Business & Finance Renting & Real Estate

10 Steps to Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home can be a stressful experience - but it doesn't have to be.
As with anything else, if you take the time to fully understand the home-buying process, chances are you will not only have a more enjoyable experience, but you will also put yourself in a better position strategically to find the perfect home.
Here is a breakdown of the 10 steps I recommend to a potential first-time homebuyer: 1.
Attend a First-Time Buyer Workshop.
This is a great opportunity to learn the latest information and news regarding the national and local housing market.
You will be educated on the buying process, as well as provided with resources and materials to facilitate your search.
Oftentimes, there will be loan and escrow officers in attendance to provide additional information and resources to you.
2.
Select a Realtor.
You may wonder why you need a Realtor (or Buyer's Agent) and how he/she will help you in your home search.
A good Realtor will partner with you throughout the complete buying process - from finding the perfect home to getting your offer accepted.
Their loyalty is only to you as opposed to the Seller's Agent whose loyalty is to the seller.
The Realtor should fully understand your needs and take the appropriate steps to insure your goals are met.
He/she should work tirelessly on your behalf and put your needs and desires ahead of their own.
Ultimately, your Realtor will submit and negotiate offers for you, until your goal of home-ownership is realized.
3.
Obtain Pre-Approval from a Lender.
This is crucial for several reasons.
It will give you a clear understanding of the price of a home you can afford and obtain financing to purchase.
You will know the price point of homes to look at, and won't waste time and resources viewing properties that won't be right for you.
When you find the ideal property and your Realtor submits an offer on your behalf, you will be taken more seriously by the seller and will be in a better position to have your offer accepted.
4.
Begin Scouting Neighborhoods.
If you haven't decided on a neighborhood at this point, it's a good idea to begin researching and scouting areas of the city that appeal to you.
Things to consider are schools, crime rate, accessibility to public transportation, affordability, proximity to work, etc.
Get out and explore different neighborhoods, talk to residents, visit local restaurants, and walk around.
Do research online.
Chambers of Commerce and community websites are both excellent resources for learning specific details on any given community.
5.
View Homes Online.
Your Realtor should have a website that will give you access to the MLS - the same system that Realtors use to search for homes.
Once you know which area(s) you'd like to focus on, begin to view the properties online.
In addition to photos, you'll find information on features, amenities, price, homeowner's dues (if it's a condo), square-footage, and more.
6.
Tour Homes.
Based on your buyer's consultation, your Realtor will select properties for you to view.
You may have found homes online, as well.
Take notes while you're touring the homes and rate them on a scale of 1-10 (1 being "hated" and 10 being "loved").
7.
Compare.
At some point, you will have viewed and rated enough homes to be able to narrow your selection to a few favorite homes.
Your Realtor can guide you through the process of analyzing the details of each property so that you are able to select the property that best fits your lifestyle and requirements.
8.
Make an Offer.
Your Realtor will write and structure an offer on your behalf, with the ultimate goal of yours being the offer that is accepted.
Chances are you will receive a counter-offer from the seller, and it will be the responsibility of your Realtor to negotiate on your behalf to get you the best possible deal.
9.
Close.
Your Realtor will coordinate and supervise the preparation of all closing documents and guide you through the closing process, as well as help you resolve any closing issues.
10.
Move-in.
Congratulations! The day has finally come.
You are officially a homeowner and are moving into your new home.
Your Realtor will support you through this process by providing resources to simplify your move and being available to assist with any post-closing issues.

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