Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.
Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.
Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.
Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.
Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.
Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.
In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.
Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.
Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.
No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.
After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.
I highly recommend going through them, I worked with Bryan and he was phenomenal, couldn't say enough great stuff about him. He knows his stuff and has a very good eye for good deals and quality. He met me in the house I ended up buying at 6 a.m. so I could still get to work in time and we could get the first offer in. He brought me to at least 30 houses from Waconia all the way over to New Prague without seeing a single penny from me (that's saying a lot as I was only a 20-year-old kid thinking about moving). He works with a great team of financers that will help you find something in your price range. He is good at negotiating and isn't afraid to ...— Jordan T.
Chestnut Realty was great throughout the entire process of buying my first home. I was unsure and indecisive, but Christy made herself available and continued to show me homes until I found the perfect fit. Even when she went out of town, she made sure another experienced agent was available to continue the process so I didn't miss a beat. Once I selected my home, Christy walked me through the process so I fully understood all of the paperwork I was reviewing and signing. I love my new home and I'm so thankful I chose to work with Chestnut Realty.— Tricia T.
I have had the opportunity to work with Bryan Haasken as he has represented 2 different buyers purchasing listings of mine. Bryan is extremely responsive and on top of the ball. He is obviously very sharp and knowledgeable on the real estate market, as well as new construction. He makes sure his clients understand the process and is there for them every step of the way. Highly recommended.— Buyer
More than 15% of buyers find the home they eventually purchase through these four ways:
Approximately 7% of buyers found the home they actually purchased from a yard sign. Our signs are specifically designed to attract a buyers eye to draw them to your property.
7% of buyers found their home through an open houses. We strategically use social media along with direct internet market to attract buyers to your open house.
Another 7% of buyers find the home they purchase through a friend, neighbor, or knowing the seller. Be locally family owned since 1976 we have developed a great rapport with people looking to buy locally in the area.
Only 1% of buyers find the home they purchase through print advertising, but that 1% might be what we need to get your home SOLD.
We use the National Association of REALTORS data that tells us precisely where buyers found the home they purchased. The top three ways are browsing online, through a real estate agent and seeing a yard sign.
We target our marketing strategy and allocate resources to match where buyers are finding homes right nor. When more buyers see your property, the faster we can sell you property!!!
We pride ourselves in providing personalized solutions that bring our clients closer to their dream properties and enhance their long-term wealth.