Buying a home can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming. Making it from pre-approval to closing can feel like a staggering journey, which is why we’re here to help. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, relocating to the area, or looking for a new vacation house, this guide will help keep you on the right path every step of the way.
Select an Agent
The first step of your buying process should be finding the right agent for you. Considering how much time you’ll spend with your agent, it’s important to select one you can trust to navigate you through the home-buying maze.
When searching for a home, it’s important to know what you want. The right agent will help you determine must-haves and deal-breakers, as well as educate you on the communities you’re interested in. Rest assured, our real estate experts know the field inside and out and will ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Now that you have an agent in your corner, it’s time to get pre-approved for a loan. By measuring factors like income, credit, and assets, a lender can determine what type of loan best suits your needs and how much home you can afford. This can give you the upper hand as a buyer because it shows sellers that you’re serious about making a purchase.
If the pre-approval process sounds scary or daunting, don’t worry. The professionals at Watson Mortgage Corp. are committed to making your pre-approval smooth and effortless so that you can focus on what’s really important: finding the home of your dreams.
With an agent by your side and an idea of your price range, it’s time to start shopping. A good place to start is creating a wish list of features that are important to you. Once you have an idea what you want, you can use our helpful search tool or mobile app to find homes that fit your criteria in the neighborhoods you want to live.
When touring properties, take note of things that are important to you. Is there enough room to comfortably fit your furniture? Is there enough cabinet/pantry space? Is it in the right school district? Many factors like these often go overlooked and can lead to frustration down the road.
Be honest with your agent about what you like and don’t like in each property you tour. The more they know, the better they can select properties you’ll like.
When you’ve found the perfect home, your agent will help you prepare a written offer. That offer contains much more than just the price you’ll pay for the house; it includes details like financing method, cancellation terms, repairs you want to be done, date you’ll take ownership and possession of the property, and more.
There’s no guarantee the seller will accept your initial offer – after all, sellers may receive multiple offers on a property. That’s where your Watson agent will make the difference. They’ll put their expertise to work for you to ensure not only that the negotiation process goes well, but that you end up with a deal that fits all your needs.
On the Road to Closing
After negotiations have settled, the loan process and title work begin. You’ll need to complete a loan application with your lender, as well as provide the documents needed to confirm your income and assets. The experts at Watson Mortgage Corp. and Watson Title Services, alongside your agent, are ready to assist you with these steps once you’re ready. Together with your Watson team, you’ll navigate the process with ease.
Once these final steps are complete, it’s time to move in! Few things are more exciting than being handed the keys to your new home. Watson is proud of guiding so many buyers to this ecstatic moment, but our work doesn’t stop there. For anything from home improvement to home warranties, the Watson family is here to help you with all your real estate needs.
Know the Market, But Don’t Try to Time It – Knowing the local real estate market where you’re buying will allow you to find better prices and possibly even credits and throw-ins. However, don’t obsess over the market; if you’ve found the perfect house that you can afford even when the market doesn’t favor buyers, go for it! The real estate market is cyclical, so waiting for the perfect time to buy will only lead to missing your chance.
Don’t Skimp on Home Inspections – Hiring a home inspector ensures you’ll get a truly unbiased third-party opinion on the quality of the house you’re targeting. It may mean spending a little extra money, but it’s worth it.
Make the Right Offer – Your agent will be pivotal to helping you craft the right price when you’re ready to make an offer, but it’s still important to remember not to overbid or underbid with your first offer. Making a fair initial offer means the seller won’t feel disrespected and will be more likely to consider your offer.
Everyone remembers buying their first home, though not always for the best reasons. Between the homebuyer’s guide above and a few tips for first-timers below, however, you can ensure your first home-buying experience is a memory you’ll cherish for years.
Start Saving Early – Whether you’re paying 20% down or a smaller amount, your down payment is going to be a hefty sum. Start saving early so you’re not blindsided when it comes time to pay.
Don’t Forget Sleeper Costs – You know about your down payment and monthly mortgage costs, but don’t forget to budget for other home ownership fees like property taxes. You’ll also want to make sure you have money left over for things you’re not expecting, like a broken washing machine.
Manage Your Credit Smartly – When you’re applying for a mortgage loan, your lender will perform a hard check against your credit to make sure you’re reliable. Opening up multiple new accounts or making a splashy purchase (like a new car) are good ways to jeopardize your chances at receiving a loan.
Buy with Your Head, Not Your Heart – Many first-time homebuyers end up with bad deals because they get too attached to a particular house. Always shop for the best value for your budget. Renovating is easy; undoing a bad financial decision isn’t.
Get to Know the Neighborhood – Picking the right neighborhood is just as important as picking the right house. Research the schools (even if you don’t have kids, it’s a good indicator of value), look up crime statistics, test the commute to work, see how close the nearest grocery store is; this is all valuable information that will help you make the best choice for you and your family.
Explore First-Time Buyer Programs – There are many helpful programs and mortgage options available for first-time homebuyers that can help ease the burden of purchasing a home. Talk to your real estate agent to find out what you might be eligible for.
Create a Watson Realty Corp. Realtors® account and begin monitoring homes as they come on the market, get info on recently sold properties, save your favorite properties and searches to view again later, and more. You can sign up using your email address, Facebook account, or Google account.