Purchasing your first home is an exhilarating journey that I take great pleasure in assisting with. Navigating the intricate process of finding your ideal home and ushering you through every phase, from the hunt to the move-in day, fills me with a sense of fulfillment. Before embarking on this exciting endeavor, there are three crucial insights you should keep in mind.
1. Choose a Dedicated Real Estate Agent
Enlisting the services of a dedicated real estate agent is paramount. Having a single agent by your side streamlines your search for the perfect property. This agent will not only be committed to locating the right home for you but will also handle negotiations on your behalf. Building a rapport with this professional enables them to grasp your family's needs and preferences intimately, saving you the hassle of starting anew with every house visit. It's noteworthy that the agent showing you a property should ideally continue managing the transaction. While most real estate experts are proficient in handling both sides of a deal, it's wiser to stick with an agent you've grown acquainted with, one who genuinely has your best interests at heart as the buyer. Remember, you're not footing the bill for your agent's services; their compensation typically comes from the seller upon closure. However, you're essentially hiring someone to advocate for you, so don't hesitate to interview multiple agents and select the one that resonates best with you.
2. Obtain Pre-Approval for Financing
Unless you're making an all-cash purchase, securing pre-approval from a lender is imperative before embarking on your house-hunting journey. This step serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it assists you in establishing a realistic price range for your home search. Perusing homes outside your budget can lead to unnecessary frustration. A mortgage lender doesn't just inform you about your borrowing capacity; they also provide insights into your projected monthly payments, closing costs, and financial strategies to maintain your eligibility throughout the lending process. Another critical reason for pre-approval is to prevent losing out on a property to another buyer. Should you discover your dream home, having a pre-approval letter on hand is essential for submitting a timely offer, putting you ahead of the competition? I'm more than happy to connect you with reputable mortgage lenders in our area who've consistently delivered excellent service to my clients.
3. Be Prepared for Initial Costs
Upon identifying the perfect home and finalizing the price and terms with the seller through a signed contract, it's essential to anticipate some upfront expenses. Your first step will involve making an escrow deposit, also known as a "good faith" deposit. This sum demonstrates your commitment to the transaction and is at risk if you withdraw from the deal without valid contract-protected reasons. Typically ranging between 1% and 5% of the sales price, the exact amount can vary based on contract negotiations. Your trusted agent will guide you through this phase during negotiations, with the escrow deposit factoring into the overall sales price.
4. Plan for Property Inspection
After reaching an agreement with the seller and signing the contract, the subsequent step involves conducting a property inspection conducted by a certified home inspector. The cost varies depending on factors such as the home's size, condition, age, and features, generally amounting to a few hundred dollars. This expense is typically settled at the time of the inspection. Depending on the findings of the initial inspection, you might decide to opt for additional specialized inspections. For instance, if the inspector identifies issues with the HVAC system, a fee might be required for an HVAC contractor's assessment. The objective is to gather comprehensive information during this inspection period, equipping you with the certainty to proceed confidently with the purchase.
5. Expect Appraisal and Survey Costs
While costs associated with appraisal and property surveys are typically included in your closing expenses and are not typically paid upfront, some situations might necessitate sharing your credit card information in case the closing process faces unexpected hiccups.
Throughout your journey in purchasing a home, I'm dedicated to guiding you through each of these pivotal steps. Excited to take the plunge? Feel free to reach out to me, and let's get started on this remarkable endeavor together!