Steps & Tips for First-time (or even 2nd, 3rd, 4th time) home buyers

  1.  Talk to a Lender.  Before looking at houses, be sure to talk to your lender (your agent can usually suggest someone he/she has had good experiences with) and get pre-qualified.  This will help you and your agent determine your price range when you set up an MLS search.
  2. What are you looking for in a home? Make a list of your wants and needs.  Know that once you start seeing homes in your preferred location(s), that this list might change a bit due to the fact that location dictates price which in turn may cause you to tweak your criteria.
  3.  Take your search to the next level.  When you are ready to take your search farther, your agent will set up an auto-search in the Richmond MLS with your criteria; unlike typical real estate sites, MLS provides more detailed information about each home and is fully up-to-date. Your agent will help identify homes in your favorite areas and you’ll work together to set up times to view the ones you like.  Be prepared to spend several hours seeing homes – when first starting out, the typical number you’ll view is around 5-8 homes.
  4.  Offer time! Once you’ve located your dream home, you and your agent will discuss price and other terms, and write-up an offer based on research your agent has completed and explained to you fully; remember, an asking price is not always an accurate market value –   After you’ve decided on the terms, your agent will submit it to the listing agent and you can expect a response typically within 24 hours.