By Deborah Gruehn
For first-time home buyers, the process of buying a house can seem daunting. With a little education, a little soul-searching, and the help of an Ogden professional, however, the process cannot only be painless, but also exciting.
There are four basic steps to buying your first home.
- Meeting with your agent to discuss, and determine just what you want
- Looking, looking, and more looking
- Making the offer to purchase
- Inspection, financing and closing
Meeting with your Ogden Agent
When you decide it’s time to buy your new home, your first step should be to choose an Ogden Agent you’d like to work with. Your agent will counsel you on the process, including the buyer agency contract.
One important thing buyers should know about up front has to do with the option of having a buyer agency contract, added Chris Howard, partner with Ogden Residential. “Many people think agents can only work for the seller, but that’s not true,” she added. “With a buyer agency contract, I’m legally obligated to negotiate the best possible price for the buyer.”
This is opposed to working for the seller, where the agent is obligated to obtain the best price possible. “When I’m working for the seller, and the buyer asks me, ‘What do you think the house is worth?’ I can’t give them a price. With a buyer agency contract, I can run a market analysis to determine what other homes in the area are worth. My duty is to get the buyer the lowest price.”
Once the agency relationship is decided, your Ogden Agent goes through an estimate of how much you can afford, and perhaps more importantly, how much do you want to pay on a monthly basis. It’s also a good idea to go through pre-approval for a mortgage before looking at homes. You’re a more attractive buyer when you have financing in place.
Once a price range is decided, your Ogden Agent will ask you some critical questions to get you thinking about the type of house and neighborhood you’d like. Questions to consider include:
- Do you prefer an urban, suburban or rural setting?
- What’s an acceptable drive time to work?
- How close do you need to be to schools, shopping, places of worship?
- What types of amenities do you want? A two-car garage? Three bedrooms? How many bathrooms? Minimal maintenance?
Looking, looking, and more looking
The average buyer looks at 19 houses before they find the one they want to purchase, although everyone is different. Your Ogden Agent will act as a mirror and reflect back to the buyers quickly what’s available. Many buyers quickly learn that they need to prioritize what they must have from what they would like to have, but could live without.
Your Ogden Agent will show you what’s available in the communities you’d like to live in, then set up properties you’re interested in for viewing the inside. “Your Ogden Agent will listen and takes good notes about the houses you look at. They will ask you what you liked, and didn’t like about any particular house,” says Chris Howard.
The looking step can last anywhere from two days to several months, but the average is about 30 days. Once you’ve found the house you want, it’s time to make an offer.
Here again is where your Ogden Agent will help guide you through the buying process. Once you decide you like the house, you need to ask yourself how much it’s worth to you to live there.
Your agent can then help you draft an offer to purchase, where you can put down contingencies such as financing, home inspection, closing date, and acceptance date. The offer is signed and binding by both the buyer and seller.
The Home Stretch
“More than 95 percent of buyers are using professional inspectors, usually within 10 days of the accepted offer,” says Chris Howard. An inspector can help you determine the remaining life of the roof, water heater and furnace, as well as let you know what maintenance should be done and when.
“Inspectors really help buyers get a good handle on what they’re buying and allow them to budget accordingly,” she says.
At this stage, between the accepted offer and closing, your Ogden Agent will be following up with you to make sure the loan and title insurance gets completed. “Then it’s on to the closing,” says Howard. “That’s where your arm gets tired from signing so many papers.”