Buying Your First Home

Buying a home takes time so it’s important to be prepared. Don’t worry, your lender and agent will help you along the way.

If financing a home it can take 2 months or more. There are many stages or steps involved. Finding a lender, then going shopping, making the offer, setting up inspections, getting insurance, working with a title company, and the final step Closing the deal. If you are looking to buy a home in the next 6 months to a year and you are going to be financing the time to start preparing is now. Again, don’t worry your lender and agent are going to help you.

Finding a Lender

The first step to starting the process of home buying is to contact a lender to determine how much money you will have to spend or how much you can afford. There is no point shopping for a home if you cannot buy one. It wouldn’t be wise to look at homes over $300,000 if your lender will only loan you $175,000. It would be very disappointing to find the home of your dreams and then find out you cannot get it. So start with finding out what you will be able to finance and then you can go shopping for homes in that price range.

Not all lenders are the same. Find one that is going to be helpful and informative to you. Your lender should provide you with information on what you are eligible for and if you are not eligible he should be able to tell you what you need to do to become eligible.

If you need help with locating a good lender you can also ask your real estate agent if they have a few preferred lenders they can recommend.

How much down payment do you need?

Not all mortgages require a lot of money down. Be sure to ask your lender what your options are. If you are a first time buyer be sure to let them know.

Some lenders offer special loans for first time home buyers and some do not. The state of Florida offers many down payment assistance resources. You will want to see what is available to you in your state.

If you are eligible for a VA loan you will not need any money down. That’s right No Money down.

Poor Credit Score

You can qualify for a mortgage with a credit score as low as 580 so don’t let your credit score deter you. If your credit score is below the criteria needed for the mortgage that is right for you then your lender can sometimes view the report and determine if there are things on the report that they can have removed to increase your score or give you tips on what you can do to improve it. This can take time so if you want to purchase a home you need to give yourself time to work through these steps. You will need patience and perseverance but a home is worth it.

Getting a Real Estate Agent

There are two types of real estate agents. A listing agent- one who specializes in listing homes for sale and A buyers agent- one who helps buyers in the process of purchasing a home. It’s important to note that both listing agents and buyers agents get paid by the Seller.

Your agent can and or should be able to assist you throughout the entire process. They can help you with finding a lender, shopping for the home, writing and submitting the offer to purchase contract, scheduling and providing you with necessary information on what inspections are needed or that you may want, working with the title company so that you obtain a title that is free and clear of liens, working with the lender so the lender has the information they need etc. They do a lot of work for you and it’s important that you are loyal to them. Work with one agent. Whenever you have a question call your agent.

Choosing an Agent

A good agent will be willing to answer your questions and aid you in the process where needed. You should be able to reach them at any time. If your agent doesn’t answer your calls or emails consistently and doesn’t follow up in a reasonable amount of time ( within and hour or two) you should probably choose another agent. Your agent should always be willing and able to help. If your agent doesn’t know the answer to your question they should be able to find out for you or steer you in the right direction.

Finding a Home

It is hard for an agent to find what you are looking for if you do not know. An agent can do a search by price. They can search by location as well. So if you are looking for a home in Sarasota that is under 300,000 the agent can search an send you a list of homes that are under 300,000. There are more details the agent may need to know. Is a garage important to you? How about a pool? How about school district? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want a tub in the master bath or is just a shower OK? Whatever is important to you you should tell them. It will make finding the right home in the right location a lot easier. I have had buyers that spent weeks and months looking because they were not sure what they wanted and it kept changing. The location changed, the price changed, the size changed. Sometimes certain areas just do not have much available in the price and size your needing. Finding the right home could be easy and sometimes it can be difficult depending on need and availability.

Afraid of Home Maintenance?

There are a lot of older homes out there. If you like older homes you may want to search for one in which the seller has done some maintenance over the years. Have they updated the roof, the ac or heating system, replaced any plumbing, etc. I have seen some newly renovated homes have some big problems. Purchasing a home warranty is always a good choice when buying an older home.

If you are afraid of having to do any maintenance or cannot find a home that you like you may want to consider New Construction. Your agent can help with this as well. They should have some local builders and know of land that is available and can bring you to model homes. Some builders have floor plans already designed and priced so you can find a home in your price range. They may have even started the construction process on a home so you don’t have to wait as long. Buying new means everything is under warranty.

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