Buying a home is one of the most exciting and stressful experiences of your life — whether you’ve purchased several homes or if you’re preparing to buy a home for the very first time. We know how daunting this process is but with the right support system and the help of some trusted professionals, you’ll be living in your dream home before you know it.
To help you throughout this process, we created a complete first-time home buyers guide. This guide will break down the steps of buying a home so you can start the process feeling completely prepared. From narrowing down your home wishlist to choosing an agent to finally being handed the keys, you’ll find some helpful tips right here!
1. Ask yourself: “Is it really time for me to buy a home?”
Before you even start looking, it’s important to consider why you want to buy a home. Because you’ve heard that it’s a buyer’s market? Or that renting costs more than mortgage payments? Or because you are planning on living in the area for a longer period of time? Taking a moment to consider why you’re interested in purchasing a home will help you make important decisions later in the process.
2. Start saving early
While it’s common to put 20% down on a home, some first-time homebuyer programs allow much less. We recommend sitting down with a mortgage loan officer — in fact, we have a few that we love working with — to help determine your buying power. They’ll be able to help you figure out how much you can afford and how much you should put towards a down payment. They can also help you get pre-approved for a mortgage, which will put you at a huge advantage when putting an offer in on your dream home.
3. Define your goals
Now’s the time to break out the yellow Manilla notepad and start making a list of all your wants and needs. What area would you like to live in? How many bedrooms do you need? Are there any must-haves that you’ll be looking for in a new home? Knowing your preferences before going into your official home search will help you narrow down the list of prospective homes.
If you’re wondering what is the best neighborhood in Omaha for your personality and lifestyle — check out our guide: Which Omaha Neighborhood is Right For You?
4. Pick an agent
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments and decisions you will ever make. When you’re buying your first home, you’ll have a ton of questions — but a trusted NP Dodge agent can help!
Working with one of our agents will help make this entire process much easier. They can help guide you through your home search, purchase agreements, negotiations, inspections, closing and anything else that arises during this process. You can find a full list of our knowledgeable and qualified agents here or, give us a call and we’ll be able to help find the perfect agent for you!
Finding Your Dream Home
1. The Search
At this point in the process, you and your NP Dodge agent will start touring homes in the area. During this time, make sure to take advantage of one of our many helpful, home search tools. Create an account with NP Dodge to get real-time property alerts sent directly to your inbox, save searches, and find your favorite properties at home or on-the-go. You can also download our mobile app, where you can search for homes and schedule showings right from your phone.
2. Stick to your budget
You’ve found “The One”. It’s everything you could have ever wanted, plus, it has a huge backyard! The only problem is that it’s $50,000 over your budget. You can definitely make an offer that is closer to your budget, but if your offer is declined don’t spread yourself too thin by countering with another offer that is out of your price range. Remember that you made a budget for a reason and try to let “The One” go. We know it’s hard.
3. Making an offer
Finally, you’ve found your home. One that is within your budget and has everything you’ve been looking for. Now it’s time to make an offer. Your NP Dodge agent will help negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the area. They will be with you every step of the way as a liaison between you and the seller’s agent and can answer any questions you may have during the process. If your offer is accepted by the seller, you’ll officially be under contract!
After you’ve signed your name on the dotted line, you’ll go into the due-diligence period before you officially close on your home. During this time, your agent will work with you to make sure you understand all of the conditions and provisions of your contract and will help guide you through appraisals and inspections.
At this point in the process, you’re likely freaking out. That’s okay! Take a moment and breathe. We promise everything will be just fine.
This is it! Closing day is finally here. You’ve made it to the final step of your home-buying journey. Closing is the official transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. At closing, you’ll sign your mortgage paperwork and solidify your purchase. From there, you’ll be handed the keys and officially become a homeowner. Congratulations!
NP Dodge is the oldest real estate company in the United States, so we know a little bit about real estate. So give us a call! We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying process.