ARMS, closing costs, 2nd mortgages, pre-approval, home insurance, PMI, inspections and appraisals... the list goes on and on. The acronyms and terminology used when going through the home buying process can be confusing and downright exhausting to understand and keep straight; especially when you've never been through the process before.
If you're like us, you often find yourself browsing Zillow and other home buying sites, dreaming about owning a home.
Ever since my wife and I decided we wanted to buy a home we've been researching like crazy, I mean it isn't like we are trying to decide what to order at McDonalds, this is the biggest purchase of our lives. So, we decided to attend a co-worker's first-time home buying seminar to learn more.
At Zach's home buying seminar he ran through different mortgage options, touched base on what additional costs one might run into and ran through what's actually included in a monthly mortgage payment. He also had a realtor there to answer property questions, and a home insurance agent to make sure people knew how to keep their investment protected. Having multiple professionals speak helped me understand the home buying process better. Also, it was nice to have real humans to answer questions and listen to our unique financial situation to find a solution that fits best with our lifestyle.
We were even given a "to-go" packet that had additional contact information, mortgage scenarios and options and other free resources to help with the home search and buying process, which is awesome!
Now that we feel comfortable with what we can expect my wife and I decided we're ready to start the hunt. Last week, we met with a realtor.
Choosing a realtor is an important step when diving into home ownership, particularly in a seller's market! We knew we wanted to work with a realtor so that we didn't have to scroll through a zillion listings or risk losing on out on our dream home. But, we also knew that we needed someone who was going to look out for our best interest during the home buying process.
So, we decided to interview a realtor and set up an appointment to ask some questions. We wanted to make sure we were on the same page and provided our realtor with items we considered important; we also determined a price range we felt comfortable with. (Your realtor can definitely help you with this and there are plenty of resources out there, but we used this calculator to determine the monthly mortgage payments we could afford.)
When it comes to finding a realtor, ask your family and friends who they worked with, then you can interview one or two of them that you think would be a good fit for you, and you can also name drop and give credit to the person that referred you. I would also recommend finding a realtor that has experience selling in the particular area you're interested in buying a home in. That way the realtor has experience in your desired location and can answer more specific questions regarding school districts, construction, neighborhoods, etc.
Our interview lasted about an hour and the agent was more than willing to meet with us after work during the week. Along with the realtor's personality, we compiled questions beforehand to determine if he was a good fit for our home buying needs.
- How long have you been a licensed real estate agent?
- Is real estate your full-time job?
- Do you have a lot of experience selling in this area?
- How do you determine which homes match our wants/needs?
- How do you normally communicate with us when there's a new listing we may like?
- Do you attend home inspections and how do you negotiate our requests?