A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying Your Next Home

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 our team 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 we 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 agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

Our 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!). We 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. We 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. We 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.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
The Snyder team helped us work through a tough rent vs sell decision on a property. Very thorough, and gave us clear information that got us to a great decision.

— Jeffrey B.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I have known Craig for quite some time and I would strongly recommend him to anyone who is looking to buy or sell Real Estate. You can be safe that he always has his customer's best interest in mind and he won't steer you in the wrong direction!

— Satch B.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Craig worked with me selling my house through the entire process. He helped me from the beginning while I was preparing the house for sale through the final steps while the house was under contract. I would definitely recommend Craig and his team if you're looking to sell your house.

— Bill B.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Craig worked diligently to find the perfect house for military friends moving to Virginia Beach. The market was tough and doing it all while the buyers were in California meant lots of coordinating, FaceTime videos, and networking to find houses that had not hit the market yet. Thanks for all your hard work!

— Claire T.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Through an extremely difficult market and house search, Craig and Alex guided us through to our perfect home. They offered sound advice and were immediately there to answer questions, show a house, or contact sellers. On holidays and weekends, we could always count on them. They are a great team that did it all for us.

— Gavin O.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I recently sold my home and I have to say the entire process was incredibly smooth thanks to Craig’s expertise. He coordinated everything, including referring me to a staging company as well as photographers who made my listing look absolutely stunning. The sale of a home can be a pretty stressful event but I have to say I didn’t ever feel like I wasn’t in good hands working with Craig. I highly recommen...

— Michael B.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Craig went above and beyond to help me navigate the market, find my dream home, and negotiate a phenomenal deal! His communication and knowledgeability throughout the entire process were second to none, and truly made it a rewarding experience. Rest assured that you will receive the absolute best service, from someone who is genuinely on your side and dedicated to your interests. I look forward to workin...

— Mike M.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Craig and Alex were amazing to work with! They went above and beyond for my husband and I during our house hunt. We are so grateful to have been able to work with them as a team. Both were very knowledgeable and professional. They were also very personable. They made themselves available whenever we needed, kept us up to date on everything going on, and made the entire process easy. As first-time home bu...

— Ally R.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Craig and Alex are amazing. If you are buying or selling, call them and have a discussion. They are zero pressure, know the area and I have no doubt they will be an asset in your journey and you will not find better representation. They represented us in selling our home, and from valuation, staging, and prep to showing and negotiating the deal, they nailed it at every step and were there for us day and ...

— Paul C.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Craig and Alex are an awesome team. The epitome of professional, they come prepared to sell your house. Craig is all about communication. As a seller, you will not be left guessing on anything. Great communication from start to finish. Our house was on the market for one day and we got a quick closing 30 days later. Craig helped with all the paperwork which we did via electronic signing making it far eas...

— Joshua S.

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