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.
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 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.
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 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. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where my expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let me show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.
My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream 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.
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.
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.
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.
Phillip has helped my family with our real estate issues in the past, but never me personally until I decided it was time to purchase a home of my own. Phillip is not only an amazing agent (based on his ability to explain things to me - a first time home buyer - in a way I could easily understand, and help me through this convoluted process), but also a great human being. So many people nowadays lack personability, and are interested only in what will benefit them personally. Phillip's outstanding character is not only shown in his interactions with his clients, but is also reinforced by the respect he gets from his colleagues. Phillip must have tak...— Tara B.
My wife and I had recently relocated to the Columbia, SC area and new absolutely nothing regarding the housing market. Phil spent a week with my wife while I was working and not only shoed her numerous houses, but also drove her around the area to help her get acclimated. At closing Phil provided us with a list of contact names and numbers that would assist us settled into our new home. We are very thankful that he was referred to us by a friend and we would not use anyone else.— Buyer
I have worked with Phillip on several homes that I have bought and sold over the years. Phillip gives exceptional customer service and his knowledge of the real estate industry is a cut above the rest. He walks you through step by step in selling or buying a home and answers all of your questions. I would recommend him to anyone who is looking to buy or sell a home. Phillip will always be the person that I go to for all of my real estate needs.— Seller
6 years ago we worked with Phillip to buy a home and that experience was excellent. Last year we sold the home on Pittsdowne Rd. It was an older home with some challenges, but Phillip knew exactly what to do when. Now Phillip is helping us sell another home that doesn't have as many challenges. He has been wonderful, helping us stay calm, positive, and focused. He is very patient and extremely knowledgeable.— Seller
Phillip was very helpful not only in finding me the perfect house but also told me what I needed to do before I started looking. He was very knowledgeable about the financing, about the area and all other aspects of buying a home. He listened to what I wanted and sent me listings for me to review and chose the ones I wanted to view. Thanks Phillip for all your work in helping me find my home.— Buyer
Phillip Jenkins is an excellent REALTOR® who has helped not only us but other family members as well. He is always responsive to questions and concerns that we have had and is always very prompt in getting information. He looks out for his clients and makes the process of buying and selling a home so much easier. We trust him completely and highly recommend him. He is the best!— Sylvia R.
Phillip is the consummate professional and has a longstanding and successful track record in the Columbia area real estate community. He is very responsive, helpful and pleasant to work with. Phillip helped us with the purchase of our new home in Summer 2017, and he is our listing agent for our former home that's presently for sale. We highly recommend Phillip!— Buyer
Phillip Jenkins went out of his way and above the call of duty to make sure that we sold our home and were able to buy another one at the same time! This contract took very much finesse and drive to accomplish given what and who he had to work with. We appreciate all that he did for us!— Seller
All fives for Phillip! Phillip helped me in the purchase of my courtyard home. He also listed my home of over 30 years and it sold in less that one week! I appreciate his hard work, knowledge, great experience and sound advice. Thanks Phillip!— Buyer
Phillip helped us buy our new house and is currently helping us sell our home. He is extremely knowledgeable and has always been available when we needed something. Highly recommend!— JP
Whether you're looking to sell your home or searching for your dream property, Phillip is here for you. Reach out to him today via phone or email to learn more about how he can put his experience and professional resources to work on your behalf. Don't hesitate to get in touch and start the conversation.