Buyer's Guide

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

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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.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I 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.

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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.

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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 an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I 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.

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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. I 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.

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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. I 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Congratulations!

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. 

Our Testimonials

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Amy B.

We would 100% recommend Matt and Emily to anyone looking to buy or sell a house. When we started preparing to buy a home, we were expecting to be working with a stereotypical sleazy Realtor®, which in no way reflected what we g...
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Buyer

You would be hard-pressed to find a better Realtor® anywhere, much less such a talented and cohesive pair of Realtors® in Matt and Emily Booth. Real Estate is a highly intricate and detail-oriented business, despite the popular...
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Alexander T.

When searching for a home, the best decision I ever made was deciding to work with Matt and Emily Booth. Without their advice and constant dedication, I am confident that I would not have ended up in the house of my family's dr...
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Adam A.

I am so thankful that Matt and Emily were recommended to us, I’m convinced if we had used any other team we would not have the home we have today. This is our first home and they were able to help guide us every step of the way...
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Dan H.

Emily and her team helped us purchase this property and then sell the same property in 2017. We have bought and sold Real Estate before and found that Emily and her team were outstanding throughout the entire process. She did a...
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Matt F.

Our most recent transaction was our 4th with Emily. She knows her craft and it shows in everything she does. Emily treats every interaction as crucial to the success of the transaction. Her attention to detail brings a sense of...
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Seller

Emily helped us find and secure our first home in Hillsboro, OR. Our experience with her and her team has been nothing short of stellar. Most recently, she helped to accommodate and sell the same house that she helped us buy ev...
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Buyer

From the moment we hit 'Contact Agent' on the app, Matt and Emily Booth have been outstanding in the process. They called us immediately to introduce themselves. We were shown houses the same day, despite the fact it was rainin...
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Seller

Emily and Matt walked us through every step of selling our home, as we are being relocated to another state. From talking strategy to optimize marketing our home best in this market to making sure we had all the details, we nee...
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Seller

We found Emily Booth to exhibit the highest level of professionalism as she journeyed with us to a successful sale. Emily is tenacious in her research of facts and circumstances. Her direct approach with a buyer, Realtors®, and...
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Kyle F.

Matt and Emily were great to work with through our home buying and selling experience. They understood our unique situation and even offered some unique solutions to challenges that we faced along the way. When I was getting be...
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Buyer

She's the best. She will get you the best outcome and ease away any stress you are feeling with your move. The flyer for our home was beautiful and got us multiple offers all over asking. It was done so well that we are plannin...
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Jorge

My experience with the whole process of buying our first home was amazing, and that is thanks to Emily and Matt. Their communication skills were outstanding, always on top and ahead of the whole process. Emily and Matt, thank y...
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Seller

We are so thankful for Emily and Matt as they helped us sell our condo during a time of potential assessment. They came up with a sales plan that was honest with potential buyers but also created interest. This allowed for a qu...
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David S.

Emily and her team provided the most professional and knowledgeable Real Estate service I could ask for. Emily advised me on fix-up, staging, negotiation, and closing from start to finish. Very responsive and dedicated. I highl...
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Grace S.

Matt and Emily were fantastic to work with. They answered our millions of questions and took great care in helping us narrow down our options to find just the right home. They went above and beyond in being there to help us thr...
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Hansteen G.

I have used Emily twice as a Realtor® and would use her again, were I to sell my house. Emily is knowledgeable, honest, and helpful. Any questions I had were promptly answered. I highly recommend her to either buy or sell a house.
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Buyer & Seller

Emily is very responsive and accommodating to my needs. She never rushed me to make a decision and was very helpful in providing guidance when I needed it. I would highly recommend Emily to anyone looking to buy or sell a home.
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Buyer

We couldn't be more pleased with Emily and Matt. We had a very complicated investment property purchase that Matt and Emily were amazing in navigating the nitty-gritty. We will definitely use them for our Real Estate endeavors.
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Buyer | Seller

Matt and Emily were fantastic and I am confident that without their representation, the transaction would not have closed. They did an excellent job.
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We are dedicated to helping you find your dream home and assisting with any selling needs you may have. Contact us today to start your home searching journey!