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 our team 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 agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.
Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.
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. We 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.
The Bailey Group was very helpful in finding the home of our dreams. They made the home-buying process simple and easy to understand. I would highly recommend this group to anyone buying a new home.
Brooks did an incredible job listing and selling my house getting me more than I had hoped for and for setting me up perfectly for my new purchase. I can't imagine using anyone else to buy or sell my next home.
Brooks helped us find an amazing vacation home! It was perfect in every way and he helped facilitate the transaction seamlessly. Highly recommend him! Note: we buy 5-7 houses a year and he is among the best!
We had an amazing experience working with books. He helped us to sell a house. He was very knowledgeable, honest, easy, and fast in communication. He fought for us to get the best with our selling process. We super recommend Br...
Brooks was a terrific agent. He was communicative and transparent with a sale that he handled for me in California while I am on the east coast. He listened to what I wanted and delivered. I trusted his judgment and he is a nic...
Brooks was by far the best agent I have ever worked with. He was knowledgeable and well-connected to the market. He helped with every step of the buying process, called to check in on me, and also had amazing referrals for othe...
Brooks went above and beyond any agent, I have ever dealt with! He made us feel completely comfortable and at ease during our entire process! I felt minimal stress even during the covid pandemic. I can’t thank him and his team ...
Brooks was a great partner in the entire process of purchasing our new home. He spent a lot of time with us finding the right place, patient and helpful as we considered our options. When we found the one we eventually purchase...
Brooks always has ideas of how to take change a house for the better, while also having a lot of foresight of potential future concerns. Throughout the process (and even after closing!) he has been there every step of the way m...
Brooks has unparalleled knowledge of the local real estate market and as well the surrounding communities, which gave us great confidence in deciding to relocate our family to a city we knew very little about. He and his team w...
Whether you're buying or selling a home, Brooks Bailey Group understands the importance of this major life decision and is committed to providing superb service every step of the way. Contact the Brooks Bailey Group today to make your real estate dreams a reality.