With rent increases on the rise, many people are deciding it’s time to purchase their first home. Whether it be a single family home, townhouse or condo, purchasing a first home is exciting, but can also seem overwhelming. Many people are concerned with their lack of funds, when it comes to a down payment. There are so many programs available for first time home buyers, that require little to no money down. To relieve some of the first time home buying stress, I’ve outlined the important steps that you will take on your road to becoming a first time home buyer!
With the current real estate market being so HOT, the first step in purchasing a home is to get a pre-approved. When you find a home that you would like to purchase and write an offer, the seller will usually only consider reviewing the offer if the buyer has been pre qualified. When you have become pre qualified the lender will provide you with a letter stating the amount of home you can purchase. This decision will be based on income, debts, credit ,etc. Having a pre approval letter shows the seller you are qualified to purchase their home.
Next, find a real estate agent to work with through the home buying process. A real estate agent has the experience and expertise needed to help you every step of the way. After selecting an agent, you will want to set up a home buyer’s consultation. At this meeting, you will not only get to know each other, but also discuss expectations of both parties. In addition, you will go over your needs and wants in a new home. After deciding you want to work with the agent, a buyer’s agency contract will be signed by both parties. Basically, this is a contract stating you will be working exclusively with this agent and he/she will be representing you.
And now the FUN begins! You will start looking at homes. When you find a home that you like and want to make an offer, your agent will pull comps in the area to make sure it is at fair market value. Your agent will write the offer, but you will decide what you want to offer. Your agent is there for guidance, but in the end you decide how much you want to offer, along with any contingencies. There are things that are negotiable, when submitting an offer: the price, any personal property you may want to ask for, how much earnest deposit you will put down and the closing date. With the HOT market we are in right now, remember that you may be in a multiple offer situation. Always try to put yourself in the seller’s shoes. In other words, if you ask for everything and go in with a really low price, you will probably lose the home. Once you have decided on your offer, your agent will write it up, have you sign it and submit it to the seller’s agent. The seller’s agent will then submit it to the seller. The seller will either accept the offer, reject the offer or counter the offer. If the offer is countered, it can go back and forth multiple times.
Upon accepting an offer with all parties signatures, the buyer has a certain number of days to have an inspection completed. Inspections are in the best interest of the buyer. It is paid for by the buyer, but can save on a lot of costly problems. After the inspection has been completed, the buyer’s agent will look over the inspection with the buyer. At this point, you can ask the seller to correct/fix/replace certain items, reduce the price of the home, ask for some money towards closing costs (this will allow you to pay for certain items needing fixed or replaced) or the buyer can accept the property “as is”. There are certain time periods to have everything completed and signed. Your agent will know the time allowed.
After the inspection is completed, items have been replaced/fixed, a couple of days, before the closing, you will have a final walk thru with your agent. At this time you will make sure everything is in working condition or in the condition stated on the seller’s disclosure. If items are not in the condition as stated, your agent will contact the seller’s agent. This may result in a delayed closing.
Once the walk thru is complete, it is time to close on your home! At the closing you will sign all required documentation, present down payment and closing costs. The earnest deposit that you put down when your offer was accepted, will be credited towards your down payment. Down payments and closing costs typically have to be in the form of a cashiers check. Your lender will advise you on this. The majority of real estate agents will attend the closing with you.
Moving day! You did it, you just became a first time home buyer and now get to move into your home.
Always check with a few different lenders, to get the best rates for your mortgage, along with the best terms.
There are so many first time home buyers programs requiring little money down. It is important to work with a reputable lender that is knowledgeable with the different programs available. If you don’t know of a lender, contact a real estate agent, they can usually send you in the right direction.