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First Time Home-Buyer Guide

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

Pre-approval is the process of applying for a loan and getting approved for a certain amount before having a purchase agreement (contract). Having a pre-approval letter also shows sellers you're serious about buying their house.

2. Make a Home Buying Wish List.

Once you have an idea how much you can afford, start writing down the things you'd like in a house: style, size, features, location, price, etc.

3. Begin House Hunting

Now comes the fun part, the house-hunting process. By following the steps outlined here you can shop confidently (knowing that you have a pre-approval letter, a price range and an agent you can rely on!).

4. Schedule Showings & Tour Homes

Once you decide on which home(s) you would like to see in person, contact your All-American Properties agent to have them check showing availability and set up the appointments.

5. Make an Offer

How much you offer will depend on the seller’s asking price, the market, comparable sales in the area and other factors. Your offer might be accepted, rejected or countered. You might be the only buyer, or you might have to compete with others. Ask your agent to explain.

6. Apply for the Loan

If the seller accepts your offer, you must then go back to your chosen mortgage lender and submit paperwork for loan approval. In most cases, it's easiest to return to the lender who gave you the pre-approval letter, but it's not mandatory.

7. Get a Home Inspection

On average, home inspections cost between $300 and $600. That's a small price to pay for the peace of mind it brings. Get a home inspection as soon as possible after the sellers accept your offer, and make the contract contingent upon the inspection. That way, if the inspector finds a problem you're unwilling to accept, you have a legal way out of the contract.

8. Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will require a home appraisal to make sure the home is worth what you’ve agreed to pay. This costs roughly $200-$400.

9. Final Walk-Through

The final walk-through generally takes place a day or two before closing.

11. Closing

Closing is the process that transfers ownership of the home from seller to buyer. Closing usually takes place at an attorney’s office or title/settlement company and typically lasts an hour. It is the final step of the home-buying process before you are handed the keys to your new home!

12. Move In! You are now a proud home owner! Enjoy!

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