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7 Step First Time Home Buyer’s Guide

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7 Step First Time Home Buyer’s Guide

First, Determine exactly how much you can afford. Sit down and evaluate your monthly budget. It is important to know what amount of money you are comfortable spending every month on housing. Consider how much money you can apply towards a down payment, the more the better.

Second, speak with a lender. You may already know someone who is a lender, however I strongly encourage you to “shop rates” and programs. Talk to several lenders and compare what rates and terms they can offer that put you within your predetermined monthly payment range. A realtor can put you in contact with their personal preferred lenders who are able to search multiple mortgage products. Any reputable lender who shops rates for you will not only provide you your estimated monthly loan payment amount but should also attempt to accurately include monthly costs such as taxes and housing association fees, if those apply. You want a complete picture of what you will be paying monthly for housing. In addition lenders should search rates for you free of charge and obligation. Once you make a decision on a lender, request a pre-qualification letter.

Third, find your home. You will need to weigh criteria such as type of home, commute times, school districts, amenities, price, and so much more. Keep in mind that the asking price of a home is almost always negotiable. You have probably already done some searching on the internet which is a great way to get a feel for the market. If a picture is worth a thousand words than actually seeing the home in person is worth so much more. Contact a realtor if you have not done so. An agent who is very familiar with your area can quickly identify homes which fit your criteria. You both will set up a time and place to meet and view as many homes as it takes.

Fourth, negotiate. Your agent should perform a market analysis on the home of interest. Based on that analysis, together you will form a negotiation strategy. During negotiations typically both the seller and buyer counter offer at least once. Negotiations not only include price, but such details as repairs the property may need, closing date, closing costs, and can even cover the appliances. An experienced, assertive, proactive realtor can be invaluable during this step.

Fifth, inspection. You are now considered “under contract”. You have limited time to perform a home inspection. This is vital whenever buying a home. A home is most likely the largest single purchase you will make in your life, you want to be sure there aren’t any surprises awaiting you. A home inspector has knowledge of virtually every facet of the “nuts and bolts” of a house. The inspector will identify any potential problems with your future home. While under contract you have a window of opportunity to make changes to the contract and negotiate with the seller to fix any problems.

Sixth, paperwork. Your agent will be responsible for many documents. However there will be some that you have to fill out and others to review. They will assist you through much of this and by the end you will be familiar with names such as “mortgage application”, “home owners insurance”, “settlement statement”, and others.

Seventh, closing. Once all the “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed the sellers, buyers, agents, and occasionally lender will meet at the attorney’s office. During the closing ,and many signatures later, a legal transfer of the property will take place. Congratulations, you are now a home owner!

Jodi Suguitan is a licensed realtor of Solid Source Realty in Atlanta Georgia. Visit her at

An active Realtor in the Atlanta area. She has many years of experience working with both home buyers and sellers. Visit her at

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