How to Buy Your First Home

How to Buy Your First HomeBuying your first home can be overwhelming to think about.  Where do you start?  What should you look for?  How do finances work?

Following these steps will help you devise a plan to make your process go more smoothly, and allow you to focus on the end product - owning your own home.

First, find a real estate professional

We recommend that everyone, not just first home buyers, begin their process by finding a real estate professional.  The home buying process is extensive and requires knowledge that can only come with experience - going it alone can not only be overwhelming, it can also lose you money on your transaction.  

A real estate agent will act as your liaison during this process, offering you their extensive knowledge about the real estate market, keeping track of the paperwork for you (of which there is quite a lot), and will help negotiate the sale to your needs.

They will also be able to give you invaluable information about school districts, neighborhoods, traffic, homeowners associations, short sales/foreclosures, and other aspects that you may not already know about.

Another perk is that the buyer's agent is almost always compensated by the listing agent, as it comes out of the proceeds of the transaction.  Some home buyers are under the impression that they can save money by not hiring an agent.  Without representation, the truth is typically quite the opposite. 

Get a mortgage pre-approval

Most sellers prefer that buyers come into a transaction being pre-approved for a mortgage, as it lowers the risk of having the deal fall through.  For you as a buyer, it will also help expedite your process and improves negotiating power during the process.  It gives you confidence that you're even looking at the right homes.  For a list of our favorite local Chicago mortgage brokers, click here.

Don't worry about that vestigial "pre-qualification" terminology, most lenders these days are doing "pre-approvals" which are somewhat more thorough and thus more powerful. 

Identify what qualities you need in your home

Now that you've laid the proper foundation for your first home search with your agent and mortgage lender, you can begin to nail down specifics for your home search, such as: numbers of bedrooms/bathrooms, square footage, amenities, neighborhoods, and the type of home you'll be living in (single-family, duplex, condo, town home).  Now you get to begin the part of your process that they air on HGTV - finding your first home.

The specifics of what happens from there are specific to your market, your geography, and your situation.  Talk to your broker to understand how things like earnest money, contingencies, and different disclosure types apply to you.

Looking for some guidance in your home buying process?  Don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call - we'll be happy to help you find your first home.

Real Group Real Estate

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2526 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

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