First Time Home Buyer: The Steps to Buying a Home

family in front of first home

Buying a home will be one of the most important investments of your life. As a first time home buyer in the Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Burlington, Mount Vernon or Skagit County areas, being informed about the buying process and all the aspects involved when buying a home will relieve much of the anxiety and allow you to truly enjoy the experience. For first time home buyers, this can be an intimidating, confusing process. Frequently I hear from my first time home buyer’s in Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Burlington, Mount Vernon or Skagit County areas, “what do we do now?” We are going to layout the first time home buying process in detail to help you understand what you are about to go through. We have collaborated with real estate experts from Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Burlington, Mount Vernon or Skagit County areas in the individual fields to clarify each step in the first time home buying process.

Here is a high level look at the first time home buying steps, if you would like to learn more click on the more button

Prequalify for a loanBeing prequalified for a loan determines how much house you can afford and allows you to move more swiftly when you find the right house.
Shop for mortgage rates and termsA difference of even half a percentage point can make a huge difference in how much you pay over the life of a loan. Find a mortgage person that you are comfortable with and ask lots of questions.
Find a buyer’s realtor®A buyer’s realtor® is legally responsible for representing the buyer’s interest in a real estate transaction. Find an realtor® that you are comfortable with and trust. We work with some of the finest realtors in the area. Click here for them
Determine the best areas for you to live and determine the type of home you desire and can affordYour realtor® will sit with you to discuss the area where you want to live and the features in a home that are important to you.
Identify your dream homeYour realtor® will develop a list of homes to tour. For some buyers they only need to look at 5-6 homes or others will look at as many as 50 homes before finding their dream home.
Making an offerOnce you’ve found a house that meets your needs, it’s time to make an offer. In deciding the amount of your offer you and your realtor® will have to weigh several factors – asking price vs. comparable home sales, market conditions, other potential offers, how badly you want the house, the home’s condition, if you’re approved for a loan, etc.
The Home InspectionA thorough inspection is an objective examination of the home, from top to bottom, inside and out including heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems, walls, floors, ceilings, foundation, roof, gutters, spouts, insulation and ventilation, major appliances, garage, etc
InsuranceYou’ll need homeowner’s insurance before you close. No lender in the land will give you a mortgage without it. A good place to start exploring your insurance options is with the company that insures your car.
Final walk throughPrior to closing you will be given a last opportunity to walk through the property and ensure the condition is the same as at inspection. Hopefully the sellers have vacated the home and you can look at it without furniture, belongings, etc. This would be the time to decide if you want to paint any rooms.
The closingThe closing is when you actual take ownership through the transfer of the title.
Moving inAt the closing you will actual get the keys to the home.
Filing paperworkYou will want to file your home ownership paper in a safe place, where you can easily get at it.
Helpful links
  1. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is a great first stop for first time home buyers. The HUD programs are a lot more forgiving of credit issues than most of the conventional programs on the market. In addition, the site is loaded with plenty of information on how to get access to the financing the organization insures. Keep in mind, a HUD loan only means a mortgage program is “insured” by HUD, not funded by HUD.
  2. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are fabulous resources for first-time buyers. These two companies provide the largest source of funding for all mortgages across the country. I refer you to them, rather than an individual mortgage broker site, because they provide the most non-biased information about the programs they offer. Nevertheless, don’t overlook mortgage company sites who take the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs and may create hybrid loans out of these programs to make them even more favorable to the first time home buyer.
  3. The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) is a nonprofit organization founded more than 30 years ago by the country’s state housing agencies to “coordinate and leverage their federal advocacy efforts for affordable housing,” according to the group’s site. The benefit to first time home buyers on this site is its’ directory of state housing agencies across the country, including every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The agencies monitor, lobby for and administer the disbursement of monies from federal programs for first time buyers that provide lower interest rates for consumers, along with several other benefits to first-time and low-income buyers. With a leveling off on the market, buyers should reacquaint themselves with these very stable first time home buyer programs.
  4. Tired of all the confusing terms? Real Estate Words will help explain for the the terms for you.