A First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide by Steph Kaye

A First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide by Steph Kaye

Searching for homes as a first-time home buyer can be daunting. The process may seem foreign to you, which is why it’s best to partner with an agent local to the area. They can explain the steps of the home-buying process and ensure you find listings that match your needs. Follow this homebuyer’s guide for a stress-free experience searching for Clarkston, MI real estate.

Research the area and locale

The first step to take as a buyer is to research the area that you’re interested in. Look for different neighborhoods, the cost of living, amenities, and services nearby. A city or town should provide everything you may want or need. City amenities provide residents with many things to do in Clarkston. The historic downtown serves as a venue for annual events. Families love Clarkston for its outdoor recreation at Independence Township and many blue-ribbon schools nearby.

First-time home buyers should also research market trends. Ideally, buyers should aim to search during buyers’ market conditions. This is when inventory is high, and buyer demand is low. Oakland County cities like Clarkston are experiencing cooling trends, which is good news for buyers. Closed sales have decreased by 33.4%, and inventory has increased by 9.8%. This creates more options for buyers among less competition.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

The next thing a buyer should do is get preapproved for a mortgage. Buyers can choose between conventional loans and government-backed loans. Conventional loans are the most common loan type. They offer buyers competitive interest rates and can be conforming or non-conforming. Government loans require buyers to meet specific qualifications. If they do, they can count on lower rates, reduced down payments, and an easier approval process.

To get pre-approved, a mortgage lender checks a buyer’s financial portfolio. They’ll review your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio and check if you have a steady source of income. Pre-approval is very useful for buyers in planning out their home search. Many sellers also require buyers to have a pre-approval letter when making an offer. Look out for prequalification, which doesn’t guarantee a mortgage amount.

Search for first-time buyer assistance

Take the time to search for assistance geared especially toward first-time home buyers. Assistance can be found on the state level, county level, or within the city. In Michigan, first-time buyers can use the MI Home Loan program. By meeting certain qualifications, a buyer can qualify for down payment assistance or loan assistance. A google search can also lead buyers to lists of assistance available.

Partner with an agent

When you’ve completed your research, partner with a local and experienced agent like Steph Kaye. Local agents have a thorough understanding of the community’s amenities, the differences between neighborhoods, and local market trends. With access to tools like the MLS, buyers’ agents have a large reach of available listings in the area. With this information, they find listings that fulfill your wants and needs.

A buyer’s agent has completed several home purchases. They have the experience to explain each step to new home buyers. An agent can also provide advice about certain properties and will help you create an offer letter sellers will consider. During negotiations, a buyer’s agent represents their client’s interests professionally. They can also help guide buyers through closing steps. An agent provides valuable resources like a home inspector, home appraiser, and mortgage lender.

Start your home search

When you’ve found an agent that you click with, start your search for Clarkston homes for sale. They’ll be able to schedule home showings on your behalf. While viewing homes, they can point out any potential red flags. Enter your home search with a list of non-negotiables to stay focused. Also, be sure to view many different homes before selecting the right one. If possible, avoid purchasing a home that you haven’t viewed in person.

Negotiate offers with sellers

When you’ve found a home you love, work with an agent to write an offer. Buyers should be prepared to make an offer quickly. The offer letter should include a proposed price, a deadline for a seller’s response, and any contingencies. A seller may choose to accept your offer as it is, reject the offer, or make a counteroffer. Listen to your agent’s advice when deciding where to be flexible and where to hold firm.

Close on a deal

After coming to an agreement with a seller, close on the deal. Buyers who finance with a mortgage need to finalize their loan. Many lenders request a home appraisal and homeowners’ insurance for this. Then, get a home inspection. A home inspection helps buyers avoid inheriting costly home issues. If any problems arise, a buyer can re-enter negotiations with a seller. Then, prepare to sign official paperwork and make a final walkthrough of the property.

Those who buy homes for sale in Clarkston, MI should prepare for closing costs. The closing costs for buyers in Michigan average 2-5% of the home’s value. Using the median sales price of $200,000, buyers can expect to pay between $4,000 and $10,000 to close. These expenses include real estate transfer taxes, home inspection fees, origination fees, and escrow fees. Also, take into account property taxes. The millage rate in Clarkston is 30.3372 for principal residences.

Ready to buy your first home?

Buying your first home can be equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. With this guide, buyers have a good foundation for starting their home search. First-time home buyers should partner with an agent for professional guidance. Agents have a wealth of knowledge and resources they use to help you. They can explain the area’s amenities and neighborhoods, then show you listings you’ll love. When you’re ready to start looking for homes in Clarkston, contact experienced agent Steph Kaye to guide you through the process.

Work With Me

It is so important to connect with a real estate professional that understands your needs and provides you with the first-class representation you deserve. Whether you are interested in selling a home, purchasing a new home or investing in real estate, I strive to do just that for you! Communication is key when working with a Realtor® which is why we will walk hand in hand throughout the entire process to personally and effectively achieve your goals. I want to be your resource for life!