As a real estate agent, there is nothing more gratifying than helping a first-time home buyer. It can be both an exciting and an overwhelming process. In the Bay Area’s highly competitive environment, the greater the preparation early in the process, the better the chances will be of securing that first home.
Even before identifying a property, understand how much money you can borrow and more importantly, how much you can afford. Often, these may be two different things. Select a local lender to help you evaluate your options. The lender will check your credit scores, employment history and other financial information to determine the actual loan amount you will qualify for.
Know the appraised value of the property before you make an offer. Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for your value questions.
Once through the process, your lender can prepare a preapproval letter that will be needed to accompany any offers. Additionally, at the risk of stating the obvious, don’t forget that you will need liquid funds to enter into a contract on a home. Be prepared to write a check for the earnest money deposit (generally 3 percent of the purchase price) and for home inspections.
It is surprising how often buyers overlook the need for liquidity and wind up scrambling to sell stocks or wire funds into their bank account at the last minute.
Select a real estate agent to help you identify properties that meet your criteria. Although most home buyers begin their search online, a knowledgeable Realtor will be able to suggest the various neighborhoods that meet your needs and help you focus your property visits. An agent will also be able to help you understand the “list” price range you should be considering. This is particularly important in a market where properties are often selling well above the asking price.
Getting an offer accepted may take several tries and will undoubtedly be a process of negotiation and compromise.
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