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.
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Lauren was so great! she made a stressful experience (like with prior Realtors®) a much less stressful process. She was always available when I needed her and she also accommodated my schedule! She is a wonderful, helpful gal! I'd recommend her to everyone. And use her when I sell.
Lauren was great to work with, she was very responsive and did the best job that I could except. She listened to what we wanted and then delivered on what she said she would do. I would recommend Lauren to anyone buying or selling a home. Great person.
Working with Lauren was great! She was so professional, friendly and helpful during the whole process of buying and selling. She had knowledge of my area and many contacts in the industry which was very helpful in my search for my new home. I feel like Lauren understood my situation and helped me through a very stressful process. She went above and beyond many times while working with her. I would defini...
Lauren understood my situation and urgency and helped me find s new place in time. She was wonderful and I will definitely work with her again! Lauren was great throughout the whole process. I feel she went above and beyond helping me find my new home.
We worked with Lauren to find our first home long distance and she was amazing. She's so helpful and makes sure to advocate for you. She's super quick to respond to any questions you may have and was such a pleasure to work with.
Worked with Lauren Janoski and she's very friendly, professional, and quick to reply to any questions that I have. As someone who isn't experienced with buying a house, she was a great resource and super helpful!
Lauren is a great Realtor®. I felt very comfortable knowing that we had someone in our corner to help and guide us through the selling and buying of our homes. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a Realtor®.
Lauren was great! She was extremely nice and answered back very quickly whenever I had questions. I would highly recommend her. She also got me a little gift bag for my new house. She was so awesome!
Lauren Janoski has been super helpful in my home search. She responds to me so quickly and just gets my needs. You can trust her 100% with the biggest purchase of your life! Call her now!
Lauren did a great job, she helped us get into our new home as quickly as possible. I would recommend her and I would use her services in the future.
I recommend Lauren for my real estate needs. They strive for greatness and definitely show results in their actions.
Lauren Janoski is the best Realtor® there is. She's hardworking, driven, passionate, and cares a lot about people.
Lauren is simply the best! We were extremely fortunate to have met her by chance and we wanted to continue to work with her because she was honest and quick to reply. She continued to develop trust with us because of the professionalism and guidance she carried out. As first time homebuyers, Lauren made the process less intimidating and more smooth, which made the biggest impact on our home searching jou...
We offer the highest level of expertise and service with integrity. Lauren Janoski is the leading real estate agent in Minneapolis - Saint Paul and has helped hundreds of buyers find their dream home in the surrounding areas, including Stillwater, Dellwood, North Oaks, White Bear Lake, Hugo, Forest Lake, Woodbury, Lake Elmo, Maple Grove, Wayzata, Deephaven, Orono, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Dayton, Otsego, Lakeville, Edina, Prior Lake, Chanhassen, and Eden Prairie.LET'S CONNECT