Buying your first home can be a roller coaster of emotions! We found that out first hand a few months back, but it’s also soo rewarding. We were overwhelmed, but we were also equipped with an amazing realtor that was patient, full of answers, and simply beyond amazing! She made the process so much easier than we expected it to be.
Before you even begin seriously looking, get a pre-approval. Pre-approvals let realtors and sellers know that you are a serious buyer. This will save you a ton of time in the long run, but be prepared to be an open book. Have all of your paperwork organized and easy to find (don’t make the mistake I made and pack any of it up- because you’ll never know what they need at the last minute.) The required paperwork can vary, but in general be prepared to provide proof of employment, proof of income, bank statements, proof of current living cost, etc. Pre-approvals will let you know where you stand. You’ll know if you’re ready to take the next step and how much you’re approved for or if there’s a few extra things you need to do before you take the plunge.
Finding the right mortgage company can be overwhelming for a first time home buyer. Don’t fret! Ask around- friends, neighbors, and family members can offer some direction. However, if you still have no luck, a relator may be able to set you up with a mortgage company.
Shop around as well! We tried 3 companies. Company A told us no from the beginning, Company B approved us, and company C approved us as well at a slightly higher amount than company B. I ended up asking company B if they could meet Company C’s offer and they actually exceeded it a little. While we didn’t really need the higher amount, it did give us a little more room to search for.
Search, Search, Search
Finding the right home is a fun task that really brought my husband and I together. We loved comparing our thoughts, likes, and visions together. We used a variety of sites to locate homes on the market, but Zillow was by far the better choice and most accurate. We created a list of homes that were within our budget and preferences. We already had an idea of what we wanted, but searching also opened up some possibilities as well.
Create a list of 5+ homes that you want to see in person and send them over to your realtor. They will schedule viewings so that you can see the homes. It’s a good idea to continue looking-even after you think you’ve found the one. Once you start viewings, the real fun begins. I kept things organized by taking notes about each house so that I didn’t forget the little details that I liked or disliked about each one.
As you view the homes, imagine yourself living there, would your belongs fit, are the rooms big enough, how would you decorate, does the house fit you? These are among the questions that you’ll ask yourself.
The Finish Line
Once you viewed plenty of homes, You’ll eventually find the one you want and put an offer in. Be prepared to negotiate a little. Your realtor will help you through this process. This is where the stress came in for us, but be patient. Most sellers are willing to negotiate.
Once you’ve put an offer in and the seller accepts it- the real fun begins. You’ll have a full inspection, which may reveal some items that need to be fixed or replaced. Your realtor will help you decide which fixes are small that you may take the responsibility of and which ones you’ll want the seller to fix. You’ll have a final walkthrough with your realtor once those items are fixed as well.
Closing times can vary. We closed in about 30 days from the time that we made the initial offer. Be prepared to sign, sign, and sign some more. We went into closing and were very happy that the sellers were full of answers about the neighbors, area, and home. They also came prepared and had warranty papers on the work we requested to be fixed. We were beyond grateful because they made it easy for us. Once the papers were signed and the keys were handed over, we were officially home owners.
It’s a process, but it was so worth it. We found the home that was right for us and we had an amazing support team.