1. Money — Getting pre- approved can take some time for even the most organized person. Meet with a lender early, and gather the documents you will need so that the process is smooth when you are ready to buy.
  2. Insurance — You will need to line up homeowners insurance. It doesn’t hurt to start shopping early if you know the general type of property you will be purchasing. Carriers specialize in different types of properties, so make sure to compare rates.
  3. The Hunt — Finding a house is the fun part, but it can quickly become overwhelming, especially in a hot market where properties sell quickly. Most buyers start hunting online, and then they reach out to an agent when they are ready to start touring homes.
  4. Search Sites — Each site has different strengths, and you will likely find a few favorites. Our site has a property search that can be used, as well as realtor.com, that has a nice app that shows you houses for sale nearby.
  5. Find a Great Agent — Our agents are extremely familiar with all aspects of the home buying process and are ready to assist you in finding your new home.
  6. Open Houses — A great way to learn about the market. If you are going to make an offer, be sure you visit the property at another time when you can have some alone time with it and have your agent with you as well.
  7. Check Out the Neighborhood — You’re not just buying a house; you’re also committing to the neighbors, the block and other surroundings. Don’t buy the nicest house on the block. It won’t appreciate as well as the fixer-upper down the street.
  8. Be Open-Minded — Home buying always involves compromise. If you have your heart set on a craftsman, don’t avoid visiting mid-century homes. You never know how all the pieces will fall together, so be open to unexpected good surprises.
  9. Don’t Be Intimidated — It’s easy to feel outsmarted when you embark on the journey toward homeownership. There is no shame in not knowing how it all works. Ask everyone questions! The pros have been down this path numerous times and are more than happy to share their expertise.
  10. Three Wrongs Don’t Make a Right — Three wrongs don’t make a right — it’s a basic rule. If a property has three flaws with no feasible solution, don’t buy it. For example, a house with freeway noise, a steeply sloped lot and no off-street parking should be avoided.
  11. Writing an Offer — When you are ready to write an offer, review comparable sales and determine what you feel is fair regarding price and terms. Your agent will be a great guide in helping to determine a winning strategy.
  12. Inspections — Invest in home inspections so that you know what you are getting into. If undisclosed adverse conditions are discovered, it’s appropriate to ask the seller to lower the price accordingly. I don’t recommend asking the seller to perform the repairs. They have no incentive to do more than the basics because they won’t be living with the results.
  13. Closing Costs — It’s not just the down payment you need to save up for, but also all the added closing costs. Transfer tax, escrow fees and prepaid interest have caught many first-time homebuyers off guard. Ask your agent or lender for a complete list of the costs for your area.