home buyerWow. You’re about to be a first-time home buyer. That is a really, really big deal – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It’s a commitment – that’s for sure – of both your time and your money. But there’s something inherently different and satisfying about spending time working on your own home, and after all – we all have to live somewhere, so why not invest in yourself instead of a landlord’s real estate portfolio?

There is a lot to think about before you decide to buy, of course. For example: Is this the city you plan to stay for a few years? Do you know how much you can comfortably afford? Do you have enough down payment? (To find out more about that, we recommend you visit Premier Mortgage Lending to learn about their new 1% Down Loan Program.)

A while back, we talked here about many other things to consider before making the move from “Renter” to “ Home Buyer.” But if you’ve already reached the decision to start shopping for the perfect place to call your own, there are a few things about the process itself. Read on.

STEP 1: Get Your Finances and Credit in Order

In today’s rapid-fire real estate market, the last thing you want to happen when you find “The One” is to lose-out on it because you don’t have – or can’t get – mortgage loan approval. That’s why your first step should be to get a copy of your credit report. (You’re entitled by law to get a free updated credit report each year.)

STEP 2: Visit at Least Two Mortgage Lenders

Getting your credit report is great, but knowing how to evaluate it is something else. And there are many more steps in the mortgage loan process than just credit. You need to find out what those steps are, how your circumstances measure-up, if there are any things you need to fix or change, and discover how much of a mortgage loan you can qualify for. That last detail will also let you know the price range of homes you should be considering. (Trust us, there are few things worse than falling in love with a home that’s out of your price range!)

But why visit two lenders? Read our lips: So you can compare fees and interest rates. Not all lenders are the same – nor are all mortgage loans. Their fees can vary widely – from $0 to as much as 4-5% of your purchase price. If the interest rates are equal, you can see just how much your get-in-the-door / cash out of pocket will be. You’d be surprised how big the difference in cost can be. (And remember, just getting a loan estimate does not commit you to anything. You’re free to shop around as much as you want!)

STEP 3: Find the Right Realtor®.

Everyone has “a friend” who sells real estate. Or maybe it just seems like it. But our experience has been that once you reveal you’re in the market to being a home buyer, suddenly you discover that your cousin’s ex-husband’s sister-in-law’s best friend’s dog, Lulubelle, sells real estate – you should call her! We hate to be blunt, but here’s our take on that suggestion: W.R.O.N.G.

Why, you ask? (while thinking that we have an ulterior motive – which we don’t, but how do you know that?) Well, that’s precisely the point. You don’t know that. And you don’t know Lulubelle, either. Having a relative or friend that sells real estate is no way to choose your Realtor®.

First of all, if they have the experience, reputation and knowledge that you need in a Realtor®, you would already know about them. Those agents have spent long hours, days, months, and years building that reputation and gaining that knowledge. And they don’t typically need to go searching for new clients – because clients seek them for their expertise.

So, decide what area you want to live. And then do your homework to find out which Realtors® really know those neighborhoods. Interview them. Meet their team, because you’ll be working with them through this process, too. Ask questions and then listen to their answers. Your instincts will take you far in finding the right agent. The right Realtor® will be active in finding properties for you to consider, and help make the entire experience as seamless for you as possible.

Like we said in the beginning, buying your first home is no small decision. Plus, it’s the first of many, many decisions you’ll be making – especially in finding the home you love and getting a mortgage loan. Make it easy on yourself by putting a little effort into finding the best people for the job. Then – you just let them do their job, and you’ll have much smoother sailing.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide just the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or at www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Moreno Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!