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A First-Timer’s Guide to Buying a Home

Friday, November 27, 2020   /   by Kayla Nelson

A First-Timer’s Guide to Buying a Home

Ready to move into your first home? It’s an exciting time, but there’s a lot to consider, especially if you’ve never purchased a property before. Range Real Estate is ready to help! Here’s a quick overview of the steps you’ll take on the path to home ownership:

Consider Financing

The first step is figuring out your budget. There is no point in starting to look at listings or tour homes you can’t afford. This increases your chances of falling for a house out of your price range, and either feeling disappointed in your options or making a poor financial decision in response. 

Instead, reach out to your bank to get a sense of your loan options. This will be based on several things, including your credit score, income to debt ratio, and how much you have set aside for a down payment. 

First-time homeowners may be best suited for an FHA loan, which NerdWallet explains has lower credit score and down payment requirements than conventional loans. However, these typically come with private mortgage insurance, which can make monthly payments a bit higher. Talk with a loan officer to figure out the best fit for your situation. 

Find an Agent

Once you have a sense of your budget, it’s time to reach out to a real estate agent. There are several ways you can find a trustworthy, competent agent. Your best bet is to reach out to a local agency, because they know the terrain inside and out. 

Some agencies, like Range Real Estate will also give you 10% of their commission to help with your closing costs! That's 20% of commission going to exactly where it's needed most! 

They offer a huge discount to essential workers, plus they can connect you with other businesses offering essential worker discounts. Walnut Creek residents similarly can count on 10 percent off, plus Range Real Estate will give 10 percent to either the Walnut Creek Education Fund or the MDUSD Education Foundation on the buyer’s behalf to help support local kids and schools.

Start Touring

Your next step is starting to look at houses. It’s a good idea to sit down with your agent and figure out what your must-haves and wants are before you begin touring. Bob Vila explains that this way you won’t get caught up by a house that has a lot of flash appeal, but lacks the basics you need in a home. Being able to prioritize is vital for making a good decision. 

Your best strategy is to begin your search online. A quick look will tell you the statistics relevant to your locale. For example, in Walnut Creek, you can see the average property is on the market just 14 days. In other words, when you find a house you really want, you better move fast!

Take notes as you tour homes, and spend some time afterward going over things to remind yourself of each house. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you see a lot of homes in a single day. Things can easily blur together, so keeping track allows you to stay confident in your decisions as you go along.

Make An Offer, Get Inspections, Negotiate and Close

Once you’ve found the perfect home, it’s time to start moving forward toward buying it. Generally speaking, you’ll make an offer, which officially announces your interest in the home. Next, you’ll have an inspection done, and as Family Handyman points out, the results of that inspection will define how you move into negotiations.

Once you find a price both parties agree to and the seller accepts terms, the house is yours! The exact order and details of closing will vary from state to state, so research the laws and practices in your area – if you’re unsure about anything, your agent will be able to clarify the process with you.

In some cases, you might also wish to consult with an attorney. This would be a key consideration with more complicated situations, such as buying a foreclosure or a home listed as-is. You’re entering into a contract regardless, so it makes sense to connect for advice if there is any room for doubt.

Move In!

Once closing is done and everything is in order, all that’s left is to move in! The exception to this is if there are any repairs or renovations you want done before you get settled. When you’re all set, however, it’s time to start unpacking, decorating, and making your new house feel like home. 

Let the award winning agency, Range Real Estate, help you find your perfect first home!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Range Real Estate
39 Quail Ct. Ste 200
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Mark Pages-Oliver, MBA DRE #2020349
Lisa Caldwell DRE #01267745

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