I am of course biased, but I feel your best bet is to find a really good Realtor first....Caveat: that they are in fact "good". (see below)
Your agent can then direct you to a few lenders to advise you on where you are financially. We call that getting "pre-qualified". Do this BEFORE you start your home search. And STICK to your budget.
#3 Read "Your First Home" by Gary Keller.
The best first home book out there...reads in about 2 hours.
#4 Attend a first time home buyer seminar.
We have a ton coming up, but they are all in town or around the perimeter area. Your agent can direct you to one up your way.
My (minimal) definition of "good" agent:
-5 years in the biz (Yes, I've known several rookies that were great....but it's risky)
-$2-3 million in closed volume consistently and at LEAST 12 transactions (3 years ago that number would have been $4-5mm and 20)
-Works the area where you will be buying. Too many agents work outside of their primary market, and I feel do the clients a dis-service.
-Integrity based individual. That's why getting a referral is likely your best bet.
Call me. 404-664-8633 I know the owners of the KW office up your way, and can direct you to an awesome agent.
Ask how much experience they have and if they are a full time agent. A full time agent will be with you every step of the way and at all times of the day as well. The word experienced speaks for itself.
Experienced agents have testimonials from past clients. You may even get a referral from friends or neighbors.
Look online and see if the agent has a website and if you google them, where do they place in the search engine rankings. Check out their website to learn more about them.
You will want to talk to the agent and see if you feel comfortable with them, do they seem knowledge, helpful, friendly.
Ask what type and how much continuing education classes they have taken. I think it is very important to keep up to date on all the issues going on in the real estate world.
Once you pick out an agent, stick with that agent. Don't call or go look at other homes with other agents. Your agent will know exactly what you are looking for and will have all of your information and criteria for homes. Your agent can show you any home, not just a home from their company. Remember your agent doesn't get paid a penny until you buy a home and it closes. If you look with a secondary agent, the first agent will not get paid anything. So if you see a house you like don't call the number on the sign, call your agent. If they are like me, they will have their iphone or blackberry handy and can look up the information on that home in few seconds.
If you decide you don't like your agent, send them an email or text and let them know you are switiching agents, that way they won't keep pestering you about other homes for sale and they can move on to another customer.
Call the agent and see how easily accesible they are. Of course, we don't work 24/7 but during normal business hours they should be paying attention to their phone. Do they give you their cell phone or do you have their voicemail number. Do they text or have a phone that gets email. Sometimes you can reach realtors easily by text or email. Being able to get ahold of your realtor is very important.
If you have any questions about the home inspection process of buying a home - please feel free to contact us.
Our website also has great information and videos about home inspections, feel free to check it out.
2. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to introduce you to a real estate consultant that focuses on 1st time buyers.
3. Make sure you and the realtor have an initial consultation where y'all discuss what's important to you about your proposed move.
5 Professional Assistance
Every need fulfills a purpose. Every need is attainable when the desire is stronger than the fear of failure.
Apply each word in its simplest form to give you the direction and the confidence to start your journey.
From your eyes to our ears. From your acceptance of the truth,possibilities,affordability, need, practicality and reasonable expectations
Support is always there never be without it.
Choose a Realtor that becomes your tool
1. The first step before you do anything is to find out how much money you can borrow from a bank/mortgage company. Check with different lenders to see who can get you the best deal. Once you know what you can afford, then you can begin to plan.
2. Determine what you need in a home, not necessarily what you want in a home. Make a list of those needs to give to your Realtor. When you are searching for homes you will find that it is very rare to find a home that has absolutely everything you are looking for. If you stick to what you actually need, you will have better success in your search.
3. Research areas/communities that are of interest to you. Determine what things are important such as schools, proximity to shopping, restaurants, and local activities. Drive through the communities to get a feel for what they are like.
4. Learn as much as you can about the process of buying a home. Some local Realtors or lenders will offer first time home buying seminars. If you can find one in your local area it would be helpful to attend. If you cannot attend a seminar, look on the Internet for a home buyers guide such as the one at Bankrate.com - http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/real-estate/BuyerGuide2004/
5. Select a local Realtor to help you begin your search for a home. You can search Internet sites such as Realtor.com or Homes.com, but a Realtor has access to all of the homes in the local MLS. They can provide you with information on the home, the area and answer any questions you may have. A Realtor can show you properties of interest.
6. Learn about the contract and what is involved. Your Realtor can take you through step by step the process of a contract. After it is signed by buyer and seller, it is called an executed contract. Then you would want to get a home inspection. If everything is fine with the inspection, then you can go forward towards closing.
7. Know what happens at closing. Again, a Realtor can walk you through what to expect at closing. You will need to have money for closing costs such as title search, processing fees, taxes, and insurance.
Buying your first home is an exciting and overwhelming experience. So make sure you are prepared.
Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL email@example.com
Five Star Realty
1203 W Marion Av
Punta Gorda, Fl 33950
I see that all agents agree that your first step is to speak with a mortgage lender to find out just how much home you can afford, it is also a good time to become educated with the types of loans which are available to you. An offer without a preapproval letter will not be seriously entertained by the seller.
Determine the area in which you would like to live and find an agent who will guide you through the steps, leading you to your home purchase. I wish you the best of luck. If you have any questions, please give me a call.
Interior Designer & Stager
Your first step should be to contact a mortgage broker or ask to speak to a mortgage specialist in your bank. You need to find out how much home you can afford. They will go through a process with you and ultimately give you a prequalification or preapproval letter. When you have this letter in hand is when you should contact a Realtor in your area.
It makes no sense to view homes before you know how much you are approved for. You will also need this letter to put in an offer whether with a bank for a foreclosure, a short sale or an organic sale.
Best of luck to you!
Elyse Berman, PA, ABR, ePro
Realty Associates Florida Properties
9174 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33434
Give me a call at 404-312-3459 and I can be your one stop shop by getting you pre-approved, setting you up with the best agent for your area, and getting you the cheapest yet fully covered homeowners insurance.
Check ou my profile and I look forward to working with you.
In reality, I think you must be fishing for a referral fee. Are there not enough prospects in San Diego - why are you even answering questions in GA? I don't get that - maybe I don't know how to properly monetize Trulia - I don't answer questions in Texas and CA because I am not really an expert in those areas and don,t want to misguide a poster, and any general real estate answers have already been answered to the extreme - but mostly it is all I can do to respond to posters in my own state!
And McGill, I highly recommend you ignore Buddy,s advice and Avoid mortgage Brokers - they can't begin to do the job as well as direct lenders in this market.
1) Figure out what you can comfortably afford. The local bank or the local branch of a regional or national bank has a mortgage lender on duty. They get paid by selling you a loan. However, they can still be very helpful with prequalification and, more importantly, pre-approval.
2) So, the lender says you can borrow up to $x. If you have a good junk to put down then look at $x+1/2 of your down payment and nothing any more expensive than that.
3) Go to a few open houses and talk to the agents. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING. I DO NOT CARE HOW NICE THEY SEEM.
4) Contact your friends who have purchased homes in the last two years in the same area and ask about their experiences.
5) Now find a REALTOR (because other agents have NOT agreed to abide by a Code of Ethics) who is also an Accredited Buyer Representative or ABR. From the REALTOR, ABR candidates select one based on your interview of them and any recommendations from friends regarding them.
6) NEVER buy a home using an Agent who is also selling the home. Dual agency, as it is known, is illegal in many states and, IMHO, should be illegal everywhere.
7) When in doubt, send me an email and I will try to help.
1. Check your credit scores. If the middle score is less than 660, work on cleaning your credit up before going any further. You'll need a credit score of at least 640 in order to get a loan (and your lender i going to "pull" your credit report a couple of times before deal is done, lowering it by about 5 points each time).
2. Go to a mortgage BROKER to get pre-qualified/pre-approved. They will "pull" your credit and calculate how much mortgage you can afford. A mortgage broker's credit pull will not lower your credit score (soft pull), but a mortgage BANKER (hard pull) will. Be careful who you go to. Ask around for recommendations.
When you first call your mortgage broker, ask for a complete list of things you will need to bring (W2s, pay check stubs, tax filings, etc). Giving your mortgage broker accurate information up front equals fewer disappointments later.
3. Consider your household , and write out a list of your wants and needs. Bring this list with you when you start interviewing agents to work with.
4. Interview a few agents and find someone you will be comfortable working with, someone who understands your wants, needs, available time to search. Have an agreement with your agent that you will both be completely upfront and frank with each other during the process, even if it means being blunt. A home is the largest investment most people make, there will be some stress and you need tobe able to talk with your agent about what's going on.
5. Sign a Buyer/Broker agreement. The agreement puts your agent under contract to work for YOU. In some states (including Texas), if you don't have the buyer/broker agreement, the agent is automatically working for the seller, and the seller is trying to get the most money for their home that they can. Protect yourself.
6. Start looking for your home. If your agent has truly listened to you, it should be an easy search. Let your agent preview the homes in your price range weeding ot those that wont' work for you.
7. Once you've found the home you want to make an offer on, have your agent "pull comps" (similar to doing an appraisal) The comps will give you an idea what to offer on the home. Listen to your agent, he/she will be able to tell you if the home is overpriced or not and guide you through the offering process.
8. The remainder of the process is a matter of keeping in contact with your agent and mortgage broker. when they need something, get it to them ASAP. Any delays in getting just one piece of paper can cause a week's delay at closing.
9. Once the deal is closed and you move into yournew home, enjoy. and don't forget to keep in contact with your agent, even after the closing. we have contacts for most of the professionals you may need (plumbers, decorators, etc) and at least the way I work, i considr my clients my friends.
I hope this helps and you enjoy your home search.
Keller Williams Premier Realty
I can help you with a referral to a great lender if you need it - I suggest you use direct lenders and avoid mortgage brokers - except in the case of the GA dream program - then American Home Key is the way to go.
Don't hesitate to contact me anytime you have a question or need sound advice.
Broker/Owner - Realtor
Professional Buyers Broker
New Home Construction Expert
ICC Code Certified Building Inspection Expert
'I Go The Extra Mile For Every Client - For No Extra Fee!"
Good for you~ Great start for 2011~ First there is a list of things that you can accomplish in order to get going in the right direction:
1. Have you been pre-qualified with a mortgage lender to see exactly how much you can qualify for? My suggestion is to do that first. A pre-qualification can answer your buying power, your credit elibility, down payment required, down payment assistance if need be.
2. The pre-qualification can be turned into a pre-approval very easy. A pre-approval is providing supporting documentation to the Pre-Qulaification and getting an underwrite to support it. Then your "pre-approval letter" will be in hand to go shopping with. That allows you strong buying and "serious" buying power. Today that is important with the Foreclosure market we are in.
3. Narrow down to the area, the price and specifics. I like the answer Amanda McMahan gave, what is specifically your looking for in a home. What are the important factors.
4. Align yourself with a knowledgable Buyers Agent that can take you shopping, looking and neg a great contract and price for you.
I have been helpng buyers with mortgages for 18 years, if you should have any further questions, please do not hestitate to call me. I thank you for the opportunity to answer for you~
Sr. Mortgage Consultant
Community Capital Bank
Use a Buyer's Agent. Their knowledge and experience can help you avoid many costly mistakes. It cost's you nothing unless it's stated otherwise in the Buyer's Agreement. Remember, an Agent on the sign in the yard represents the Seller's interests. A Buyer's Agent looks after your's. Find an agent that sells primarily in the area you want to move into. They know the area well. They'll know how to navigate through the entire buying process..
Wish you the best!
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners-Buford
If you already don't have a lender then talk to the agent to find out who he or she uses. I have three that I use and one is my go to guy. If he can't do it, good chance it can't be done. I require that my team does its work up front. I don't want suprises for my client. A good loan officer is going to tell you what you qualify for, and if there are any blemishes they can tell you what you need to do.
I would more than happy to talk with you. I am just a phone call or email away.
I suggest you speak to a lender and tell them you want to get pre qualiifed so you can determine how much you qualifiy for and from that you can asess your lifestyle spending needs and detarmine how much home would be the most comfortable. You have to consider and plan for home maintenace costs and I can help you there, Depending on the homes condition and type of construction annual maintenance costs can vary greatly. I am uniquely qualified to help you on both counts.
As for hiring an agent you want to interview a few, and dont hire anyone just because a friend or realative referred them - do your own homework. Agents are not all alike, and their services can vary dramatically. What matters in the end is experienced advice and what the agent can do for you that will really help you get a great home at the best price and reduce your risks.
There are some incredible deals right now, and some incredible junk that "looks good" on the surface. My unique buyer representation service model will ensure you never submit an offer on the wrong home.
Feel free to contact me for more information, and depending on where you want to buy I may be able to offer you my Wise Buyer Program - it is the absolute best way to buy or build a home in GA.
See the website below for details, and unmatched buyer benefits and protections.
Step 2 after you know what you can afford and have qualified for then contact a reliable local agent.
We're the number one lender of Georgia Dream home loans. I work for a regional direct lender.
Georgia FHA Leader
Ken Cook 678-439-8683
NMLS ID 208452
Employer: AmericaHomeKey, Inc. 2300 Windy Ridge Parkway, Atlanta GA 30339. Georgia residential mortgage licensee #23191. NMLS ID 15076. Equal housing lender. Subject to errors, omissions and changes. Loans subject to approval.
Keep it short, simple and to the point; don't let an agent stray from your questions. It sould take no more than 15 minutes to see which agents are productive, then it's a matter of personal choice.
Do NOT hire anyone because they are friends or relatives, that will cost you relationships and money.
The next step would be working with a local real esate agent to find a property that would meet these requirements!
I have been helping buyers & sellers in Metro Atlanta for many years and would be happy to assist!
Provide copy of that letter to your selected Buyer Agent which governs how to work on your behalf.
Know what type of property you want, area of town, room count , pool or no pool. This assist a Realtor in your search
Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
I really don't think a mortgage broker is the 1st step because they have no real idea of anything more than the mortgage process.
It gets a little funky when you deal with agents that you have no idea what their firm is or who they are.
Brandon Alexander l T: 404.626.8567 l F: 404.761.0800 l E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Manager l REALTORÂ® l Barbara J. Alexander Realty Company, Inc.
Please feel free to call me and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
You can ready about me and my services here: http://activerain.com/juliadsr
Julia De Sosa-Rocha