Buying your very first place can be so overwhelming! It seems like the hardest step is just getting started. So for all of you soon-to-be homeowners out there, I thought I should ease your fears and show you what the first steps of starting the house hunt look like:
1) Find an agent you like
Hopefully, since you are on my website, I might be the one you think you like and can imagine going on this journey with. The very first step is just shoot me an email. It can be as simple as:
I found your website (or my friend gave me your info) and I am thinking about maybe buying my first place. Do you have any time to talk about that?
It’s that easy! I will respond (usually within a few hours), and I will invite you out to coffee. That way, if you don’t like me or decide buying is not right for you after our first conversation, all you have wasted is 30-45 minutes of your life. At least you get a cup of coffee out of the deal :).
2) We meet for coffee at YOUR favorite coffee shop:
Meeting a stranger can make even the most social person a bit nervous. I promise to be super nice (and to warn you, I am really energetic) and to make both of us feel as comfortable as possible. I will ask you all about who you are, what you like to do for fun, how much you are familiar with the home buying process, and what you want in your first place. We can talk about location, size, design style and anything else that is important to you. The better I understand what you are looking for, the better service I can give you.
3) We find you a lender
If you haven’t already talked to a mortgage person that you like, this is the next step. You can decide to go into your local bank and talk to the mortgage specialist, or I can refer you to one of my three favorite lenders. The reason I work with three different lenders, is that they all have different personalities and communication styles. Each of them are excellent at what they do, and offer great rates. I want you to make sure you have a lender that you like, treats you well, and gives you excellent service. Once you pick a lender, you will fill out all the required documents and provide them with financial statements (like paystubs and tax returns). The lender will take a few days to process all that info, but after they do, they can tell you how much of a mortgage you qualify for and what your monthly payments might look like.
4) The fun part – Looking at homes!
Now you have a real estate broker you like, a lender you trust, and know exactly what your budget is. I take your wish-list of things you want in a home, your desired area, and your price range and we start looking at house that meet those criteria. Looking at houses is SO much fun and totally worth the work you had to put in with picking an agent and a lender.
Some people wonder why it is important to talk to a lender before going to look at houses. Until we talk to a lender, we really don’t know what your exact budget is going to be. And if I were to take you to see homes that ended up being outside of your budget, it would be like taking you to your favorite restaurant and not letting you eat anything!
So there it is, in a nutshell. Not so scary when you break it down 🙂