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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Camille is an outstanding REALTOR. I highly recommend her services.— Sean Hammond
Camille Carney really goes the extra mile for the clients. She works tirelessly to make the best of the buy-and-sell experiences.— Malar V.
We had an amazing experience with Camile Carney as our Listing Representative. It was smooth sailing. We highly recommend Camille and Local Life Realty.— Danny & Dorenda S.
Camille Carney did a great job and was a pleasure to work with on the sale of our home which sold in only 5 days and for more than the list price. Thanks a bunch.— JA C.
Selling a house is always stressful, but Camille took care of everything so well, we didn't worry about a thing. Her attention to detail and professionalism was a breath of fresh air. I would definitely recommend her.— Kathee J.
Working with Camille is always reassuring because we know we are in good hands. She is knowledgeable in what she does and counts on years of experience, so you can be sure she gets to work right away in easing our concerns and answering our questions entirely.— Evelyn R.
Camille Carney was the agent for my sale. My highest recommendation is extended for her and the company. She was professional, experienced, knowledgeable, and responsive for every question and issue. She very quickly located a qualified buyer for my home prior to completion of build for my new home, insuring a smooth transition for my family.— Anna L.
The Best! Drawn from amongst the list of “bests” of Texas families – this one has a phenomenal pedigree. I seriously question that Camille’s clients will need even a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar to make anything unpalatable go down in her superb, supremely personable way. Camille is one-in-a-million, and you are quite fortunate to have her as your representative!— Margaret S.
After selling our first home, my husband and I built our forever home. We worked with Camille from Local Life Realty. Working with Camille is always reassuring because we know we are in good hands. When in doubt, we ask her questions. She is knowledgeable in what she does and counts with years of experience, so you can be sure she gets to work right away with easing our concerns and answering our questions entirely. We’ve worked with Camille a total of 3 times now, she never disappoints! We closed our house during pandemic times. While keeping a safe distance, she was there to be with us until the very end. We appreciate all she does and recommend h...— Chico & Evelyn R.
We found Camille through Zillow and are so grateful that we did! Camille was incredibly helpful throughout our entire home buying process. We were shopping from out of state and she drove to countless houses to send us video tours and photos and offer opinions. She also met us on several weekends when we could travel and worked around our schedule. She was always quick to answer texts and emails, and got answers from other agents quickly. She walked us through the whole process start to finish and is still available for questions even now that we've closed. Camille is so kind and so helpful - you won't be disappointed!— Desai
Camille is a one of a kind REALTOR! We’ve purchased three homes and sold two with her and have never been disappointed. She’s knowledgeable, honest and works hard for her clients. Camille has years of experience and is an expert in the Austin market. I’ve referred many friends and family members to her and can always trust that she will take the best care of them. Call Camille today, you won’t be disappointed!— Rachel Bolton
We can't speak highly enough of our experience with Camille Carney. This was our first time selling a home in Texas and she could not have made it an easier one. She brought in a fantastic photographer to showcase our home and we received multiple offers the first day the house went on the market. She was very responsive and always available when we needed her. We accepted an offer after one Open House and Camille made the closing period a seamless and stress-free process. If you are going to buy or sell your home, we highly recommend Camille Carney. She was fantastic!!!— Sarah and Jeff S.
"Camille helped me find my first home and I could not have been happier with the entire process! From initially looking at homes, to speaking with builders, all the way to closing, Camille was there every step of the way and made me so comfortable with such a massive decision! Thank you!"— Cody Wallace
I can not count the amount of times my partner and I said, "Thank God for Camille." We came into the process with a mix of excitement and apprehension but from the moment we met Camille, she immediately put our mind at ease and proved to be invaluable asset through the whole process. Camille truly went above and beyond to understand our needs, preferences, and aspirations for our first home. Her keen attention to detail and expertise helped us navigate through the number of homes available. She was always readily available to answer our questions, patiently explaining every detail until we felt completely comfortable. We can confidently say that C...— Alex and An
had a great experience working with Jason! Being that it was my first time selling a house, he was patient and thorough as he walked me thru the process. He was always quick to follow up and answer any questions that came up. Jason made me feel like I was truly part of the process....I would definitely recommend Jason and Local Life to my friends and family. Thanks Jason!— Jake Vinz