Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

My Goal Is to Provide You With the Most Personalized Service That Is Designed to Help You Buy Your Dream Home.

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

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Amy Dettore is far and away the best Realtor® I have worked with in more than 40 years and 12 real estate transactions. She is the epitome of a professional, with the instincts, expertise and skills for delivering the optimal o...
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Amy sold our house in less than 24hrs and helped us purchase our dream horse farm. She truly made the buying/selling process seamless and as stress-free as possible. Amy attended all appraisals and inspections for the house we ...
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Buyer

We greatly enjoyed working with Amy! She was very knowledgeable about the Real Estate process and shared a lot of very helpful tips and information. Her guidance was wonderful from start to finish! She was always responsive to ...
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Champe & Anne

My husband and I had a wonderful experience working with Amy to sell our home. Through each stage of the process, she kept us informed and updated so we could make the right decisions. She managed the staging and marketing of t...
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Arnold & Shelby

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Amy is the ultimate professional and simply the best when selling our house. This is the second time we've worked with her as she also helped us purchase our home. We were on a tight deadline and a tight list limit to sell our ...
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Alison E.

I had a wonderful experience working with Amy on the sale of my property. This is the second time we’ve worked together and she made the entire process very easy and comfortable. I live out of state so I appreciate her attentio...
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Buyer

After having assisted with two different home purchases by our family I am very likely to recommend Amy Dettore. I recommended four different friends to work with Amy and they have also told me that they have also recommended h...
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Matt F.

Had the pleasure working with Amy Dettore on the purchase of my new home. Amy was very knowledgeable, user friendly, professional, and an absolute delight to work with. Always answered my calls, emails, texts and really went ab...
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Nancy B.

Amy was extremely knowledgeable about the area and was able to use that to compare homes with fairness during the home search. She was able to capture both my practical and emotional needs when it came to understanding what it ...
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Jennifer R.

We contacted Amy when we were considering a relocation. Not only was Amy thorough, helpful and responsive, but her compassion for our family’s move and everything we were going through provided us with confidence. Her communica...
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Judy B.

Amy is very hard working and made our down sizing nice less stressful by ensuring everything went smoothly. She knows the market and is a great negotiator. She is also well connected within the community and was able to provide...
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Buyer

Amy was great! We were first time homebuyers so having someone with as much knowledge about both the process and the market was very helpful. She got us in to see houses right when they came on the market, which in a competitiv...
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Seller

Amy is the best. She was extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of real estate and made the entire process seamless. She also went above and beyond and was doing the work of the buyer agent too in order to get to settlement....
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Hansen A.

Amy helped me buy my first home and overall I had an excellent experience. Honestly, I can not say enough good things about Amy Dettore. She worked tirelessly to get me the home I wanted. She also has extensive knowledge of the...
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Buyer

We are so glad we had Amy as our agent. She is so knowledgeable about all the process. She showed us many houses before we made decision which house we would buy. then she helped me through the purchasing process. she also has ...
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Ryan & Anne

Amy is an awesome Realtor® who really goes the extra mile for her clients. Over the course of a year she showed us many, many homes. She is knowledgeable, patient and takes the time to listen to your needs. Persistence paid off...
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Martha C.

Very dedicated to both buyer and seller. Very flexible to meet hectic schedules and so easy to work with. Amy worked double time for myself as the buyer and for the seller. Very good communication with her from start to finish.
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Buyer

Knowledgeable about the houses and neighborhoods in the area. Amy has showed us numerous houses and always takes our needs into consideration. She is professional and respected in the real estate industry.
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Michael K.

Amy Dettore did an exceptional job in representing us as sellers. She thoroughly understood the market and her advice was always well considered. Her concern was always focused on us.
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