Seven Steps for First Time Home Buyers



Home buying is exciting and the joy one feels walking into their first home is incomparable. First time homebuyers need to follow certain steps to get on the pathway to homeownership. Following these steps will make your dream of becoming a homeowner in Louisville, Kentucky (or surrounding area) a smooth process.


1               Get Pre-Approved? The first step is to talk to a lender.  If you are serious about buying a house, get pre-approved instead of just pre-qualified, that will show buyers that you are serious.  Your lender should be able to tell you what you need to do, give you advice on your credit score, and explain all the details. If you do not understand, feel rushed or confused and asking for clarification doesn’t help, seek out another mortgage professional.  Communication is vital during these steps, and you should feel with your mortgage professional.  If you aren’t, then listen to that. Your Brad Long Real Estate Group agent can provide you with a list of mortgage lenders with a proven track record of providing superior service to our clients.


2               Find a Real Estate Professional Since you are reading this on my blog, I am hopeful that I may be your real estate agent in your home-buying endeavor in the Louisville, KY area. Just as with the mortgage professional, you need to find a real estate professional who you can trust, listens to, answers your questions, and guides you through the home buying process with your needs in mind. Communicate openly and honestly with your realtor about your wants, needs, and concerns, and expect no less than for him or her to do the same during the home buying process.


Many people have asked why don’t I just call the phone number on the sign in front of the house when buying? While you certainly can call the listing agent on the sign, it is not a good idea to let them write the purchase contract to buy the house because the listing agent is hired by the seller and is representing the seller's interests, not yours.


You may ask - how much does it cost to hire a buyer's agent? Crazy enough, it's free to the buyer. Why is that?  Historically, the buyer's agent is paid out of the seller's proceeds; therefore the buyer's agent compensation comes from the seller's pocket. 


3               Search for a Home Make a list of needs and wants when home buying. Your needs are those items that are not negotiable—number of bedrooms for your family size, accessibility for disabilities, distance of potential commute, etc. Your wants are those wishes that are not necessary, but which you hope to find—a pool, lots of windows, a den, etc.  Share this list with your realtor during the home buying process, and continue to visualize the house you want until you find one that speaks to you.


This website offers many advanced tools to search Louisville MLS listings, including options to search by neighborhood, zip code, price range or map search. Once you have determined the area and price you would like, then you can register for Property Tracker and all new listings will be emailed daily. In many cases, you will learn of these new listings even before most Realtors.


4               Visualize When you walk into a house, envision it empty (if it’s not vacant) and then imagine where you would put your belongings.  Where will the couch go, and the entertainment center?  What wall will your bed go against, and how will your clothes fit in the closets?  Then imagine yourself living in the home… Can you see yourself stumbling from the bed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee in the morning?  Can you imagine the walk from the kitchen to the dining table?  Where will you spend your free time at home?  While making a decision about buying a house, stay in tune with your feelings and how well you can see yourself in it. Could it feel like a home instead of just a house?


5               Be Practical Your gut feeling is important, but also look at the house with a practical eye. Are the updates needed something you can handle?  Does it have enough storage?  How do its attributes compare with the list of needs you made in step three? These are crucial and honest questions to ask yourself before buying a home.


6               Make an Offer You might need a second showing to know for sure, but when you find the house you want, let your real estate professional know. Together, you will put together an offer, and your real estate professional will write it up.  Once again, communication and trust are key, and the competence of your real estate professional is essential in this step. Any mistakes at this step can cost both money and frustration, so if you are at all uncertain, please feel free to seek professional legal advice before you sign any agreement. A good real estate professional will understand and support your decision. Buying a home is the largest purchase most people will ever make in their life.


7               Don't Stop There Stay active after the offer is accepted. Once you have a contract on the house, post a list of important dates in a prominent place so you are informed about what steps need to come next.  (Your Brad Long Real Estate Group professional will give you this information.) Then find a good inspector and have the house inspected. The money you spend on this will more than come back to you in the future.  n addition to the inspection, do an inspection of your own about 24 hours before closing.  A good real estate agent will gladly take you through the place one more time to ensure that nothing major changed since you saw it last and that the property is still in the condition of the one you agreed to buy.


There’s no place like home! I’m excited for you to get to enjoy the feelings that come with owning your very first home in Louisville, KY.  If you have any questions or concerns about the Louisville, KY real estate market, contact us. You may e-mail or call toll free (800) 550-6768, (502) 554-9600 and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.


Bonus Tip:

Reasons to Work with a Buyer's Agent


Confidentiality - your buyer's agent cannot disclose information about you or your financial situation to the sellers, the seller's agent, or anyone else, as this would give an advantage to the sellers during the negotiations.

Immediate - notification of new properties on the market - The best homes sell quickly even in slow markets. Your buyers agent will search out properties that others might not even know are available. Buyer's agents keep an eye on "For Sale By Owner" properties and keep a list of homes that are coming on the market but are not yet advertised.

Peace of mind - Hiring a real estate specialist ensures that you have a knowledgeable advocate throughout the home purchase process.

Know all the facts - Realtors have access to private information about properties not available to the general public.

Lower your risk - There are many risks involved in purchasing a home and an experienced Realtor can help you minimize those risks.

Easy access to properties - Working with a real estate broker makes it easy to visit many different properties while you search for your home.

Up to date information -The housing market is constantly changing and a realtor can provide you with the latest market research to ensure that you're getting fair value.

Help with negotiations -No one can absolutely know what the other party will decide, but an experienced real estate negotiator will help you make good decisions based on market conditions and any information he or she has been able to learn about the sellers and their situation. It is crucial for a first time home buyer to have an advocate during this process.

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