I'm Ready To Purchase a Home....What Now?
This is a question I hear so often, not only from first time homebuyers but those who have purchased before. The first mistake that many buyers make is they start looking at homes before they even know whether or not they qualify. FIRST and FOREMOST......Find a Lender and get prequalified. This lender could be your personal banker, local mortgage company, VA (if military), credit union, etc. Shop around to find the best rate before deciding which lender to use! Don't hesitate to check their credibility. Find out from your mortgage professional how long they have been in the business. BEWARE of pop-up shops and try to avoid online mortgage companies. Find a local company. One that you can have face-to-face contact with during the entire process.
Once you have gotten pre-approved to purchase and know exactly what your payments will be (including taxes and insurance) then your next step will be to find a Real Estate Agent to help you find the right property. Make sure to interview more than one agent, unless one comes highly recommended. Not all agents do the same job! REALLY? Really......find one that is a good fit for you and your family/needs. If you don't hit it off at the beginning, you will have problems during the entire transaction. Look for an agent who is professional....you can usually determine this from the first interview. HIRE your agent! Your agent should ask you to sign "A Buyer's Agency Agreement" at this time. This agreement creates a relationship between you and your agent. You have essentially hired him/her to help you find a home, help with negotiations, converse with other agents/attorneys/home inspectors/pest inspectors/etc. on your behalf. Keep in mind that this relationship could also be dissolved as a result of abandonment. If your agent fails to follow through with their committment of finding you a home, ceases communication with you for an extended period of time or if you just can't get along, you have the right to ask to be released from that contract based on those facts. You could FIRE your agent. Or, as Donald Trump would say.... "YOU'RE FIRED"!
You now have your lender, your budget and your agent. Now the fun begins! Start by compiling a list of your Needs and Wants. Decide on Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Price Range, Size, 1 or 2-story, Fenced yard, Pool, Storage Building, etc. Then, ask yourself these questions.... How long do you plan to stay in your new home? Is this just a starter home? Will your family be expanding in the near future? Do you have pets and need a fenced back yard? Would you like to be in a particular school district? Does work require you to be located in a certain area or be close to the interstate? Do you like slab foundation or crawl space homes? Do you want acreage? The list could go on and on.....think of what is MOST important for your family! During your home search this list could change. Share this list with your agent so that she understands exactly what is important in a home for you and your family. There are so many homes on the market today so take your time looking. Don't get over excited and jump on the first one. Your agent will help guide you through ALL the home buying steps from start to finish.
So, now is the time to get your home buying experience started. HAPPY HUNTING!!