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 our team will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


We both bought and sold a home with Tim in 2014 Both transactions went far smoother than they otherwise would have *only* because of Tim's expertise. Sales side - Tim expertly handled all of the pre-sale work for our house, including arranging inspections, lining up handymen and tradespeople, developing a marketing plan, and going to market all with very little support from us. He transformed a fairly li...

— Joseph M.


I recently had the pleasure of working with Tim Proschold from Luxuriant Realty, and I cannot say enough positive things about my experience. Tim helped me navigate the process of purchasing a new construction home in Scotts Valley while simultaneously selling my townhome in San Jose, and he made the entire process seamless and stress-free. From the beginning, Tim was incredibly knowledgeable about the m...

— Yamin D.


Tim was the reason we are now happily in our new home. We worked with him for about 4 months before we found our house. He was very patient, and professional and most importantly showed us that he had our best interests at heart. He was super detail-oriented and noted important things in the disclosure documents that we needed to be aware of. His background in structural engineering also made him a great...

— Myra L.


Tim helped us look for a house while we were across the country and was extremely helpful in the process. He's very reliable was very good at helping us navigate a very complex transaction (going above and beyond what I'd expect). He also brings valuable knowledge to the table on construction and an eye for build quality, which makes it easier to understand the rough costs to remediate, renovate, or rebu...

— John A.


After interviewing 5 realtors who all came highly recommended, we chose Tim Proschold to sell our family home. He was everything we gathered in the interview and more. He’s a straight shooter, thorough, and a man of integrity. Tim gracefully guided us through the clean-out, prep, repairs, inspection reports, and mounds of paperwork, and made selling an effortless process. In addition, Tim was always a co...

— Liz B.


Tim Proschold is everything you would want in a top-notch real estate agent - trustworthy, highly knowledgeable, reliable, and very loyal to his clients. A few years ago, my husband and I were looking for the right agent to help look for a new house, and we were instantly impressed by Tim. From the start, Tim made us feel very comfortable and patiently walked us through every step. We found him extremely...

— Nita K.

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