Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

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.

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Step 1: Research

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.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

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.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

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.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

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. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

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Step 5: Find the Right 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.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

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.

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Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

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.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

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.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

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.

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

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.

Congratulations!

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. 

My Testimonials

See why my clients love working with me.

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Chris and Cathy Lang

Hank is very knowledgeable about the area, extremely responsive, plugged in regarding off-market opportunities, and honest in his valuation assessments. Our transaction with Hank was seamless and we would highly recommend.
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Ryan and Amy Lane

Hank is the best realtor we have worked with. Diligent, detailed, patient and trustworthy. We had an incredible experience with him - truly the best we have worked with!
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Amy and Brian Sward

The best Realtor!! He was responsive, knowledgable, and above all - he put a human element to the entire process. He always listened to our thoughts, and used his expertise to guide us through our entire transaction. I would 10...
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James Elegante

I've bought and sold many properties and...you are by far the best real estate agent among all those I have associated with over the years. Your attention to detail was surprising and your handling of pre-closing details was mo...
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Jim and Barbara Stone

We were very pleased with the way Hank handled the marketing of our home. Not only was he professional and knowledgeable but the level of communication and attention to detail was truly exceptional. We have made a number of rea...
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Rob Alday

Hank has a vast knowledge of the market and has been great to work with on multiple real estate transactions! He has been very professional and navigated complex real estate deals.
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Bryan Anderson

Hank was very helpful/knowledgeable and really made a difference in making my first time home buying experience a positive one. Will go back for future realty needs for sure. Thanks Hank!
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Jason Parker

Hank is the perfect realtor. He combines extensive industry experience with a dedicated drive to deliver the best results for his client. In my case, he saw an opportunity in my condo listing where others didn’t and completed a...
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Susan and Howard Klein

Hank was extremely professional and very competent. He helped us sell two houses. He sets the bar very high for future interactions with realtors. We have only positive things to say about Hank.
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Michael and Ashley Xu

Hank was our realtor recently and he is fabulous. He’s attentive to detail. He’s on top of things. He is very realistic in terms of expectations. I would recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell a home. He has an extensi...
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MichalAnn Bartlett

Growing up in Park City has helped Hank have great insight and knowledge of the local area. He was very helpful in keeping us informed on the real estate market in our area over about a 2 year time period until we were ready to...
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Kara McAlister

Hank is a top notch, professional! We had a short time to find a house from out of town and he was well organized, knowledgeable of both the area and process, and always available to answer our questions immediately. He was ext...
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Mike Sharon

I hired Hank after spending 9 months with another agent and receiving zero offers. Hank gave me five offers within 24 hours of his first morning on the job. I ended up selling the house for more than the asking price. I would g...
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