Buying a home is both an exhilarating and stressful experience—whether you’re a real estate aficionado or are delving into the home buying process for the first time. But with the right support system and a little help from some trusted professionals, you’ll be settling in to your dream home before you know it!
To help you through the home buying process, we created a first-time home buyer’s guide. This guide will break down the steps of buying a home so you can start the process feeling completely prepared. From figuring out your budget to finally being handed the keys—we’ve got some helpful tips for you right here!
1.) Ask yourself: “Is it really time for me to buy a home?”
Before you even start looking, it’s important to consider why you want to buy a home. Because you’ve heard that renting costs more than mortgage payments? Or maybe because you are planning on living in the area for a longer period of time? By taking a moment to consider why you want to buy a home will allow you to narrow down your wishlist and will help you make important decisions down the road.
2.) Start saving early
While you may have heard that you’ll be required to put 20 percent down on a home, many lenders will now permit much less, with some first-time homebuyer programs allowing as little as 3 percent down. Before you embark on your home search, we recommend sitting down with a mortgage agent to help determine your buying power. They’ll be able to help you figure out what you can afford and how much you should put towards a down payment. They can also help you get pre-approved for a mortgage, which will put you at a massive advantage when submitting an offer on a home.
3.) Define your goals
Break out the yellow notepad and make a list of all your wants and needs! What is it that your dream home absolutely has to have and what are the things that you could live without? Some examples include: how many bedrooms you need, what neighborhood you would like to live in, and how much work you want to put into your new home. Knowing your preferences before going into your official home search will help you narrow down the list of prospective homes.
4.) Pick an agent
Buying a home, especially for the first time, can be an incredibly stressful experience. To help you through the process, you’ll want a Cutler Real Estate professional by your side! Your agent will help guide you through your home search, purchase agreements, inspections, closing, and anything else that arises during your home buying journey. You can find a full list of our knowledgeable and qualified agents here or, contact us and we’ll be able to help find the perfect agent for you!
Finding Your Dream Home
1.) The Search
At this point in the process, you and your Cutler agent will start touring homes around the area. During this time, make sure to take advantage of one of our many helpful, home search tools. Use our Map Search Tool to easily find homes that fall within your specific criteria in a specific area. And create a free account with Cutler Real Estate to get real-time property alerts sent directly to your inbox, save searches, and find your favorite properties at home or on the go.
2.) Stick to your budget
When you find a home that you love, it might be tempting to put in a high-priced offer that’s sure to win. But don’t spread yourself too thin—stick to your budget to avoid a mortgage payment you can’t afford. Remember that you made a budget for a reason and try to let that home go. We know it’s hard.
3.) Making an offer
Finally, you’ve found “The One”. It’s within your budget and has everything you’ve been looking for. Now it’s time to make an offer. Your agent will help you negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the area. They will be with you every step of the way as a liaison between you and the seller’s agent and can answer any questions you may have during the process. If your offer is accepted by the seller, you’ll officially be under contract!
After you’ve signed your name on the dotted line, you’ll go into the due diligence period before you officially close on your home. During this time, you’re likely freaking out—that’s okay! You’ve made a huge, life-changing decision and you’re completely allowed to panic. Just breathe. And remember that buying a home is a valuable long-term investment.
You’ve made it! Closing day is finally here. This is the final step of your home-buying journey. Closing is the official transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. At closing, you’ll sign your mortgage paperwork and solidify your purchase. From there, you’ll be handed the keys and can break out the champagne because you’re officially a homeowner! Congratulations!
We know a thing or two about real estate, so give us a call! We would be happy to answer any questions you have about the buying process.