To Do List For First Time Home Buyers

Dated: 01/16/2019

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Congratulations! You're looking to buy your first home and you're taking the first step - figuring out what's the first step. I've put together a short list of 8 things for you to do as a first time home buyer. 


Plan ahead and save for your down payment, closing costs, escrow for insurance and taxes, and for other costs that you may have to pay for, such as an inspection, appraisal, CL-100, repairs, etc.


Keep up with your credit score! Don’t miss payments, stay current on your bills, don’t cancel any credit cards. The higher your credit score, the better rates you could get.


Find out if you can buy a home or how to get on track to get there, which loans you are eligible for, and how much you can afford.


Figure out what you want in a home. Separate your wants from needs. Do you want four bedrooms, but you need three? Do you need a fireplace, or do you want one? Need a fenced in backyard or an office? Biggest things to think about are number of bedrooms, bathrooms, minimum number or maximum number of acres, area, and maximum price point.


Why use a realtor to buy rather than Zillow or talking to For Sale By Owners? Well, most of the time, Zillow’s estimates aren’t going to be correct, or they are not updated with MLS – Multiple Listing Service, where realtors list their properties for sale. Most of the time, For Sale By Owner's don't know how to really price their home (not saying all, but most). A buyer’s agent sets up searches for you, sets up showings, finds out more information about whatever property you’re interested in, but they also do the paperwork for you (and there is a lot of it – offers, contracts, counteroffers, addendums, agreements, repair reports, etc.), they set up the inspections, appraisals, CL-100 (termite test), and they keep you and everyone else on track for closing. Also, did you know that working with a buyer’s agent is FREE? Their commission comes from the seller’s side. Therefore, you have no excuse not to work with a buyer’s agent.


Once you choose your realtor and go over what you are looking for in your new home, they will set up searches and find you a list of homes to see. They will always try to find exactly what you’re looking for, but if it’s not out there, they try to be as close as possible. When you start house hunting, make sure to take notes and pictures if it’s a home you like or would consider, in case you forget later, want to add it to your list, or just want to keep it in mind.


Once you find the house you want to buy, it’s time to put in an offer. There was a time where you could be hesitant and had more time to think, but now isn’t that time. There aren’t many sellers, but we still have a lot of buyers, so if there’s a good deal out there, it’s going to go quick. Think about this before you send in that extremely low offer or want to take a few days to "sleep on it." Yes, buying a home is a huge decision and financial choice to make, BUT this is why you should know what you want and are looking for before you get here. 

You can make the offer contingent on a few things, that basically give you a safe way out or an escape route if any problems pop up. Keep in mind, with most new constructions you will not be able to do this. If the contract is contingent on the appraisal, and the appraisal comes back too low and negotiations can’t be made, you can back out. If the contract is contingent on inspections, and the report comes back with a huge problem or just things that the seller won’t agree to fix (and it’s worth it), you can back out. If the contract is contingent on financing and something changes financially and you cannot get the loan, you can and basically have to back out.


If you can get through these steps and this process, you’ll get to closing, get your keys and move into your new home!

To make the process as smooth and easy as possible, find a buyer’s agent to work with. We are here to hold your hand through the entire process.

In the Upstate of South Carolina and looking to buy your first home? Let me help you.

Enna Salihbasic


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