Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

main

Step 1: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

main

Step 2: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

main

Step 3: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

main

Step 4: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home

Schedule A Consultation
main

Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

main

Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

main

Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

main

Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

main

Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

main

Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.

Our Testimonials

JOHN L.

JOHN L.

Melanie did a terrific job selling our home before it even hit the MLS!
Read More
HOLLY L.

HOLLY L.

Melanie was not only the consummate professional, but she never wasted our time and absolutely assisted us in all the details of moving. Highly recommend her as a seller’s Realtor®.
Read More
LUCIA M.

LUCIA M.

Melanie made the experience of selling our house a total breeze! She has a calm, kind demeanor and was available to answer any questions we had. She’s honest and straightforward in a kind way and doesn’t force her opinions on y...
Read More
SALLY N.

SALLY N.

Excellent Realtor®, knowledgeable, with the highest integrity, and professional, regarding purchasing or selling in the real estate arena. If your her client she will remain loyal to your needs as well as protect you from any p...
Read More
THOMAS D.

THOMAS D.

I cannot praise Melanie Wood highly enough for her work in selling my " as is"house. Every recommendation she made, from what to fix and what not to pricing the property to condition for the show was spot on. The property sold ...
Read More
CARA N.

CARA N.

Selling our home with Melanie has been a breeze! Since the day we decided to sell she has made this process seamless in every way possible. Professional, responsive, and attentive. Top-of-the-line marketing and an eye for detai...
Read More
CAMEO E.

CAMEO E.

Melanie has been great during our recent house-hunting journey. Sticking with us while seeing several houses that weren't right, she provided great advice and perspective until we found the one house that is perfect for us. She...
Read More
VERNON F.

VERNON F.

Great gal, went beyond and above to assist in selling my waterfront property. Kind and passionate about her business, and very knowledgeable about our area and market. Made it easy for long-distance sales. We truly couldn't hav...
Read More
NANCY F.

NANCY F.

Trust and confidence. Two huge qualities that we found in Melanie Wood. We sold a home and bought a home with Melanie’s help and expertise. She knows what buyers want, therefore knowledgeable about how to prepare a home to show...
Read More
KAREN P.

KAREN P.

If you are looking to buy a home for personal use or an investment property, Melanie Wood Realtor® is the person for you! With inventory at such a low and houses selling in a day, you have to move fast. I called Melanie at 1 p....
Read More
Lauren

Lauren

Just taking a moment to tell you how eternally grateful I am for you finding us this house in Chartridge ❤️ I'm reminded almost daily that the neighborhood couldn't be more perfect for us, and the house, even after almost 9yrs,...
Read More
Katrina

Katrina

We just wanted to send you a little note of thanks for all the kindness, guidance, wisdom & help you've shown us over the past 2 years, and for connecting us with Nancy in VT. We cannot express how grateful we are to you for he...
Read More

Work With Us

Your needs, whether selling or purchasing a home, are our top priority. We will provide skilled negotiations, contract management, and a smooth transaction with her resources and knowledge. Knowing the market and upcoming & potential listings is key in our area.

Follow Us on Instagram