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.
Andrea was amazing in helping us find and purchase a home. We met her at an open house and we had no idea what we were doing or where to start. She helped guide us through the process and patiently worked with us going through ...
We can not say enough good things about Andrea. Having her support as first-time home buyers helped us tremendously as we navigated a difficult market! She is quick to respond, professional, and truly cares about finding you th...
Andrea is amazing. She will do everything she can to make sure you and your family find what they need. She went above and beyond to tour places for me and my family when I was out of state getting ready to move to Washington. ...
Andrea is such a great Realtor® and person. We decided to sell in September of 2019 and the entire experience was so seamless and easy thanks to Andrea’s expertise and attention to detail. Andrea has turned into a great friend ...
Very happy with Andrea Baysinger’s professional services selling our home. Superb customer service; resourceful; responsive; and knowledgeable! Great communication throughout the process. We would highly recommend her for repre...
Andrea was wonderful to work with! She was extremely responsive, knowledgeable, and full of joy! Our property was tricky and she guided us through the process and we ended with closing success. We are grateful for her and would...
She is so amazing she made buying a house fun and a good experience when I was having a bad one and wanting to quit I recommend her to anyone she is so personable and I feel like I gained a friend out of the whole experience!
I built a spec house and chose Andrea as our go-to Realtor®. She understands the build process and the market to be able to give us the best service possible. Definitely will use her in the future and recommend her to others.
Andrea was really great to work with! She walked us through the process and really helped us through one of the most stressful times! I wouldn't use anyone else! Very thankful found her!
Andrea is professional yet friendly and confident. She listened to me and willing to discuss issues. I felt guided throughout the process and encouraged during a long buyer closing.
Andrea was very knowledgeable, friendly, and patient with our family's needs. She helped us sell one home and buy another! I would for sure use her again and recommend her to anyone!
Highly recommend Andrea! She was our partner in buying our first house and helped us navigate the negotiation in our favor. Would use her again for any future Realtor® needs.
Andrea has been such a pleasure to work with in selling our home and the search for a new one. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell!
Andrea Baysinger is always the professional. She is knowledgeable, calm, and always cheerful. When you work with Andrea you are in excellent care and service!
Andrea has such a genuine interest in her clients. After buying with her, I feel like she was a friend working for us, not the commission. Such a gem!
Andrea is amazing. She helped us so much throughout our journey and would recommend her to anyone! 10/10.
Andrea is awesome. She is very personable and is full of dedication! Anyone would be lucky to work with her!
Baysinger Homes is a local real estate team helping families buy and sell in Washington since 2004 with the best possible experience.