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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jill helped me find my house a year ago. At the same time, I was selling my house in Seattle. The real estate agent up there was supposed to be a big shot, had tons of fancy advertisements and great reviews. But in comparison, he did a horrible job when it came to the work Jill did for us. She was my saving grace for my super quick house hunt and worked tirelessly to help me find the right home. Her knowledge of the Dallas area is flawless. She is the hardest working person, and is always there for you, seems like she never sleeps. Jill is also super fun to work with, with a great friendly personality. If you are agent hunting, stop, you found her. ...— Buyer
It was a great privilege to have Jill as our agent. She was professional and super aggressive in responding to all of our inquiries and keeping us updated on the progress. We received a good offer on our home after being on the listing for only 2 days. She was fast in a great way! With her great communication skill and positive attitude, she was such a joy to work with. I highly recommend her with no doubt. She is the best!— Seller
I found Jill to be completely delightful, honest, and very professional. She stuck with us during a very long and frustrating search for a new home. While the market changed and inventory was lacking, Jill continued to be diligent in looking for options for us. I have been in a related industry for over 15 years and I would wholeheartedly recommend Jill to anyone who asked.— Betsy B.
Jill was wonderful in helping us find our first home. She walked us through everything we needed to know in our first venture into real estate, and her main priority was that we were happy with our new home. Jill is very knowledgeable, responsive, and full of energy! I have already recommended her to friends who are currently looking, she will not let you down.— Buyer
Jill was amazing to work with and see our deal through completion. We had some issues pop up but she was on top of it to ensure we closed on time and were happy. If looking for an honest and hard-working agent, Jill is your gal. Amazing service and highly recommended.— Andy G.
I have known and worked with some great Realtors®, but if you want honesty, integrity, and someone who will tell it to you straight. Jill Elliott is the Realtor® for you. I have seen her work up close as a referral partner and she impresses me every day!— John B.
She is now a Broker Associate with @properties dallas and brings over 10 years of experience in all aspects of real estate. She has consistently been a top producer in the DFW area, received yearly Circle of Excellence awards.