For Buyers

Buying your first home can be quite exciting, but it can also be quite stressful. On top of the endless paperwork, it can be quite a big learning curve, and for many, quite scary to invest thousands of dollars into a down payment and commit yourself financially for 10-30 years. Fortunately, the home buying process can be made much easier by following a few pieces of advice.

Before starting, the best thing you can do is to get in touch with a well experienced, licensed, and qualified Realtor. Realtors can actually save you time, money, and headache by asking you all of the questions that you never thought to ask yourself and helping you understand all the details of the paperwork and contracts. A Realtor will also help you prioritize what’s most important versus what’s nice to have in a home. Last, a Realtor will help you through every step of the process, and may even know about programs you’re qualified for. The vast majority of first time home buyers never get everything they want in their first home, but a Realtor can definitely help you find what you need, and then some. Before looking at any properties, some of the things a Realtor can help you answer are:

• Do you qualify for a loan?
• What is your possible price range?
• Which programs do you qualify for (FHA loan, down payment assistance, government grants, etc.)
• Which areas should you look at (school zone, commute time to work, etc.)?
• How many bedrooms can you live with, and how many bedrooms do you ideally want?
• What amenities do you have to have (large kitchen or large backyard for example)?
• Etc.

Once you have a better understanding of what you need, what you want, and what you can realistically obtain, the next part of the process is to look at homes. Again, your Realtor will help you do this, and along the way explain the pros and cons of purchasing a short sale home, a new home versus older home, which homes are priced high, which homes are priced at value, and realistic bids to give you the best chance to secure the home. A Realtor will also help you understand additional paperwork like home inspections, termite reports, roof inspections, possible chimney problems, pool inspection, HOA documents, purchase contracts.

Along the way, a few minor things to note. If you’re thinking about buying a home, or if you’re in the middle of the process, if reasonably possible, try to pay off, or reduce, any credit card debt, student loans, car loans etc. Additionally, do not open any new credit cards or retail store cards, or anything that can go on your credit report. Before taking any action, the best advice to follow is to seek the guidance of your loan agent and Realtor to determine the best action in order to help you secure a favorable loan.