The Marshall Group
Stoney Marshall Associate Broker
804-249-6706804-249-6706

First-Time Home Buyers

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First-Time Home Buyers

You’re a first-time home buyer in search of the perfect property to call your very own “Home Sweet Home”, but where do you begin? Becoming a home owner is an exciting and fulfilling experience, but the process isn’t as simple as finding a home, buying it, and moving in. There are several steps involved – some are relatively straight-forward and others require skills for more complex problem solving. You need someone in your corner to explain the most efficient way to search for property, what real estate and contractual terms really mean, how to connect with a reliable lender, negotiate on your behalf, share their expertise, and help manage the entire process from start to finish. A qualified Realtor® can not only answer all of your questions, but he or she will be your home-buying coach and remain a support system by your side throughout the entire transaction.

How Can We Help You?

  • We’ll take the time to get to know you and thoroughly understand what your specific needs and wants are in a property.
  • We know reliable mortgage professionals that can assist you with the pre-approval process for your home loan.
  • Once we have a better understanding of what you’re looking for and a budget you’re comfortable with, we can set you up on a property search in our Multiple Listing Service. You’ll receive an automatic email in real-time with new and updated listings that fit your criteria. You will not find another website or property search system that provides you information as accurate or more quickly than our personal property searches.
  • After we discuss and identify potential homes for you, we’ll be sure to coordinate property showings and plan outings to fit your schedule and maximize your time.
  • As soon as you feel confident you’ve found the property you want to purchase, we will analyze comparable properties in the area to make sure you’re making an informed decision and negotiate on your behalf to help get the best possible deal.
  • Once we’ve negotiated an offer on the right property for you and you’re officially under contract, we’ll ensure all of the paperwork is handled in a timely and professional manner and that all of your requests are addressed.
  • We will guide you through the home inspection process. This includes scheduling the inspection with a qualified home inspector, helping to evaluate your needs based on repairs vs. repair credits, and negotiating all requests to the seller on your behalf.
  • In between contract ratification and closing we can also help you connect with any 3rd party providers of services related to the real estate transaction.
  • We have suggestions for closing attorneys and title companies that we’ve worked with for years, who do a great job, and can assist you with the legal document preparation and recordation of the deed.
  • We’ll be available to discuss any concerns you may have along the way. Our years of experience and knowledge of various markets has helped us understand how to handle different scenarios and situations that arise throughout the real estate transaction.
  • Out relationship with you doesn’t end at the closing table. Not only do we strive to provide exceptional service before and during the sale, we also plan to maintain our friendship and support after the transaction is complete.

Terms To Know!

  1. Acceptance: This is an agreement to the terms of an offer on a home. If the seller decides to accept the offer, you are both considered under contract once all the appropriate signatures have been completed.
  2. Appraisal: An appraisal is a process that determines the lender’s value of your home, and it includes factors such as the condition of the property, location, upgrades to the home, and selling prices of similar homes in the neighborhood.
  3. Closing (also known as “Settlement”): This is the final step in executing a real estate transaction. The closing date is agreed upon within the contract, and is typically several weeks after the offer is formally accepted. On the closing date, the ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.
  4. Closing Costs: These are all the costs that you pay to various 3rd parties as part of the buying process, beyond the sale price of the property. Examples include loan origination fees, taxes, county/city recording fees, title search & insurance, home owners insurance, HOA fees, etc.
  5. Contingency: A condition or action that must be met in order for a real estate contract to be fully binding. These may include, but are not limited to, acquiring financing under certain terms, satisfaction of requests after the home inspection, contract sale price being at or below the lender’s appraisal value, providing clean title, etc.
  6. Contract:  A legally binding agreement between two parties concerning the terms of purchase or transfer of real property.
  7. Counter Offer: A response to an initial offer that typically presents a compromise of terms and price. This type of offer permits a person to decline a previous offer and allows offer negotiations to continue. Counter offers can be made between both parties in several iterations before an agreement is made.
  8. Earnest Money Deposit: The EMD is the purchaser’s good faith deposit that stays held in a 3-party escrow account until closing, at which point it is applied to your total funds contributed at settlement. If you decide to release the contract on the property outside of your given rights outlined in the agreement, your deposit is at risk to be forfeited to the seller. If it is done within your contractual rights, you are entitled to have the EMD returned.
  9. Home Inspection: A visual examination of a residential dwelling which is designed to identify material defects within specific components of said dwelling.
  10. Home Owner’s Association (HOA): An organization of homeowners of a specific subdivision, condominium or planned unit development. The purpose of a home owners association is to provide a common basis for preserving maintaining and enhancing their homes and property. Typically HOA’s charge additional monthly, quarterly, or yearly fees.
  11. Lender: An organization or person that lends money. The loan process is typically done through large financial institutions and banks, or mortgage brokers.
  12. Lender’s Title Insurance: An insurance policy that protects the lender against claims and losses that may arise if the title is unmarketable or defective. This is a required cost paid for by the purchaser.
  13. MLS: A multiple listing service (MLS) is an online service used by regional groups of real estate brokers, which allows them to access information on one another’s listings of properties for sale.
  14. Owner’s Title Insurance: Insures the new owner against losses due to title defects. This optional protection is paid for by the purchaser at closing.
  15. Pre-ApprovalAn evaluation of a potential borrower by a lender that determines whether the borrower qualifies for a loan, the type of loan the buyer is qualified for, and the maximum amount the lender would be willing to provide a borrower.
  16. MI: Mortgage insurance. Expressed as a percentage of the loan amount, this is a monthly fee in addition to the interest rate that lenders require on certain types of loans.
  17. Ratified: Sign or give formal consent to an agreement, making it officially valid.
  18. Title: A comprehensive term referring to the legal basis of the ownership of property, encompassing real property, intangible and tangible interests therein. 
  19. Title Work: The process that ensures the seller is the actual title owner, determines what, if any, liens are on the title, and verifies the property is legally accessible.