As a Realtor®, one of the top questions I have been asked when talking to people looking to purchase a home for the first time is, “What do I need to do? What do I need to do first?” Today, I am going to go through the process of purchasing a home for the very first time. Keep in mind, this is only a rudimentary guideline and know that there are always “things” that come up. So, let’s get to it!
1. Get Pre-Qualified!
There is no worse feeling for a first time homebuyer to look at homes that are out of their price range. This is a key step in the process. Find out what your price range is through contacting a lender and ask for the search to be done within parameters. If you qualify for a $200,000 home, chances are, you do not want to purchase a $200,000 home…remember, you have to have some financial margin in order to live! The pre-qualification process takes about 15-30 minutes on the phone or through an online form with a lender. Large National banks have a lot of red tape and not the best track record for customer service. Ask your Realtor for suggestions if you are unsure whom to contact.
2. Set up a search with your Realtor and go see houses!
This is where the dreams begin. Once your parameters have been set as to your price range, number of rooms, number of bathrooms, one story, two story, pool, city…you get the idea. This is key…GO SEE HOUSES! Notice the ‘S’ on houses…see multiple houses. Get a list of about 6-10 homes and go see them. You may have a favorite out of all those on your list, but it is always good to get a point of reference.
3. Select the home and make an offer!
After you have seen all the homes you wish to see, ask your Realtor to write an offer for the home. At this point, there is some trust that has to be extended to your Real Estate Professional. Keep in mind, it is their job to know the market, the area and suggest what a good offer for the home would be for you to make. In other words, on that $200,000 home, you do not want to offer $150,000 with the thought of negotiating through counter-offers because you heard someone did that one time. In fact, some agents will not waste time writing offers that they know have no chance of acceptance and they will tell you. Just think of it this way, if you were selling your home for $200,000 would you accept an offer of $50,000 less than you were asking? I am going out on a limb…NO!
4. Option Period, Earnest Money Deposit & Home Inspection
After an offer has been accepted, the option period of 5,7 or 10 days begins. The option period is a designated length of time that the buyer can pull out of the purchase without losing any earnest money. The earnest money is basically a portion of your down payment. Usually 1% of the sale price and deposited at the Title Company that is stated in the contract. The Title Company operates as the middle man for the transaction of the home sale. During the option period, I always recommend…GET A HOME INSPECTION! If you do not have an inspector, your Realtor can suggest one. This will tell you all the things about the home that are in need of repair. It is the inspector’s job to pick the home apart and find all the things that are “issues”. This is where the Realtor will make a list of repairs and submit it to the listing agent for repairs to be made before going through with the sale. This is done during the option period because the only amount the buyer would be out is the option fee and the home inspection fee. This is not much compared to a home you are paying $200,000 for that is a money pit for all the repairs that it needs.
5. Work with lender
Provide all documentation needed for underwriting your loan. Keep in mind, this is a lot of money. The lender will want all kinds of information from you from financial, job, marital past, etc. Work with them as the underwriting process can be trying at times…if you ever get frustrated, call your Realtor and vent to them! They can take it and usually offer some advice to the process.
6. Closing Date
Once the loan is approved and cleared to close, the closing date is set at the Title Company. Congratulations! You have made it this far. Now get your funding together for your down payment and whatever closing costs you will need and get to the Title Company to buy your home and start moving! You will only have one first home, the memories of that home will last forever.
Tommy McMahan, a professional realtor with Keller Williams of The Jessica Hargis Group based out of Rockwall, Texas specializes in helping families buy and sell homes in the surrounding communities. Being a resident of Rockwall, Texas, Mr. McMahan spends quite a lot of time in Forney where he is a little league baseball coach and enjoys community interaction with friends and family. He helps home buyers and sellers alike in Terrell, Allen, Colleyville, Plano, Flower Mound, Garland, McKinney, Mesquite, Grapevine, Keller, Murphy, Rowlett, Southlake, Wylie, Heath, Richardson, Forney, Sachse or Rockwall.
Whether you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced seller; for more information about buying or selling your home in surrounding communities of Rockwall, Heath, Forney, Terrell, Royse City, Fate, Rowlett, Dallas or Fort Worth, contact Tommy McMahan at 972.896.8046 or visit http://www.jessicahargis.com for great properties. Tommy can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.