You must be a first-time home buyer or not have owned a home in the past three years to be considered a first-time buyer.
9 Steps to Buying Your First Home
Buying your first home is an exciting and important milestone, not to mention a long-term investment. Following the 9 Steps below will make the home-buying process a little easier!
STEP 1: Homebuyer Education
We understand buying a home can be complicated, therefore we encourage all first-time homebuyers to download our FREE Home Buyer Manual.
STEP 2: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage means that you have completed the first important step in obtaining a loan. While a pre-approval is not actually a mortgage, this tool shows the seller you will be able to pay for a home and you are making a serious offer. It often sets you head and shoulders above other potential buyers.
STEP 3: Find a Real Estate Agent and Attorney
Once you have obtained your pre-approval, it’s time to find a real estate agent and attorney to guide you through the process. Ask family and friends for recommendations or search simply CT Realtors or CT Bar. Do your research and make sure you are comfortable with your selection.
A real estate agent will help you find a home within your price range, and a property that meets your needs. Remember, the real estate agent is there to represent your interests, even though he or she receives a commission through the seller once the home is sold.
A real estate attorney isn’t required, be they will explain all the fine print and make sure that you are legally protected in any transactions. Their advice will be especially valuable during the mortgage closing when you will have to read and sign a stack of documents.
STEP 4: Find the Right Home
Now you’ve reached the fun step. Think about your ideal home. Are you looking for a house or a condo? How many bedrooms do you need? Is it in a city or a suburb? Are there schools nearby? What are the property taxes?
Discuss your needs and wishes with your real estate agent. They will help you find the right home in a community where you and your family are most likely to thrive. After all, a house is more than where you live, it’s where you build your life.
STEP 5: Make an Offer
Once you find a home, figure out how much you’re willing to pay for it. It will be important to consider the condition of the home, the cost of any repairs, where it’s located and how long it’s been on the market. Your real estate agent can help you draft your offer.
The seller can accept or reject your offer or make a counteroffer. Once an offer is accepted and the seller signs it, the offer becomes a legal contract that commits you to buy the home at a specific price within a specific time frame.
This is when the clock starts ticking. You will have 90 days to get a mortgage, schedule a home inspection, negotiate a final contract and close on your new home.
STEP 6: Apply for a Mortgage
There are many first-time homebuyer programs available, including special loans for Teachers, Police Officers, Military personnel, Veterans, and residents with disabilities. We – your trusted loan officer – will find a provide you with your options and help you select the right mortgage that fits your financial circumstances. We will also guide you through the application process and explain your monthly mortgage payment and financial responsibilities.
We will also give you an estimate of your closing costs, which can range from three percent to five percent of the home’s sale price and can include application fees.
STEP 7: Home Inspection and Appraisal
A home inspection tells you if the home you are buying is in good shape or if it needs costly repairs, like a new roof or new plumbing. Depending on the results of the inspection, you and your real estate agent can renegotiate your contract with the seller.
We recommend that you hire an independent, state-licensed home inspector. Your real estate agent, attorney or loan officer can provide a list.
The lender will require an appraisal to, essentially, find out whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount of money you’re borrowing.
STEP 8: Closing
Once you close, there’s no going back! Make sure you and the home are ready for this final step. You should walk through the home with the seller (if possible) and your Realtor prior to closing. Carefully inspect the interior and exterior for any damages or problems that had not been previously discovered. You will not be able to dispute any damages or problems that are discovered after the closing.
Closings involve a stack of paperwork. Make sure you review and understand all the mortgage and real estate documents before your closing date. Feel free to ask questions before signing anything.
You will need to bring two forms of identification and a certified cashier’s check to cover closing costs, unless those costs have been included in the loan terms.
Once all the paperwork is signed, the title of the home will be transferred to you. Your lender will give you a mortgage payment schedule with instructions. You will leave the closing with a folder full of paper and a set of keys to your new home.
Congratulations, you are officially a homeowner!
STEP 9: Managing your Mortgage
Once you get the keys, your mortgage has to be managed. Gone are the days of ‘set it and forget it’ mortgages. It’s in your best interest to pay your monthly mortgage payments on time, every month, for the duration of the loan.
It is also in your best interest to review your mortgage on an annual basis. This is a free service we offer to everyone.