Are you in the market to buy your first home?

Are you in the market to buy your first home? Do you know where to begin? If not, maybe I can offer you some guidance. You will need to know your budget, get pre-approved, hire a REALTOR® and find a home. Sound easy? It can be if you have the right people working for you. Let us look at the process.

You should get pre-approved with a local lender, in your community, to see how much you can afford. It can be frustrating to look at homes out of your price range. Most lenders can pre-approve you over the phone. You will need to provide some financial documents and your work history, but all of this can be uploaded and emailed. Simple so far?

Next, find a REALTOR®. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Interview them. Check out their social media and websites. Your REALTOR® is working for you so make sure you have a good relationship and strong communication. You are halfway through the process now.

The fun part? House hunting. I know many of you watch HGTV and those shows are entertaining. Let me tell you something, house hunting is nothing like “as seen on TV”. During the busy market, you are lucky to get to see the house before it has multiple offers, over asking price. So back to the pre-approval? Be prepared. If you see a house, contact your REALTOR® immediately to see if you can view the home.

Time to make an offer! Hopefully, YOU are not in a multiple offer situation and the seller accepts! Make sure your REALTOR® explains the ins and outs of the contract, so you understand the process. There are inspection deadlines that you do not want to miss, or you will not be able to ask for repairs from the seller. Again, ask around and hire a qualified inspector that meets your needs.

Do not forget to keep your bank in the loop. They need a copy of the purchase agreement so they can order the appraisal. The appraisal can be a long process, especially during a busy market season. Try to get all documents requested to your lender as soon as possible.

There are a few takeaways from all of this. Listen to your lender and your REALTOR®. Do not contact the listing agent or seller directly. This can cause you to lose the home and will most likely make someone mad. You will need a Real Estate attorney to do your title search and closing. Ask for recommendations.

Now that all inspections are done and the home appraised, you wait for a clear to close. Don’t make any large purchases like a new car or new furniture until after your closing. The bank may pull your credit one more time and this can affect the loan process. Call the utility companies, find a moving company and schedule to have your mail forwarded to your new home. Best of luck and congratulations on your new purchase!

Have a fantastic week and remember to do good things!

Stephanie Lemley, 2021 MBOR President