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First Time Home Buyer

Becoming a First Time Home Buyer is a tremendous step in life.  The sense of personal accomplishment, pride, satisfaction, and joy is irreplaceable.  It is not without it's challenges, though.  Because of the huge number of options available to you as a home buyer, you should take the time to become familiar with the Home Buying Process, the terminology used, and learn how to best approach buying your first home.

Our top suggestion for you as a first-time home buyer is to seek competent, professional financial guidance.  It is relatively inexpensive and could save you from making a costly mistake.  Buying a home is not right for everyone.  Even if it is a good choice for your financial future, you may need to take the time to save money for a down payment or to fix any issues with your credit.  Be patient, and make your preparations carefully...

Below is a list outlining how to buy your first home.  Review it to become familiar with the various steps involved.  You can also learn about our services - Buyer’s Agency with the Joe Hayden Real Estate Team.  Please Contact Us with your questions regarding real estate.  Oh, and one last, very important bit of information before you get started...Everything, and I do mean everything, in real estate is negotiable.  Enjoy the journey!

Preparing to Buy a Home

Pre-Approval from a Mortgage Lender

After making the commitment to buy a home and getting your finances in order, it is time to speak with a professional in the mortgage industry.  Ask your friends and family for referrals, and we would be happy to make a few suggestions as well.  Take the time to ask questions and get familiar with the basic terminology used, plus to discover any pitfalls.  The terms of your mortgage will have a lasting affect on your financial well being, so make certain you fully understand what you are being offered.  Ultimately, you want to become pre-approved for a reasonable, affordable amount of money with which you can purchase a home.

We recommend that you speak to at least three mortgage brokers or banks to get your best deal.  We suggest going beyond a basic pre-qualification and getting fully pre-approved.  In this step, the mortgage lender will take a detailed look at your credit, finances, income, and other factors to determine the amount of money available to you for a home.  The primary difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval for you is that you shop for a mortgage lender and get educated about mortgage loan products currently available during pre-qualification.  Once you have decided to commit to a lender, you submit to the complete application process and secure mortgage pre-approval.

List of Needs & Wants in a Home

Make 2 lists. The first should include items that you need (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wants, the things that you would like to have (pool, den, etc.), but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.

Representation by a Real Estate Professional

We believe that it is very important that you can communicate clearly, honestly, and openly with your real estate agent who may directly affect your decision-making process.  Take the time to Learn about Buyer’s Agency.  Our services to you through the Joe Hayden Real Estate Team are designed to help you buy the home that you want at a price and terms acceptable by you.

Meeting with your Real Estate Agent

Come to the first meeting with your real estate agent with an open mind and lots of questions.  You should be doing a majority of the talking and your agent listening to gather all of the information necessary to help you find your ideal home.  Make sure that you share your list of wants and needs, plus the information you learned from the mortgage broker.  Your agent should be taking notes and reiterating accurately whatever is discussed.

Consider the importance of effective communication with your real estate agent.  Buying a home should ultimately be a fun, rewarding, educational, and exciting experience.  It will not be free from challenge, though.  You will at times find yourself frustrated, discouraged, and confused.  This is completely normal, especially considering the magnitude of the transaction.  Your real estate agent needs to know this information, both good and bad.  Without knowledge of your concerns, the usefulness of your agent can be nullified.  Make sure you are comfortable enough with your agent to tell them 'no', or to be completely honest with your needs and wants.  Make sure that the communication is effective by listening to what your agent says and ensuring it is what you are expressing.

Here is an opportunity to take advantage of several extremely useful tools available to you through this website.  Search the Louisville MLS to find your perfect home, and use the Property Tracker to sign up for free email notifications of new listings on the MLS.  Our main goal is for you to have access to as much information as you wish to utilize, plus all available tools to give you an advantage in the marketplace.  We will teach you how to use the internet effectively to search for a home, and we will continually followup with you to ensure you are receiving the most pertinent information to help you find a new home.

Schedule Showings to See Your Favorite Homes

Focus & Organization As a First Time Home Buyer

In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:

  1. One or More Detailed Maps: with your areas of interest highlighted.
  2. A File of the Properties: that your agent has shown to you, along with properties that you have saved on our website.
  3. Paper and Pen: for taking notes as you search. 
  4. A Camera: to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
  5. Location: It can be beneficial to look at a potential property as if you are the seller.  Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to the positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?

Visualize the House Empty & with Your Decor

Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs?  Is there enough light?  Try to keep accurate notes on both your feelings regarding the home, plus objective features that may or may not be positive.  Keep in mind that it is always an option to ask the seller to gives allowances for updates or changes as part of the negotiating process, or to make the changes yourself if the home best fits your wants and needs.

Be Objective When Analyzing a Home

Use your heart to help find your home, but use your head to objectively analyze it. Does this home really meet your needs?  Will the home require any updating?  Are the mechanicals in good shape?  What about the roof?  There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.  Take the time to do your Due Diligence.

It is important to know your personal strengths and weakness in the home buying process.  Some people love seeing lots of homes looking for a positive feeling, while others are just interested in the facts and objective features that the home offers.  Some people are a combination of the two.  Whatever your style or technique happens to be when searching for your new home, you must be honest with yourself and emphasize your strengths while seeking help with your weaknesses.

I recommend in the initial phases of the home buying process that you try to keep your time in any home you view short and focused on finding a positive first impression.  There really is a difference between finding a house and discovering your new home, and I believe emotions and feelings play a much greater role than some would realize.  Be relaxed and aware of your emotions when searching for a home.

Once you have narrowed your choices and have become comfortable with the home buying process, it is time to schedule second showings and to put on your objective hat.  Now you are looking at the details from an investment standpoint, a functionality perspective, and determining whether or not there are any faults that would negate the viability of the home.  It is here we can be invaluable, and you can use our experience and knowledge to help you step back and look at the home through a different set of eyes.  You may be surprised at what you find!

Make an Offer on the Home

Once all of the research is complete and you are certain you have found your new home, it is time to make an offer on the home.  We will help you with negotiations by providing all of the necessary paperwork, but also by making suggestions on strategy to guide you though negotiations.  You must determine a fair amount of money to offer for the home, plus you must complete an accurate, comprehensive, legally binding Sales and Purchase Agreement.  Any mistake, error, or omission at this stage can become very costly in both dollars and emotions later.  If you are at all uncertain or uncomfortable, seek professional legal advice before you sign any agreement.

A word about market perceptions.  Today, we hear constant talk about it being a "buyer's market".  What does that mean to you on the buyer's side of the transaction?  I wish it meant that you could offer 15-20% below the asking price of the home and the seller would gladly accept, but that is rarely the case.  Very simply, we find ourselves in a buyer's market due to an over-supply of homes and a lack of qualified, motivated buyers.  It will affect prices in most areas, but the adjustment will always vary due to location, condition, and the general desirability of the home.

That being the case, what are the advantages of being in a buyer's market?  Let me just name a few and you should be able to see many others.  Besides the possibility of a reasonable savings on price, sellers are more willing to provide allowances for closing costs, updates, or other incentives to get you to purchase their home.  In addition, you have a tremendous variety of homes from which to choose.  Plus, fierce competition for the best homes is reduced, thus allowing you a greater chance of not paying an inflated price for the home of your dreams.  When you hear talk that we are in a buyer's market, just imagine yourself in the seller's shoes...Most people are not going to give away their home for less than a fair market price, so look to negotiate other benefits from the deal.

Be Thorough When Buying a Home

A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run.  We will competently guide you through this phase, but you should be aware that after you have an accepted offer, you still need to perform additional due diligence to ensure that you are making a sound investment.

Don't forget such essentials as:

  1. Having the property inspected by a professional home inspector.
  2. Requesting a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing to ensure the home has been left in the agreed upon condition.
  3. Have a title examination run on the home to verify that you will receive a clean title.

Congratulations on your decision to educate yourself thoroughly regarding one of the largest financial transactions you will ever undertake!  While the process may seem daunting and a tad overwhelming at first, with our help and the help of other industry professionals, you should be well on your way to a satisfying, positive purchase of your new home.  You can read more about Buying a Home at your leisure.  Return to the Expert Guide for Buyers to continue learning.

Good luck and explore the rest of this site for more useful, helpful information, and remember... This is supposed to be fun!  Feel free to Contact Us at any time regarding your questions, concerns, or comments as we strive for your complete satisfaction.

Louisville Market Stats
Homes for Sale 2,471
New Properties Today 73
Averages
Days on Market 113
Avg List Price $252,163
Med List Price $149,900
MOM Chng 0.60%

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