Buying a House: Phase 1
Make A Plan and Hire Your Team!
Congratulations! You’ve decided to buy a house! Maybe this is your first house or perhaps you’re a seasoned pro? Either way, we are here to guide you through the home buying process in three simple phases.
Phase 1: Make A Plan and Hire Your Team
You’ll want a team you can trust when it comes to buying a home. In fact, by the time you’re handed the keys to your new house approximately 30 professionals will have helped you along the way. But don’t be overwhelmed! You only need to focus on two key players.
Step 1: Hire Your Agent
A licensed real estate professional provides much more than the service of helping you find your ideal home. Realtors are expert negotiators with other agents, seasoned financial advisers with customers, and superb navigators around the local neighborhood. A professional Realtor is your best resource when buying a home.
LET A REALTOR BE YOUR GUIDE
- can save you endless amounts of time, money, and frustration.
- knows the housing market inside and out and can help you avoid the “wild goose chase.”
- can help you with any home, even if it is listed elsewhere or if it is being sold directly by the owner.
- knows the best lenders in the area and can help you understand the importance of being pre-approved for a mortgage. He or she can also discuss down payments, closing costs, and monthly payment options that suit you.
- is an excellent source for both general and specific information about the community such as schools, churches, shopping, and transportation — plus tips on home inspections and pricing.
- is experienced at presenting your offer to the seller and can help you through the process of negotiating the best price. By bringing objectivity to the buying transaction, he or she can point out the advantages and the disadvantages of a particular property.
And the best thing about your Realtor is that all this help normally won’t cost you a cent. Generally speaking, the seller pays the commission to the Realtor.
Step 2: Secure Financing
Unless you’ve got a rather large coffee can of cash buried in the back yard, chances are you’ll need to obtain a loan to purchase your home. In real estate terms, this is called a Mortgage. There are a wide variety of mortgage loan products out there today. Talk with your lender to determine the right fit for you.
Common Types of Financing Available:
- Conventional Loan – Downpayments as low as 3%. No mortgage insurance options. Low monthly mortgage insurance, if required.
- FHA Loan – 3.5% down payments. Gift funds allowed for down payment. Higher debt-to-income ratios allowed.
- VA Loan – For US Military service members. 100% financing options available. No monthly mortgage insurance.
- USDA Rural Loan – 100% financing options available. Thin or alternate credit allowed. No maximum sales price.
- Construction / Renovation Loan – With a renovation or new construction loan, you can afford to turn a fixer-upper into your dream home or build it entirely from scratch.
Learn more about Mortgages on our Mortgage 101 page
Step 3: Narrow Criteria
The next priority is to develop a detailed description of the home you hope to find. This is where the Buyer Consultation comes in handy. We will schedule a meeting with you to help you solidify your list and determine your wants vs needs when it comes to features. Be specific. Include architectural style, number of bedrooms and baths, location, lot size, and other special requirements. Number your preferences in order of greatest importance to you. We’ll also educate you on the current status of the real estate market in you area so you are well informed!
Congratulations! You’ve just completed Phase 1 and are ready to enter Phase 2: Find the House and Make an Offer
Fears & Facts About Buying Your First Home
FEAR #1: I can’t afford to buy a home now.
FACT: If you are paying rent, you very likely can afford to buy.
FEAR #2: I should wait until the real estate market gets better.
FACT: There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. All you need to do in the short run is find a good buy and make sure you have the financial ability to hold it for the long run.
FEAR #3: I don’t have money for the down payment.
FACT: The lack of substantial down payment doesn’t prevent you from making your first home purchase.
FEAR #4: I can’t buy a home because my credit isn’t very good.
FACT: A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily stop you from buying a home.
FEAR #5: I can’t afford to buy my dream home.
FACT: The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now.
FEAR #6: I should wait to buy a home until I get married.
FACT: There is no reason to wait.
FEAR #7: Buying a home seems way too complicated.
FACT: Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated — there are many professionals who will help you along the way.
Phase 2: Find The House and Make an Offer
Phase 2 is the fun part. This is the part where it really is like they show on HGTV. Ha! Your agent will schedule showings at homes that meet your criteria. Together you’ll view homes and determine which one is best for you. We’ve got some tips on how to keep all of these homes organized.
Once you find the home you love it’s time to make a offer. We will guide you through this step and help you identify important things like closing date, purchase price, and more.
When the Seller accepts your offer, you’re now Under Contract! There are several timelines that begin as soon as this happens. We’ll walk you through some of the most important ones to consider.