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.
By now, you've likely explored numerous homes online, and perhaps you've even attended a couple of Open Houses. Now is the time to pinpoint the essential criteria for your search.
Location, location, location! It's a refrain in real estate for a reason! Thoroughly investigate school districts, work commutes, crime rates, and community amenities. Once you've settled on a general area, it's time to assess your individual requirements for a dwelling. Consider factors like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed, parking, storage, and whether a home office is essential. Additionally, think about your level of handiness; do you prefer a property that's move-in ready, or are you open to a fixer-upper? Some buyers will even filter their search to include their preferred utilities (such as heat source, water type and public/private sewer.) Tailoring these specifics to your preferences will help streamline your home search.
Many buyers underestimate how much is involved in a real estate transaction. In today's competitive market, buyers must be prepared on multiple fronts. We encourage our clients to start with a buyers consultation meeting.
Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a Real Estate Agent? Technically yes, but why take on such a huge financial investment without professional guidance? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also negotiate on your behalf throughout the transaction.
During the in-office Buyer Consultation meeting, we carefully go through each page of an Agreement of Sale, and review estimated closing costs. This meeting has proven to be extremely useful to first-time home buyers.
What do you want your monthly mortgage payment to be?
How much can you afford on the down-payment?
Interest rates can significantly affect your monthly payments and overall home cost. Property taxes and insurance costs vary by location and property type and should be included in your budget. If you're looking at condos or communities with HOAs, account for these fees as ongoing expenses. Finally, the down payment percentage is crucial, impacting your immediate closing costs, interest rate, and potential need for private mortgage insurance (PMI.) Careful consideration of these elements ensures a well-balanced mortgage budget for your homeownership journey.
After establishing your budget, the subsequent crucial step is to seek pre-approval from a lender. This process reinforces the financial framework you've established. Your lender can offer valuable insights by providing monthly mortgage estimates and estimating closing costs based on the properties you're interested in. If you plan on financing your home through a mortgage, a pre-approval must be included with all formal offers.
Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home
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. There are many factors outside of the offer price that owners evaluate, such as inspections, settlement timeline and financing. We will help you fully understand the terms and conditions of your offer.
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. Depending on the inspector's findings, they may recommend further evaluation. 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.
Once you're under contract, the next step is to make mortgage application with your lender. This process includes verifying personal, financial and employment information. Be aware, the underwriting process can take several weeks. Your lender will also lock in your mortgage rate and ultimately provide your agent with a mortgage commitment.
The appraisal is an important component to the mortgage. An appraisal ensures that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house. In the event that a home does not appraise, buyers may renegotiate the purchase price with the seller. In competitive markets, some buyers will waive their appraisal or offer appraisal gap coverage to make their offer more appealing to sellers.
Buyers typically perform a final walk through of the home prior to closing. A large portion of your settlement will be coordinated by the Title Company and Lender. Time to sign the dotted line!
Congratulations on 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.
John has been an enormous help for us relocating to Bucks county, firstly he found a rental property for us and then found a house we fell in love with. Professional, honest, without sale-push attitude, very patient, understanding, knowledgable and detailed. This was my 3d time buying real estate and it has been the best experience I've ever had. I can't recommend John enough. We are very lucky we found John for our relocation needs from NJ to PA. Thank you very much, John.— D.S.
Judy is honestly fantastic. I just closed on our new home this week. Moving from out of state, I didn't know exactly what to expect in PA, but she helped with the entire process from start to finish. She nudged me when I needed nudging, and educated when I needed educating. She was my buying agent and her son John the sellers' agent, and he is terrific as well. The best part is that her support doesn't end at closing. From referrals to local contractors to getting me into the house when I forgot my keys, there seems nothing she won't do for her clients. I hope not to move again for a while, but hers is one phone number i won't let go of.— Peter P.
Meeting John, we realized he was a go-getter. He met us right after a snowstorm to go see the very first house we looked at. Since that time, he has consistently taken a step forward for us in looking for the style of house we wanted. He would text me at 7:30 in the morning or call in the evening. If he couldn’t do something, then Judy would take over. It was a seamless transition when she would help us. If you want somebody in your corner when you’re buying or selling your house , I recommend John and Judy . They will get the job done.— Julie S.
At Mish Realty, personalized service is the top priority, with prompt responsiveness and professional representation offered to all clients. Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned investor, the team is dedicated to meeting your goals!