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Four Steps For First-Time Homebuyers 

By Trevia Hunter, Keller Williams Ballantyne-Area Agent 


So, you’ve decided to dip your toes into the waters of home ownership! If you’re a first-time homebuyer, who has made the decision to stop paying rent and start building equity, following are four things every first-time homebuyer should know to move your home ownership goals from a dream to reality.

  1. Pick a real estate agent you can trust. There is a lot more involved in your new home search than an agent opening doors for you to view homes that are for sale. The agent you select should meet with you in an initial consultation and be interested in educating you about the home buying process. They should familiarize you with terms and definitions unique to the process, like what is due diligence and how does it work. The agent should discuss what is going on in your market, what is expected of you as a buyer, different vendors you will work with, like an appraiser and inspector, and be able to answer questions knowledgeably. It’s okay to interview more than one agent for the job of being your realtor.  The purchase of a home is the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime, so taking care in choosing whom you will work with is key. 
  1. Choose a lender. In a way, buying a home is like buying an outfit for a special occasion. Before you shop, you think about what you want to wear and how much you want to spend. You set a budget and that budget determines what stores you go to. When buying a house, your home shopping budget is guided by the lender and the results of the lender’s analysis. You may talk to a couple different lenders before you choose a good fit for you. It’s okay to shop around. Some of the topics you might want to consider asking about include interest rates, loan products/programs, and general education about the home buying process from the lender perspective. Once you select a lender, they will need to run your credit in order to determine your credit worthiness, budget, and issue you a preapproval letter. You should not begin the process of looking at homes before you complete this step and get preapproved for a home loan. You don’t have to max out the budget the lender approves you for, but information is power and knowing your affordability level is important. 
  1. Make a list of what you’re looking for in a home, give it to your agent and take the list with you when you go on showings.  In our currently competitive market, once you see a home that fits your needs, be in a position to make a strong offer. Your list should be separated between wants and needs so that you will not forget any needs in the excitement of finding a home that you think might be a good fit.  Be prepared to be flexible, but weigh your options carefully. Make a solid informed choice and you won’t experience buyer remorse. 
  1. Save as much as you can and be prepared for the expenses you will encounter. Your budgeting forecast should include due diligence, earnest money, inspections, appraisals, down payment, closing costs, etc. Understand the impact on your budget if your offer is above list price and there is an appraisal gap. These are examples of expenses homebuyers in our market are experiencing now, so become well versed in what these terms mean. 

Buying your first home is exciting. Following the information here will help you accomplish your goals. Have fun and enjoy the process. 

Before discovering her passion for all things real estate, Trevia Hunter, a mom of three, enjoyed a career in the banking industry. Licensed in NC & SC, she and her husband are Keys to the Carolina LLC, powered by Keller Williams Realty – Ballantyne Area.  They service buyers, sellers, and investors. To contact Trevia, email [email protected] or call her at 704-953-3070. 

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