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Lake Charles | 2 Posts

Buying your first home is a lot of work. Here's a guide for keeping you on the right track.

The path to buying your first home is long, complicated, and often emotional. You can expect to encounter numerous challenges throughout the process. However, once you make it through, you'll officially be a homeowner, which is a great feeling that often makes the short-term turmoil seem worthwhile.

Our real estate agents can tell you that with the right support, you can easily navigate and overcome the complexities of a real estate transaction. From choosing a home to securing financing to managing the closing process, it's important to remember you'll have an experienced professional in your corner every step of the way. 

To help our first-time homebuyer clients, we created this quick step-by-step survival guide to purchasing your first home.

  • Step 1: Get Pre-Approved
    Before you begin home shopping, you need to understand your borrowing power, and getting pre-approved by a lender is the right first step. Be sure to check rates with at least 3 lenders and a mortgage broker to ensure you're getting the best deal. As part of the pre-approval process, you'll need to supply the lender with bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs, and they'll need to pull your credit. If you're pre-approved, you'll receive a letter with the total amount the bank is willing to lend you (subject to credit checks and terms).

  • Step 2: Choose A Real Estate Agent
    The quality of your real estate agent can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your home purchase, so you'll want to make sure you're working with someone who has experience. Interview multiple agents and ask about their process as well as recent sales and purchases. Also, consider their communication style, how quickly they can turn around offers, and whether or not they have the time to take on a first-time homebuyer as a client.

  • Step 3: Start Shopping
    Before you begin searching for a home, it's important to narrow down your selection criteria. Consider the items most important to you: size, location, price, and amenities. Your real estate agent can set you up for new home email alerts on the MLS website, so you'll know as soon as more Lake Charles homes for sale hit the market. You can also attend open houses on the weekends and work with your agent to schedule private tours.

  • Step 4: Make Your Offer
    Once you've found the perfect home, you'll want to work with your lender when considering your offer. Your lender can help calculate your potential monthly mortgage payment based on your proposed offer price. When you settle on a price, talk with your agent about inspection contingencies you'll want to include (home inspection, sewer, pest, radon, etc.). Once you come up with your offer, your agent can write it up and submit it.

  • Step 5: Negotiate Terms
    The seller may counter with a higher price or propose to eliminate some of the contingencies. Throughout the process, you'll need to carefully consider what you're willing to concede while letting your real estate agent manage the negotiations.

  • Step 6: Submit Your Mortgage Application
    As soon as the seller accepts your offer, you'll want to notify your lender as soon as possible so they can start to process your mortgage application. You may need to provide updated documentation (W2s, pay stubs, etc.). It will take several weeks for your loan to be approved, and during this time, it's essential that your credit profile, employment, and financial situation remain the same. Also, refrain from moving funds between bank accounts and changing jobs if you can help it.

  • Step 7: The Final Walkthrough And Closing
    One last step before the seller hands over the keys: the final walkthrough and the closing. This step is fairly simple — you'll have one last chance to walk through the home and ensure the seller made any agreed-upon repairs. If everything looks good, then you'll meet with both real estate agents, the title company, and potentially even the sellers, in order to sign off on all required documentation. 

    The seller's agent will hand over the keys, the title company will send the deed in the mail, and the home is finally yours!

Real estate transactions are complicated, but you don't have to go through them alone. Make sure to have a good real estate agent in your corner, and contact us today for more first-time home-buying tips!

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