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.
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. 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.
Randall sold our home and helped us buy our dream home. He is very professional and knowledgeable. He was always available to answer all my questions- even on the weekends and in the evenings. In real estate, he makes things happen. I highly recommend Randall to everyone!— Seller
Our experience with Randall, as our agent, was excellent. He looked out for our best interest, and was very knowledgeable, informative, and responsive. He made the process less stressful on many levels.— Seller
After the buyer’s purchase almost fell through, Randall put forth an effort to close the deal, and get my house sold, in a situation where most agents would be unable to do so. Randall’s knowledge and experience were on full display throughout the process. I’m happy I used Zitro Real Estate for this sale!— Buyer | Seller
Randall is an extremely knowledgeable agent and is great to work with. He responds quickly, is on top of things, takes the initiative, and knows how to get things done. He is also more than willing to take the time to explain any question or detail that may arise and go over it to ensure that you understand everything going on.— Bill W.
Randall Ortiz made sure that my first-time home buyer experience was incredibly positive. He always took the extra steps when it came to communicating with me about different property listings, offers we put in, as well any other questions I had. Randall was always very responsive which helped ease my mind throughout the process of finding my new home.— Ang M.
If you want someone who has a high motor and is relentless in getting everything done right, I would pick Randall Ortiz. By going with him on my latest home, I was able to save (by the end of the loan term) around $525,000 by negotiating the price down and getting a great rate. That doesn't "just happen" and is real money that I would have otherwise spent. 10/10 I would work with Randall next time.— Uriel G.
We have been working with Randall Ortiz since he helped us buy our first house in 2015. He was amazing to work with. He guided us through every step and gave sound advice on finding our home. Just recently he helped us upgrade to our new forever home. He is extremely knowledgeable, and experienced, and will work hard to get you the home you want. Whether you're buying or selling, we highly recommend Zitro Real Estate Services.— Noah P.
We had a great first-time home buying experience with Randall. He was very responsive. We would often see homes the same day we would contact him about a house we were interested in. He was always very easy to get in touch with as well. He is very knowledgeable about the neighborhoods we were looking in and the home-buying process. Randall even introduced us to some neighbors when we did our final walk-through. He is very easy to get along with and personable. Thank you, Randall!— Buyer
I am so grateful and happy to have Randall as our agent. He went above and beyond to make sure we were extremely satisfied. He listened to our wants and was able to make it a reality even when it didn’t seem possible. He is punctual, honest, professional, and committed to his clients. I have been referring him to friends and family and anyone I know who is looking into buying a home! Thank you so much Randall for looking out for our best, getting us the best deal possible, and making our dreams come true!— Mindy N.
I've worked with Randall at Zitro Real Estate on numerous transactions over the years and each time the experience has been nothing short of fantastic. He's professional, always on top of things, and works diligently to keep the process moving forward. He's also very responsive, which isn't always the norm in this industry. If I have a question it's not uncommon for him to get back to me within minutes, Wow! He's never tried to rush me into a purchase and is always patient and understanding with me (even in the middle of my occasional meltdowns during the process). He's saved me on more than one occasion from putting in an offer on something out of ...— Jen S.
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