Find Out What You can Afford
Your mortgage lender will look at numbers to determine what you can afford. Your total debt, including car payments and other loans. Compare your Debt to Income ratio.
Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
Lenders contact your employer and bank to verify your income, check your credit history and determine that you can be approved for a mortgage of a certain amount. While you're not obligated to take this mortgage, it shows the sellers that you are a serious buyer.
Start the Home Search
Most first-time buyers work with a realtor who knows the listings in the neighborhoods where they are interested in living. You may not get everything you want at the price you are comfortable with, so be prepared to compromise. Prioritize what's important to you -- location, school district, numbers of bedrooms or baths, etc.
Look at Your Options
If you can't afford everything you want in a single family home, consider a condo or townhouse. Look at enough properties that you understand what's available in the price range in which you are approved.
Make An Offer
When you've found the right home, make an offer. If it's far below the asking price, be prepared for a counter-offer and some negotiation. Don't be pressured into offering more than you can handle -- if the price of the home is out of your range, you must be willing to walk away.
Settle on a Price
If you can agree with the seller on a price, you will sign a contract and be asked to put down "earnest money" to hold the deal. Make sure your contract specifies that your money will be returned if you withdraw the offer.
Are you ready to buy your first home?
Require a Home Inspection
Make it a contingency that there is an inspection by a certified home inspector as a condition of the sale. This inspection will identify any structural, electronic or plumbing issues within the home, and can save you big repair expenses that may not immediately be obvious.
Prepare for Closing
As soon as you receive final loan approval, you should confirm the time and date of settlement (an estimated date may be in your sales contract) with the seller and the lender. Allow enough time to complete all required documents and plan to make a final inspection of your new home to ensure no recent damage has occurred and the seller has honored all repair agreements.
Signing and Paying
If everything checks out, you'll sign the papers and wire the transfer of funds, submitting your mortgage paperwork along with application and closing fees. You'll be signing a lot of paperwork -- at the closing you'll go over all of it and will be presented with the keys to your new home. It's time to start enjoying the tax benefits -- and the pride -- of home ownership!
4348 Van Nuys Boulevard, Suite 200 | Sherman Oaks, California 91403
o. 818.907.5757 | f. 818.907.5626
2583 North Palm Canyon Drive, #200 | Palm Springs, California 92262
Corporate BRE: #01144034 | NMLS: #31338
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