Your jg First-Time Homebuyer Worksheet
Buying your first home is a big deal. It’s the biggest financial purchase you’ll ever make and a process that involves many steps and procedures you’ll be navigating for the first time. Learning about the homebuying process in advance of your home search can help you prepare for what’s ahead.
As a first-time homebuyer, you’ll be entering into a transaction that typically involves a set of standard steps. But when you’re a newcomer to the real estate world, you can feel like the explorer without a map. At john greene Realtor, we’ve helped hundreds of first-time homebuyers find their way. That’s why we created our jg Home Buyer’s Guide you can receive via email. We’ve also listed out the major homebuying steps in this handy worksheet.
Ready to buy your first home? Contact us today to get started.
Select a john greene Agent
Choose a real estate agent who has experience in the area where you want to live. This is especially important if you don’t live in the area. Your john greene agent has local knowledge you can leverage as you search for a home. How fast are homes selling? Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? Even if you already live in the community where you want to buy, a local john greene agent will be up to date on market conditions that might affect your home search and purchase.
Your john greene agent can also make recommendations for lenders, home inspectors, and other professional services you might need during your home-buying journey.
Set a Homebuying Budget
Figure out how much you can afford to spend on a home. You’ll need to look at such factors as your monthly income, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. Another factor that affects how much home you can buy is the down payment. A smaller down payment means a higher monthly mortgage payment. Finally, the interest rate and terms will determine what you can afford in monthly payments.
A down payment is a one-time cost you’ll make to buy your home. Another one-time expenditure is closing costs. According to Investopedia, closing costs typically range from 2 to 5 percent of the home’s purchase price.
Your home-buying budget should also include recurring costs. Your monthly mortgage payment will likely be your biggest recurring cost, but you’ll also need to factor in such items as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and perhaps homeowners association fees. Including one-time costs and recurring costs will give you a more accurate estimate of your total home buying costs.
Create Your Homebuying Criteria
Use your homebuying budget to develop a list of criteria for a home that fits what you can afford to buy. This is when you’ll outline how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, your desired living space by square footage, and your desired lot size.
Once you determine those basic home features, make a list of wants and needs to help you and your john greene agent narrow your search. The following list includes features first-time homebuyers often look for. Decide whether each is a “must-have” and “would like to have” feature. Be sure to add your own criteria.
- Outdoor living spaces
- Fenced-in yard
- Hardwood floors
- Finished basement
- Home office
- Eat-in kitchen
- Formal dining room
- Open floor plan
- In-law/au pair suite
- Media room/game room
- Master bath with walk-in shower
- Easy access to shopping
- Easy access to entertainment
- Walkable neighborhood
- Low maintenance exterior
- Low maintenance lot
- Other (add your own)
Now that you’ve established your budget and your must-have features, it’s time to look at houses. Based on the current inventory of homes, your john greene agent will recommend the properties that best fit your needs.
Online listings and 3D tours are great digital tools, but visiting homes in person is still the best way to evaluate a home for sale. Be sure to leave with listing sheets and marketing materials you can use for reference as you compare homes. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of the homes you’ve seen. Include viewing dates along with the homes’ addresses, listing price, lot size, and square feet of living space. You may look at multiple homes and you won’t need to rely on your memory to recall which homes you’ve viewed.
Make an Offer
When you’re ready to make an offer on a home, your john greene agent will prepare a market analysis to help you determine a fair price. This will take into account such factors as the condition of the home, how many days on market and recent comparable sales.
Then your agent will help you prepare and submit your offer. The seller will either accept your offer, decline the offer, or present a counter-offer. Before you submit your initial offer, have a strategy in place for responding to a counter-offer.
Get a Home Inspection
A home inspection is a professional third-party report on the home’s condition. The inspector will tour the home and inspect major systems including heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical. The inspection will also cover the roof, attic and visible insulation, the basement and foundation, as well as structural components like walls, ceilings, windows, and doors.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a good source of information for learning more about the home inspection process. They have a detailed FAQ that spells out what a home inspection involves.
Get a Home Appraisal
The bank appraisal determines the market value for determining loan value. If the home doesn’t appraise for the purchase price, the bank will refuse to make the loan unless you renegotiate with the seller or bring cash to the closing. If it appraises, the lender will move toward closing.
Go to Closing
Your john greene agent will guide you through all the important legal documents and closing events to make sure everything goes smoothly. When you work with a john greene agent, you can be confident we will be with you all the way across the finish line when you get your keys to your new home.