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 our team will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.
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.
Notice we 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.
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.
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 agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We 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.
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. We 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.
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. We 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Rader Homes Team truly delivered top notch real estate services to me in selling my beloved home in The Woodlands. I interviewed several agents, and Brynn and Eric really stood out above the rest. My own sister is an experienced real estate agent in Cali, and she flew out here for the realtor interviews. With all her experience in the industry, she, too, wholeheartedly recommended that I go with the Rader Homes Team. Their marketing of my home went above and beyond what I have seen. Even before my home went onto the market, their background in remodeling and design along with their willingness to do what needed to be done was put to work in help...— Candace Love
Brynn and Eric were very patient, professional, and knowledgeable in our home buying process! I've been a realtor in another state for 17 years and I've never encountered such outstanding agents in my professional or personal experience. Our situation was very complex so we brought a challenge to the process that most agents probably don't come up against yet they beat our expectations!— Kasey
I've had 4 realtors over the years both buying and selling homes, and the Raders have gone above and beyond in every way when we sold our home with them. We moved internationally during the listing process, and the sale was one of the least stressful parts of our move because of them. Eric and Brynn not only made an incredible website with a 3D tour of our home, they also helped us stage it with furniture they had, recommended paints and flooring for our budget and for the best resale value, and even helped us with a last minute repair when we had already left the country. They truly were the best people for the job, and I cannot recommend them to e...— Aaron E.
Our home buying experience with The Raders was simply amazing. If you are looking for real estate agents who genuinely care, listen patiently, are honest and ethical, prioritize client communication and don't rest until their clients are satisfied, look no further. You'll get great results with the realtor couple, Brynn and Eric. You'll be the focal point of the entire process. Great communication and service lead to great results, and we were extremely satisfied with them. The entire process from start to finish was painless and smooth, and we truly felt like we were working with experts. Their knowledge of the local area and its housing markets is...— Surekha T.
The Rader Home Team is the best in the game! We had a bad experience with our previous realtor and we interviewed several realtors in The Woodlands before selecting Eric and Brynn. Man was that the best decision we ever made. The Rader Home Team is by far the best realtors out here. It turns out that buying your first home is probably the most stressful task that one can take on. Eric and Brynn were able to spare me any early hair loss that I may have incurred by making my experience smooth and seamless. With this team you get a young, energetic, and fun dynamic duo. Eric has contracting experience and Brynn has a experience in interior decorating, ...— Reece D.
Our background & years of experience in real estate enable us to offer a much more extensive & valuable real estate service than any other agent in the area. Both buyers & sellers benefit immensely by choosing us.