Profile picture for user544341

Buying my first home... NO idea what I'm doing - Advise welcome!

Hello,  I'm buying my first place, and looking for a home.  I've got good credit and make pretty good money.  The only issue is, is that I have no clue where to start?  Where do I go to get pre-approved for a loan? Do I contact a real-estate angent?  Who and what should I be talking about and talking to?  ... Seriously, I'm too sheltered, and could use some advise to help me in the "gray" area for me.  Thanks in advance!
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 11 2012 - US
We think we've answered this question for you!
  • Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.
 
 

Answers (18)

Start with a Real Estate Agent, they will work with qualified lenders.  They will point you in the right direction.  Do you need a Real Estate Agent?
Shelly Mercado

  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 26 2012
You should contact a few local brokers and interview them.  Go with the one that you feel the most comfortable with.  Once you "hire" a broker, he/she will be able to walk you throught he entire home buying process.  The first step is to get pre-approved.  Get a few quotes.  Your bank, a mortgage broker referred to you by the broker and possibly a credit union.

Good luck!
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 26 2012
You're looking for advice independently, and that's absolutely the way to go.  One thing I would add is to have a realistic idea of how handy you are.  If doing major work doesn't bother you, you have the latitude to go with a fixer-upper and save money.  If this isn't you, don't buy a house that's been a little too "lived in."

Also, when you get it narrowed down to a few properties, get a really thorough home inspection.  I mean thorough.  Many sellers are having these done as a way to reassure buyers that their houses are in good shape, so don't be afraid to ask the seller if he or she has an inspection report.  If not, you definitely don't want to buy the house without getting one.  Interview the inspectors, check their websites, and most of all, ask for references.  If the references aren't glowing, keep looking.  Good luck on your search!

Best wishes,
Bob Greeley
Inside Out Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Virginia Beach, VA
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 26 2012
Hello! You would start with getting a mortgage pre-approval prior to contacting an agent. I see you mentioned that you have good credit and money however it's a good idea to have that in writing from a mortgage lender. Afterward, ask around to friends or relatives to see how their real estate worked for them...they may be able to refer you to the realtor they used to help. The realtor you select will walk you through the entire home buying process to help eliminate any additional stress. Good Luck!
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 21 2012
Profile picture for user673408
Real Estate Agents are selling services so of course as individuals and as an industry they are going to tell you to contact them as soon as possible or first.

That's why consumers need to become informed, so they can do better at separating agents selling services or themselves or their industry from useful advice/information
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 21 2012
Pretty much all of the very experienced and talented real estate agents here have said some of what I was going to say. So I am going to wish you good luck. Don't stress yourself out over nothing-That's a Realtor job.:-). Good luck to you and please tell us about your home buying experience and post some pictures of your new home as well. People love seeing picutres.:-)
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 21 2012
Start at the beginining.  Do your research and everything will work out fine. Interview agents in the area you are looking in and once you find the right one you will know it! Good Luck!
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 19 2012
Profile picture for MBExclusive
You really should call a brokerage and seek a reputable realtor, and have a meeting with a loan officer at your bank and get pre-approved. These are two excellent steps. Congratulations!
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 19 2012

Before you start looking for homes, it's good to be both pre-approved by a lender/bank, and have a good realtor.

Go into any one of the major realtor agencies nearby and talk with the broker about what kind of realtor you're looking for.  How experienced they are, if they're familiar with hud, etc.  What their hours are and if they coincide with the hours you'll be able to go out looking at the homes.  They know all the realtors at the office and will be able to help you find the one that's right for you.

You can also find good information about how to assess if an agent is right for you at:

http://www.residential-real-estate-companion.com/find-a-real-estate-agent.html
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 19 2012
I would start with a local realtor that someone you know has used before and had a good experience with.  A good realtor should be able to answer all your questions AND refer you to a good mortgage broker to help you on that end as well.  Best of luck.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 13 2012
Everyone has given you good advice. 
I would add, relax.  .
Some people look at 12 homes before they buy...others 30 or more. There is no hurry.
 Look until you find a home that you really like. You will know it when you've found the right one.
Looking at homes will help you decide on what you want and what you must have and what you can live without.
 In addition, you might do some research on your own at www.realtor.com.  As you look at homes in your price range, you will know more about what is out there.  Drive some of the neighborhoods you like and can afford and get a feel for them. 
Buying a home is a process.  It takes time.  There is the right home out there for you and you'll know it when you see it.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 12 2012
The first place to start is to get preapproved for a loan.  You can do this either with a mortgage broker or your bank.  They will go through your finances, pay stubs, income, etc and tell you how much house you can afford.  Once you have this preapproval, then is the time to contact a Realtor.  

Google buyer's agents in your area.  Go to their websites.  Read their testimonials and reviews.  Read their blogs.  Call them and get a feel for them.  You are going to have a working relationship with your Realtor so find somebody you think is competent, someone you like and trust and someone you can get along with.   You can also go to www.rebac.net to search for buyer's agents in your area.  

Once you have found an agent that you're happy with, they will ask you about the preapproval and, most likely, want to see it. This is so they can take you to the correct houses that fit your criteria.   Once you have found a trusted buyer's agent, they will seamlessly guide you through the entire transaction from beginning through closing.  

Best of luck to you on your first home!  If I can be of any help, please let me know.  
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 12 2012
I recall being in this same mental space a few years back.  I had no clue where to begin and my parents had bought their home so long ago, that they couldn't offer any advice.  The first thing I did was went to the library and checked out a few books on buying a home (read a couple) then I started driving around the area I wanted to buy in on Saturdays and Sundays hoping to find my dream home at an open house (which didn't happen).  Lastly, I scrolled through pictures of local agents on realtor.com until I found 2 that seemed nice, read their profiles and chose the one I wanted to meet with. 

Luckily the agent I chose was well connected and she was able to refer me to a bank for a home loan pre-approval, as well as spend time showing me homes in my target area.  I actually ended up buying on the outskirts of the area I thought I wanted to live in because my agent showed me how much more I could buy for less money. 

Personally, I am a Deal-o-holic so I LOVE to coupon, etc.  She began speaking my language when she gave me tips on saving money on my mortgage and negotiating the sales price. 

So, I think it's best to grab a book on the subject first, then a Full-time agent.

  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 11 2012
Profile picture for B Mike West
Navigating the home buying process can be daunting.  Fortunately, most first-time home buyers survive the experience.  The goal, of course, is to make the process as painless as possible.  There is going to be stress involved.
Lloyd and Nan have given you good advice.  There are two things that I would add.  Make sure you pick a full-time Realtor, not a friend's co-worker who helps people once in a while.  Second, make sure the Realtor you choose is one you trust and feel comfortable working with. If you have a good working relationship they can guide you through the process and help you avoid the most frustrating pitfalls.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 11 2012
Profile picture for hpvanc
Go to the library and read up on the subject, then start researching online.  You need to have a grasp of the market and how the process works before you contact a lender and way before you start talking to agents.  You have to be able to recognize whether the lender and agent are forthcoming with you or just doing anything they can to get the sale.  Get informed and be prepared to stand your ground before talking to an agent. 

Right now you look like an easy mark for agents that claim to be buyers agents, but are nothing more than high pressure salespeople that want you to trust them because they signed a contract that says they work for you and talk/emotion as the basis for trust, not actual earned trust.  You start contacting agents after you are educated and fully prepared to buy not before.  Consumers that allow agents to guide their education on the market and process do so at their own peril, some of agents will work in your best interest, but you have to know the difference to find them, and if you still choose wrong (which many of us have) be able to recognize it after the fact and protect your own interests.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 11 2012
Profile picture for Dunes ..
The First thing you do IS NOT run out and just use any ol Lender/Agent....

Why? Because this is a very Large Business Transaction and the Selection of an Lender/Agent is an Important one for a lot of different reasons..

Select wisely and take the time to be sure you find the Best Lender/Agent for you...
Become informed..be smart with your money...if there is a good Deal be able to recognize it, if there is a Bad Deal be able to recognize it

Here are some places to start..Check out the info, resources, options you have available to protect yourself..to find what you are looking for..Good Luck


I would suggest you give this Fed. Gov. Site a look, it has all the Current Fed Housing Loans (FHA/Vet/USDA ect.) and you search for specific information, compare options, or take a short questionnaire to determine your eligibility for each program.....Fed Loans..Housing

I would suggest you read the 9 Steps to Homebuying on the Hud site as they are an excellent guide & Resource plus links to your Local Homebuyer Programs....
(Step 3 is interview lenders..Step 5 is interview RE Agents)..
Buying a Home

Check out all this information from the Dept. of Justice Web Site...
Competing Models of Real Estate Brokerage

Consumers Can Save Thousands of Dollars in Commissions

Competition and Real Estate... Real Estate Laws in Your State

You could also make use of the Fed Gov and Banks Sites they have created to allow the Public to view their Properties for Sale/Foreclosure/REO..Get a feel for Prices and different Options

Sites like...HUD Homes...Fannie Mae
You can find the links to all the Gov sites here...Link

Bank sites like....Bank of America...Wells Fargo
You can find links to Bank sites here...Link

For finding Public Records, Property Records, Tax Sales posted ect. you may find this Public Records Search Engine helpful...Check it out
Free Public Records Search Directory

You have options..become familiar with them..Protect yourself
& Good Luck
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 11 2012

Your question is a great one.  The first thing that I would do is ask a friend for a referral or go on Zillow and find an agent in your area, with great reviews.  The agent should be able to refer you to a qualified lender that will verify your credit worthiness, income and then let you know how much of a mortgage/home you can qualify for.  With that "Pre-Approval" in hand, you can start looking.  You will want to figure out what size/type of property you desire.  Remember that given the choice; generally speaking, a single family home will give you the most appreciation and least depreciation.  The old saying, Location, Location, Location is also true.  The Realtor can guide you on this.

Your Realtor should be able to direct you to all the necessary inspectors that you will need in the purchase as well as any contractors/handymen that you may require, as well as the associated costs.  The Realtor should also be able to educate you on the purchase process in detail, including the actions necessary by you, the lender, title/escrow and where applicable, attorneys, along with the expected timelines.

If you would like a referral to a qualified RE/MAX Realtor in your area, I would be happy to do some research and identify one.  Please don't hesitate to call me if I can be of any assistance.

Lloyd Felix


  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 11 2012
So sorry your feeling stressed, buying your first home should be an exciting and memorable experience.  First thing I would suggest is talk to friends and co workers and get recommendations for realtors and mortgage banks they have done business with and had a good experience. Then set up a meeting with the ones they recommend and find people you feel your comfortable with becasue you will be spending a lot of time with them.

Good luck
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
July 11 2012
 
Related Questions
home buying specifics
Profile picture for Diane Chandler
Latest answer by Diane Chandler
33 minutes ago | 1 answers
Should I withdraw my offer?
Profile picture for Dorene Slavitz
Latest answer by Dorene Slavitz
2 hours ago | 8 answers
How to avoid dishonest real estate agent and what recourse I have to address issues
Profile picture for Charlotte Turner
Latest answer by Charlotte Turner
4 hours ago | 2 answers
Does my lender have to call the listing agent?
Profile picture for Janice Nolan
Latest answer by Janice Nolan
13 hours ago | 16 answers
New build pond lots: What's the deal?
Profile picture for lastubbe
Latest answer by lastubbe
13 hours ago | 2 answers
Mortgage Rates
 
Be A Good Neighbor

Zillow Advice depends on each member to keep it a safe, fun, and positive place. If you see abuse, flag it. More on our Good Neighbor Policy.