Jody Tucker
Buying a House

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

tips for first time home buyers

February 27, 2023

I’m Jody.
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Why should I buy a home versus rent?

I love first time home buyers. It’s such an exciting time! I have put together tips for first time home buyers. Buying a home is becoming an increasingly attractive option for many renters, especially with low mortgage rates driving purchasing power. If you have steady income and longevity on the job, and you feel like you are ready for home ownership, then it’s time to talk to a lender.

How do I know how much home I can afford?

It’s a good idea to meet with a lender, who can help you determine how much you can afford. Lenders will consider how much you make, how much debt you have, any assets you own and your credit history before issuing a preapproval letter.

Should I look at homes first or get pre-approved from a lender?

Jumping in and touring homes is exciting, but I caution you to start before getting pre-approved by a lender. Once you receive that, it is typically suggested that you go to at least 2 other lenders to make sure you are receiving the best deal for your situation.

What is the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approval?

Great question! Pre-approval is different than pre-qualification. Being pre-approved means that you have put all of your financial documents on the table with a lender, and have received a “pre-approval letter” to show realtors that you are ready to purchase a home.

I don’t have a lender. Can you help me?

Yes! Definitely! If you contact me, I can send you a list of lenders and other resources. It will be very helpful in your steps to pre-approval.

How much do I have to save for a down payment?

Saving for a down payment can be daunting. Conventional loans usually require 20% down. There are other optional types of loans that only require 3.5-15% down. There are also down payment assistance programs. A mortgage lender can help you find out what you qualify for and what the down payment would be.

How do we write an offer?

I will run a comparable market analysis (CMA) to help identify similar for-sale homes in the area to make an appropriate offer price. Consider your offer price, contingencies needed, and a closing date. I will draft up the purchase agreement and you’ll sign or e-sign it. If the seller accepts your offer, this will be a legally binding agreement. The seller has the option to accept your offer, deny it, or counter.

What if there are other offers?

If you are told there are other offers, you can still submit an offer. Typically, they want your highest and best.

What happens when my offer is accepted?

Once the offer is accepted, escrow deposit is in and all documents are signed, then you can schedule the inspection. Your lender will receive a copy of the purchase agreement and will begin the mortgage application process.

What does “under contract” mean?

It means your offer has been accepted, all documents are signed, escrow deposit has been received. You are “under contract.”

What is escrow?

When you make an offer on a home, you will write an earnest money check that will be placed in “escrow.” That means it being held by an impartial third party until you and the seller negotiate a contract and close the deal. No one can touch it. It’s in escrow. The larger the escrow deposit, the more serious your offer is taken.

Do I need an inspection?

The buyer pays the cost of a home inspection but can always wave the right to an inspection. You should make a home inspection a mandatory part of the home-buying process. An inspection will give you the unbiased documentation of a home’s condition.

What happens during the closing process?

After an offer is accepted, the process usually takes 30-60 days. During this time, the purchase contract is drawn up and signed, financial documents are finalized, home inspections and appraisals are completed and various other legalities are handled as well. On closing day, both buying and selling meet to sign final documents and hand over the keys! Due to COVID-19, social distance practices are in place to assure safety.


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Jody Tucker has been a MN Licensed Real Estate Agent for 4 years. She has a strong love for homes and for helping join people with the perfect home that suits their lifestyle. 

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