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 our team 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 we 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 agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We 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. We 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. We 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.
Thank you Wanda at Ryen Reality for making our dream of being homeowners come true. We've been looking at homes in the area over the past few years, and Wanda was by our side every step of the way. She was always patient, helpful, and available to answer questions. Wanda was never pushy with us. She was very understanding of our budget and needs. You would think relators just want to make a sale and move on, but not Wanda. I would go months without reaching out to her, and then I'd send her a text at random asking her to look at a property. She never hesitated to help us and was always prompt with her response in setting up a time with us. She never...— Halee K.
Brittany was a great realtor that I highly recommend. She sold our house very quickly. I called the agency to consider listing our house and Brittany was able to meet with me at our home within a couple days. She took great photographs that really showed our homes potential. Brittany offered a few suggestions, such as painting a couple rooms and freshening up the basement that really contributed to selling our home. It may sound simple, but we had the house listed as for sale by owner and then with a different realtor with no luck. Brittany’s suggestions, photographs and her abilities as a realtor made all the difference. She was pleasant and friend...— H. O'Neil
When we started the home-buying process, we were paired initially with another agent. It was a terrible experience and we weren't sure that buying a house was right for us anymore. That's when we met Ashley. She listened to our wants and needs, and immediately set us up to see houses that met our needs. We found a house that we fell in love with, and Ashley got to work and explained everything to us. It was a completely different experience for her. Our closing fell right on our vacation and she made sure we wouldn't forget anything. Ashley is seriously the best to work with.— The McCoys
Today we set foot in our new home, thanks to Ashley Sabol. Working with Ashley to find a new home didn't feel like work at all. She is kind, professional, and knowledgeable. Ashley has an easy way about her that makes you feel right at home, even when looking at a residence for the first time. We were moving from far away and Ashley made it easy. Ashley was able to answer all of our questions and responded to our inquiries in a very timely manner. She made the transition from seller to buyer seamless. We found the perfect home thanks to the perfect real estate agent.— Linda & Anthony
Brittany Patrick was an excellent choice for a real estate professional. The entire process of selling a home was made very simple by Brittany. Her knowledge and expertise of the local real estate market helped with the negotiation of selling a property at the market rate. I liked that she was very responsive to any question that our family had and was excellent with keeping everyone updated throughout the entire process. I really think she went out of her way to accommodate all interested parties. I highly recommend choosing Brittany Patrick as your agent.— T. Trude
A few months ago my boyfriend and I started looking for a house. By chance, we were introduced to Ashley. I thank God she came into our lives. Ashley is professional, courteous, friendly, and an amazing agent. Ashley went above and beyond her job. She answered every question we had. Even answered questions for other people who couldn't give us one. Early morning even late at night, she was there for us. If you ever need an agent, she is the person to get in touch with. She has earned my trust and friendship. Happy home owner.— Kelly
Ashley was extremely helpful and very patient with me, she was very quick in setting up appointments to look at many houses, and she took the time to explain everything to me through the whole process and made sure I understood each step. Ashley was very quick to respond to all of the questions I had. Ashley went above and beyond with everything she did, even going the extra step when I was out of town. She heartwarmingly included my daughter and made the search fun for her.— Chey
My husband and I only looked at one house prior to falling in love with our new home and we knew we had to make an offer quickly. Ashley was prepared to move forward and draw up the paper work, she never hesitated and always communicated. She always answered my texts even if I had a random question on the weekend or after hours. We are so grateful she helped us through this transition. I would recommend her 100 times over to the next buyer. You're in good hands with Ashley.— The Chaneys
My fiance and I had the wonderful pleasure of working with Ashley. After having a ton of problems with other realtors not wanting to show us a house we were trying to look at, Ashley got us scheduled for a showing asap. My fiancé and I are first-time home buyers, and Ashley was sure to clear up any confusion and to advocate for us when things didn't go as planned (more than once. She's been amazing throughout the entire process). We were happy to have her as our realtor.— Brandon & Kimberly
Ashley was fantastic to work with. She made the home buying process so easy. We really enjoyed looking at houses with her because she made us feel at ease, was patient, and always responded quickly when we had any questions or wanted to see a new property during our search. She guided us through the offer procedure and advocated for us throughout the entire process, from offer to closing. We highly recommend Ashley for all your home buying and selling needs.— The Cobles
I would definitely recommend Ashley Sabol. Being a first-time homebuyer I was super nervous of the whole process but she made it as easy as possible. She was super helpful throughout the whole process and worked with my busy schedule responding late nights and weekends to any questions I had and always kept me up to date on anything that was going on. 10/10 next home I purchase I will definitely be contacting her. Thank you for everything.— Mr. Sinclair
It was such a pleasure working with you, a true professional. From your very first message, you made me feel comfortable about this huge step. You were there to answer every question I had, at any hour and any day of the week. This was a bittersweet process for me and you were so understanding. Thank you for everything. I'll always look back on this experience and feel confident I made the right decision choosing to work with you.— Melony
My significant other and I worked with Brittany for nearly a year on purchasing a property. Brittany was extremely patient throughout the process and multiple contract extensions. She was always quick to respond to any questions or concerns we had and went out of her way many times to help us complete our purchase. Thank you, Brittany and Ryen Realty.— Rachel
Ashley was wonderful to work with. Not having any experience in purchasing a home, Ashley made the process extremely smooth. No matter the questions or the time of day, she always answered so quickly and always put us first. We couldn't have asked for a more friendly, caring, and professional agent. You will be in the best of hands with Ashley.— Karly & Luke
Words cannot even bring to express our gratitude for your commitment to giving us the best help any realtor could give. Your unfailing dedication to service has proven to be what the dreams are made of. Your quick response to questions about our needs have not gone unnoticed. We will be forever be grateful to you and all that you have done.— Amber & Doug
Shelley did an amazing job helping me find my first home. She was able to answer all my questions and guide me through the process. We had a delay in closing and Shelley kept me updated the whole time and checked in frequently. I would be happy to work with her again in the future and recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell.— Brianna C.
Ashley has been wonderful to work with through the entire process of purchasing our first family home. From the loan application to the closing table she was efficient, patient, friendly, and knowledgeable. Her diligence and assiduous effort landed us our dream home in a continuously high demand market. We are so thankful for her.— Brittany & Todd
Shelley took the time to present the property to us and get us all the correct information any questions that we needed answered she was right on it and got back to us promptly she really seemed like she wanted to do her job in the most professional way very pleased and would use her in a heartbeat again.— Rickey
Ashley was wonderful. Even when we had questions that she couldn’t immediately answer, she was sure to get back to us quickly with an answer. She was kind and courteous and helped us through our process every step of the way. I would 100% recommend her to anyone.— Katie
Ashley is the most wonderful realtor. She has gone above and beyond for us. Anything we needed help with, she was there. Any questions we had, she answered them and with fast replies. We will forever be grateful for her and her kindness along the way.— Allison & Caleb
As first-time home buyers our experience with Ashley was beyond amazing. She worked with us and helped keep our closing on track. It was such a pleasure working with her. We couldn't have bought our new sweet little home without her.— Jordan & Seth
Wanda was more than helpful with my purchase and made it simple and easy. I've always heard horror stories of home buying but Wanda made my house-buying experience amazing.— Buyer
Ashley was such a wonderful and enthusiastic realtor. This was my first home and she made everything so easy to understand, she helped me find the best house.— Gabriella M.
Very happy with Tonya and the entire crew at Ryen Realty. Everything was easy and taken care of very promptly for our purchase. Highly recommend.— Gabriel M.
Tonya is simply amazing to work with. Approachable, helpful, and transparent comes to mind when I think of Tonya’s ethic. Highly recommend.— Nicole B.
Friendly, and knowledgeable. Recommended - I love working with Tonya because she has always been helpful and honest.— Jenna H.
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