Buyer's Guide

Take advantage with this step-by-step process to buying a home.

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. 

Testimonials

Read what my clients love about my services.

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Reesy L.

Thank you so much Des for your knowledge during this process! Buying a home while relocating is not an easy task. From the start, Des worked hard to get us what we wanted. We knew early on what community we liked and which floo...
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Zenia N.

After being preapproved by a lender, and that lender lacking communication, Des suggested that we try new construction because we can get something that fits what I am looking for and the builders can cover some of the closing ...
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Leshia D.

I met Desarae with Here’s the Key Realtor® group in February 2020 I signed up for the Home Buying seminar where she went over the home buying process and talked about different loans and programs available for assistance with d...
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Alissa S.

As a first-time home buyer, I had many questions and expectations! Des answered every question and helped us set realistic expectations! We are really grateful for Des! The process went so smoothly and she was an absolute plea...
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Kris C.

We had the pleasure of having Des be recommended to us by our friends who had Des as their Realtor®. Originally we were looking to only rent and Des helped us realize we would be able to purchase our own home. Working with Des ...
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Buyer

Des was amazing! She really took the time to assist us to find the best home for our family! Every First Home Buyer question I had, Des had the answers! I know we weren't her only client but she definitely made us feel like we ...
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Will G.

My wife and I were looking for our first house after living in apartments for six years. We had a lot of problems at first before we met Des, who really listened to what we were looking for and made our priorities her prioritie...
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Britney H.

Today’s First Time Home Buyer event was nothing short of amazing! Desarae and Jaime were very informative and knowledgeable about the industry. They were patient and answered all of my questions with confidence. I am so gratefu...
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Buyer

Des is not only a great Realtor® but is also friendly and personable. She puts in the work to find out what's important to you. All communication was answered quickly and professionally. I would definitely go to Des again for m...
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Haley W.

Des was a complete lifesaver. I stumbled upon her accidentally and she was the biggest blessing in disguise. I went from looking to rent to being a first-time home buyer! She is the best!
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Crystal M.

Des was amazing! She made sure we had what we wanted at a value that was more than fair for us. She never stopped caring for us uneven after we finally found our house. Highly recommend.
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Wilnelia M.

Des made the home buying experience a great one. She is extremely professional, efficient, and just awesome at what she does. Thanks once again for helping us find our new home!
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Buyer

If I could write a book on how amazing Des is I would be here forever! Just know if you were second-guessing choosing her as your Realtor®. Stop thinking and do it!
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Monique O.

Des is amazing at what she does. She was thorough and very informative in helping me find a beautiful home. I love how she handles business very professionally.
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Buyer

She is the best out there, so knowledgeable, patient, customer service superior, and Kind. She helped us from start to end. Thank you Realtor® Desarae Aina.
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Mallory B.

Des was awesome! She was patient with me and her communication was great! Def would recommend her to anyone looking for a new home.
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Buyer

Desarae was professional, patient, and honest throughout the process. She's simply amazing! I'm recommending her to everyone I know.
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Seller

Loved how she took the time out of her day to come out to our house and explain how everything would be done.
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Buyer

Amazing person, if you want someone to fight and advocate for you Des is the place to go!
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Antoinette P.

Very motivated, knowledgeable, and professional!
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Work With Desarae

Desarae will make this process easy for you by providing a competitive Price Analysis and the tools to make your transition smooth.

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