What to expect when buying first home

My fiancé and I have been living in an apartment for awhile but have decided it's time for a house. Our lease is up in August 2014. When would be a good time to start looking at realtors/houses? Also, our combined annual income is about 50k. What can we afford? Our credit scores are good. 
  • March 14 - Murfreesboro
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Answers (5)

The very first steps to buying a home would be to speak with a lender that best fits your situation to get pre-qualified. Then when you do apply for a loan, lenders like myself will need to look at several different things if you are trying to prequalify for a loan. We will need to analyze your assets, credit, expenses, income, debt, employment, down payment, etc. Once you have a pre-approval then you can start submitting offers to houses that you would like to buy. I would recommend that you speak with a lender as soon as you can. The lender can then check out your finances to see if there is anything you would need to fix. So when the time comes to buy, you should be completely ready. Either way, the best thing for you to do is to speak with a knowledgeable lender to see if you can get started on financing a new home. If you need additional assistance, feel free to reach out. Good luck!
  • March 18
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Hi Nancy,

First of all, congratulations on deciding to become first time homebuyer!  Like I tell my clients, becoming a homeowner requires you to not just be financially ready, but emotionally ready as well. Learning as much as you can about the home buying process as well as where you want to live will help you feel confident that you can do this and will be holding the keys to your first home one day.

The home buying process can be overwhelming at times, after all it's probably the biggest investment you'll ever make. As for myself, I would have never made it through the process without my own realtor guiding me through every step of the way...Now that I am a realtor as well, I break it down for my clients into steps:

1.) Find a realtor you trust and communicate to them what you need/want in a home
2.) Get a pre-qualified with a lender you (and your realtor trust) so you know how much home you afford
3.) Gather and bring in your documents (taxes, pay stubs, bank statements, etc.) to the lender
4.) Start seeing homes with your realtor
5.) Your realtor will take it from there in terms of writing offers and the escrow process. 

Good luck!
  • March 14
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For an accurate estimate of how much you can afford you should speak with a lender directly. Lenders like myself will need to look at several different things to give you a good estimate, so we would need more details about your finances. One of the first steps in the home buying process is to speak with a lender. A lender will then analyze your finances (income, debt, expenses, assets, employment, down payment, etc.) to see if you can qualify for a loan and how much you qualify for. I recommend that you speak with a lender as soon as you can. This will allow the lender to check out your finances to see if there is anything that you will need to fix before your time to buy a house comes. So when you are ready to buy, you will be fully prepared. So the best thing for you to do is to speak with a knowledgeable lender to see if you can get started on financing a new home. If you need additional assistance, feel free to reach out. Good luck!
  • March 14
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It's great that you are considering owning a home versus renting an apartment.  Your first move would be to talk with a lender, mortgage company in your area. Try your bank if you have a relationship with them. The lender will review your income, debt and determine what price you can afford. If you are credit worthy, many states have loan assistance programs to help you to pay closing costs. Ask your lender about this or go online to your state's website.
After the lender pre approves you for a loan, start looking in that price range online ( Zillow). Then narrow down the areas of most interest and go to Open Houses to see what you can get for your money. I would say that between 60 - 90 days prior to the end of August, the end of your lease, you should contact a realtor to asisst in the search and to represent you. As a Keller Williams agent, I would highly recommend you call the local Keller Williams office and speak to the Team Leader to get a n agent recommendation.
  • March 14
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Your first step should be to talk to a lender and get preapproved.  This will help you to determine what your price range is.  Find out by talking to friends and family who a dependable real estate agent in your area is.  If there is a Book of Homes or Catalog of Homes published for your area, you may want to pick one up so you can start looking at what is available.  After you select a real estate agent you want to work with, make an appointment with him or her to discuss what your "have to haves" are and your "would like to haves".  For instance, you would like to have a 3 bedroom home but you have to have at least a 2 bedroom home, etc.  After you've selected homes you would like to look at, you may want to do drive bys to determine if they are in areas you would like or to see if there are things about the home you don't like.  This will save both yourself and your agent time so you're not looking at homes that you don't like due to the neighborhood, etc.  It usually takes about 30-45 days after you have a accepted contract on a home for the home to close so you should probably go ahead and get the process started.  Good luck!
  • March 14
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