Friday, April 11, 2014

Every home owner starts as a first time home buyer at some point...myself included!

I vividly remember when I purchased my first home in 1998. I was young; a full-time college student, working a full-time job, and I had a small chunk of money that my parents told me I should use as a downpayment on a home. Homes were not really advertised on the internet at that point, and I looked through the newspaper for homes that looked interesting. I found my Realtor by calling about one of his listings. He was the only agent who took my inquiry seriously...others had blown me off. I didn't know where to start in the process. I just knew I wanted to buy a house.

Sound familiar?

This Realtor had the patience of a saint. I was not a big time client looking to spend lots of money but he still took time to work with me. He walked me through the home buying process from start to finish, and answered all of my questions. I had no idea what I was doing, and figured I might only go through the process a couple times in my entire life. He matched me to a great loan officer and helped me get pre-approved for a loan, listened to what I wanted, and showed me properties that matched my criteria. My Mom tagged along as we looked at property and helped me ask questions. After a couple months, and looking at a dozen or so properties, I ended up buying a bank-repo condo in Fair Oaks. It wasn't perfect - I immediately repainted many of the walls, and replaced the HIDEOUSLY UGLY electric blue laminate kitchen counters with white tile. But it was all mine.

That's me in the photo up top, the day I closed escrow, standing in front of my unit holding a housewarming gift. The other photo is at my housewarming party when my friends helped me break in my new BBQ. I was SO excited! Little did I know at that time -- years later -- I would get my real estate license and help first time buyers on a daily basis. Remembering my first home buying experience, I vowed to be like the agent who so patiently helped me with my first purchase.

So, if you are reading this -- know you are on the right track. The first steps involve reaching out to a Realtor and finding someone who is a good fit to help you with your home search. In conjunction with connecting with a Realtor, you will need to find a great lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. I work with several outstanding loan officers I can refer you to who also work with lots of first time home buyers in Sacramento. The loan officer will help you establish your home purchase budget based on your income, explain all of the different loan programs available to you, see if you qualify for any downpayment assistnance, let you know how much your downpayment, closing costs, and monthly payment will be. Your Realtor will help you establish which neighborhoods you are interested in, what kind of home you are looking for, and what features are important to you.

Once you have laid the ground work for your purchase, the fun begins and you can start house hunting...there's a lot more from there that your Realtor and loan officer can review with you in person.

Just remember -- have fun, ask questions, get advice when you need it, and know that your home is out there. You just have to go find it. =)

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