offer accepted!

  8. Final Details. Inspections, finalizing the loan, performing other due diligence. Your agent will be there to help you every step of the way!

  9. CLOSED ESCROW! Once the loan has been funded and title has cleared, you are officially a home owner! PROTIP: In California, the average period from open-to-close of escrow is 30 days. This can be modified in contracts to be extended.

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