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First time home buyer, where do I start?

What's my first step? I'm in California and looking to buy my first property. Condo vs. house? Single, 30yrs old. Help!
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June 23 2013 - San Diego
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Answers (8)

Good Morning!
Your first step is to get pre-approved with a lender so you can find out what price range you 1) qualify for and 2) feel comfortable at the monthly payment amount. Once you get that sorted, we can start identifying the properties both condos and single family homes that fit that price point. Then we can talk about what factors are the most important to you. I would love the opportunity to walk you through this fun and exciting process. Contact me directly and we can get started today :)
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June 24 2013
1) Get Pre-Qualified and then pre-Approved so you know how much house you can buy...and have a lender backing you.
2) Use a good Real Estate Agent..to guide you.
3) Show proof of funds for the down payment.
4) Put down 2.5%-3% Earnest Money Deposit

If you are in Irvine, CA...I'd love to help you.  I also have an amazing Lender as a resource.
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June 23 2013
Well most first time buyers are considering Foreclosures if your looking for a Foreclosure or considering one the competition is stiff, My suggestion based on personal experience is Contact the listing agent, and if the home is priced fair you must offer full price and do not ask for any repairs, made that mistake a few times , Most realtors will tell you that if there are multiple offers at full asking price the Bank usually ask for final and best offer from competing buyers, Trust me that is not always the case again based on experience, So don't be afraid to offer Full price from the start but the most important thing in purchasing a foreclosure is to Contact the listing agent, bottom line is Agents are not making a whole lot of money on a bank owned property thus to have to share with another agent their commission they will usually move on to another buyer that has inquired about the listing without an agent, it's tough competition ..
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June 23 2013
Hi there,

I know home buying can seem overwhelming, especially the first time.   But really, it's just a series of steps.

The first step is to get pre-approved for a loan. And, not a quick pre-qualification, but a full documentation pre-approval. This is definitely not the fun part, but you need to know what your budget is.  I can send you a few lenders if you want. I prefer lenders with in-house underwriting so you stay within your contract dates in escrow.  Your choice of lender is super important, and I can't stress this enough. So many over promise (never in writing though) and under deliver. Or, can't deliver at all. This could cost you your deposit, the property, and hundreds of dollars of out-of-pocket escrow expenses. Interest rates change several times daily, so this is not the important thing when shopping lenders. They're pretty much all competitive.
 
Once you have that, you can start looking for homes that you know you  can buy in the area(s) you'll be looking. At this point, you'll know if you can buy a house (more maintenance, usually no HOA) or condo.

As you look at listings, you'll get to know your market(s) better too. By the  time you write your first offer, you'll be much more comfortable with pricing.

When you're ready to pull the trigger, it's time to start looking at homes. 
Your agent will guide you through escrow, and when it closes, you're a homeowner!

In the meantime though, you can start looking at listings based on a comfortable monthly payment for you. You may quality for more or less, and you don't have to spend as much as you're approved for.

Let me know if you'd like to start looking at listings. You can contact me off forum any time.

Warm Regards,

Cory La Scala, REALTOR
Independence Realty
Lic # 01443391


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June 23 2013
The very best thing to do as a first time home buyer,  is to talk with a local lender and find out what size loan you qualify for, once you know than you can decide how much of that you wish to spend and what your monthly obligation will look like. Then you find a great real estate agent in the area that will spend the TIME to help you through the process and that will make sure you have everything you need. You really want a person who loves working with first time home buyers and that will talk to you like a loving parent would. My advice to first time home buyers is this, "Don't become house poor, buy under you means" That way you still have money each month to enjoy life :-)  Best Wishes!!
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June 23 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
here's a link to Zillow's compilation of articles called "buyer's roadmap" and spent time in the library and other internet sites before introducing yourself to professionals.

I'd study up thoroughly before leaping into the fray. 
I'd keep my eyes open for a home that I'll be happy with for at least 10 years.
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June 23 2013
I would start here, then start to find out how you can quality for a loan...
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June 23 2013
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Its a little difficult to give you enough detail to really help. My suggestion is talk to friends that have recently bought and also look for a recommendation for an agent. The agent will not cost you any money.
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June 23 2013
 
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