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First Time Buyers

buying a home is as easy as 1,2,3...4!

YOU'RE READY TO ditch those roommates, MOVE OUT OF YOUR APARTMENT AND BUY A HOME. Now that you have been preapproved for a loan, you're ready to go!

1. finding a home

it's like an episode of house hunters starring you!

  • Before you begin to look for the house of your dreams, take a moment to think about somethings you must have in a home, as well as which neighborhoods you would love to live in.
  • When you are looking at a house, you have to have the above wish list, but you have to understand that no house is going to be perfect.
  • See a property more than once if you're interested. The second time around will be more honest than the initial "THIS PLACE IS AMAZING!" reaction that comes with the first visit.
  • Don't judge a book by its cover. Same goes for a house. Go inside and look around before making a decision. You should never put in an offer before properly investigating the property.
  • Remember, Real Estate is an investment in your future. See past the visually unappealing items and see the home for what it is - $$$ down the road.
  • With a condo, ask about percentage of owner-occupancy in the complex. You don't necessarily want to buy in a complex that has a high percentage of renters because they don't take care of the property the way they would if they owned.
  • It is especially important to have a home inspection if you are looking to buy an aging or older house. They look past the visible surface to the infrastructure, finding any underlaying issues that aren't readily noticed by the untrained eye.

2. financing

oh yeah, the money part...

  • It's great to have your financing in place before you look because as stated before, real estate is always moving. You could lose your dream home waiting to secure the financing.
  • The general rule of thumb is that you should be able to afford a mortgage three times your income.
  • Lenders subtract any debt payment from your income, so if you have a big debt, you have a lot less income -- and a lot less house.
  • Don't forget to set aside money for closing costs when budgeting out what you can afford. It's typically 1.5 to 2 percent of the purchase price. That goes toward title and escrow costs.

3. submitting AN OFFER

this is it! you've found the home of your dreams! you're ready to make an offer... what now?!!?!

  • When you're house shopping, you shouldn't just pull a number out of a hat. Find out what other homes in the area have sold for, how long ago the sale was and what amenities they have that sets it apart.
  • Furthermore, when figuring out the price of a property, sometimes it makes more sense to look at the price of a house in terms of monthly payments instead of focusing on that big number.
  • Real estate is always active. If you're trying to buy a home that is in a competive market, you will need to move quickly, or you might miss out on your chance.
  • It's the current market that determines the value of a house.
  • Try not to be too fixated on the list price of a house, real estate is always negotiable.


Your offer was accepted and it closed escrow...

4. You bought a house!

high five! best news ever!!

Depending on the structure and type of your loan, this handy graphic should lay out everything you need to know about being an honest-to-goodness owner of real estate in the State of California, but most importantly, right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.