How do I get started in the real estate buying process?

Whether you are renting or looking to move from the house you currently own– buying a new home can be intimidating. This tends to be the main reason why people sit on the sidelines their whole lives. There is this engrained fear– that buying real estate is some crazy, complicated & costly process. While it can be for some– for most buyers (with a solid agent) the process is far from complicated. 

  1. Where are you at in life? What can you afford & what are your needs?

This is a crucial first step in the buying process. You need to assess your needs & figure out what you can reasonably afford. Easiest way to do this is reaching out to a local loan officer. Based on your monthly income, debt & assets– they will be able to give you an idea of what you can afford based on those current financial factors. The system encourages you to shop around for the best rates as well. Reach out to multiple lenders, see who has the best rates/fees and someone you want to do business with. 

This is often the step people get stuck on, never follow through, and end up renting their whole lives. Which is fine if that is what you prefer, but we are here to build our wealth for the long-term.

      2. What area(s) do I want to be in & what can I afford there?

There is a famous saying in real estate that location is everything. You'll often hear "location, location, location". Sometimes, depending on your budget– you might want to pick a good location but one that supports your budget, let me explain. If you are shopping for a renovated 4-bedroom under 400,000, you will get much more for your money going a little bit further away from the action. EX: A nicely renovated 3/2 in Alpharetta will run you around 400-450, while a nicely renovated 3/2 in Woodstock or Canton might only run you 350-400. All these are well-established areas, but each one is going to offer different value depending on your budget. 

Case & point– You want to live in the best location you can, while getting your needs & sticking to your budget. 

      3. Chose a solid agent.

This part can be done before this point but choosing a solid agent is crucial. Just because susie down the street is your best friend, doesn't make her a great real estate agent. You need a professional on your side that can guide you through the hurdles. When I said this process shouldn't be crazy & complicated– this is the case for those with a good agent. 

This is a huge purchase and if your agent is fresh off the chopping block with no experience, you are essentially gambling. The buying/selling process is supposed to be relatively easy for you. For your agent, there are a lot of moving parts, and these moving parts can be very costly to you if they aren't moved correctly. 

Key takeaway: Vet out your agent, read their online reviews. Your agent should be actively providing you with data on what the market is doing and how that impacts your decisions. 

Posted by Carson Hulak on


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