A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Embarking on the journey of purchasing a home is an exhilarating milestone in life. To ensure you are fully equipped for this occasion, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the intricacies of the process. Our team has meticulously crafted a comprehensive guide for first-time buyers, outlining each step in a clear and concise manner. This invaluable resource will not only alleviate the anxieties associated with home buying but also allow you to enjoy the experience to the fullest extent possible.

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Step 1: Research

Have you determined your preferred location for purchasing a property? Are you inclined towards a condo, townhome, or single-family home? It's essential to identify the features you appreciate and those you wish to avoid. Furthermore, have you explored the current offerings available in the market?

If you responded "no" to any of these inquiries, now is the opportune moment to embark on thorough research. Alongside actively seeking out homes that capture your interest, make it a point to stay informed about any fluctuations in asking prices. This will provide you with valuable insights into the housing trends prevalent in specific neighborhoods, ultimately aiding you when the time comes to submit an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Take control of your financial plan. Notice how we emphasize deciding on your budget, rather than relying solely on the amount you are pre-approved for by a lender. It's common for mortgage companies to pre-approve you for a higher amount than you're truly comfortable spending. That's precisely why it's crucial to determine the monthly payment that aligns with your comfort level before engaging with a lender.

This involves conducting a thorough assessment of your entire household budget and taking into account the potential changes beyond the mortgage payment that will arise once you transition to your new home. Often, individuals who have been residing in apartments or sharing expenses with roommates tend to overlook additional costs such as garbage disposal, water bills, or homeowner association fees that could easily throw your budget off track.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

It's important to recognize that simply believing you can afford a specific monthly payment does not guarantee that the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may grant you approval for an amount exceeding your comfort level, they might also sanction a lesser sum or decline your mortgage application altogether. Factors such as limited job tenure, insufficient credit history, previous bankruptcies, or other financial challenges can significantly impede your ability to secure a mortgage.

Before setting your heart on a particular home, it is imperative to consult with a mortgage professional who can assess your eligibility for a loan. This step not only provides clarity on the amount you can qualify for but also grants you an advantage when making an offer on a property. It's worth noting that some sellers prefer dealing exclusively with buyers who have already obtained prequalification for a loan. By proactively addressing this matter, you position yourself as a more appealing candidate in the eyes of sellers.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Is it possible for you to independently search for, view, and eventually make an offer on a home without the assistance of a real estate agent? Technically speaking, yes, it is. However, allow me to pose a more pressing question: Why would you choose to do so when it doesn't cost you anything to enlist the services of a knowledgeable agent like myself, who can alleviate much of the burden and stress involved?

By partnering with our team, you not only gain access to our expertise in identifying properties that align with your preferences, arranging showings, and managing the offer process, but you also benefit from our profound understanding of the market that surpasses your own. We possess the ability to guide you away from potential pitfalls associated with certain homes or neighborhoods, introduce you to hidden gems you might have overlooked, and offer invaluable insights that will empower you to discover your dream home at the perfect price point.

Our goal is to provide you with the most curated service that is designed to help you buy your dream home or next investment.

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This phase is an absolute delight, easily surpassing any other step in the process (apart from the exhilaration of moving in!). Our team will diligently coordinate showings of homes that pique your interest and fall within your price range. During these viewings, it is crucial to actively observe and record your impressions. Pay close attention to every intricate detail. Engage with the environment by toggling light switches, opening and closing doors, and testing faucets in various rooms. Remember, your inspection should extend beyond the boundaries of the home itself. Dedicate ample time to explore the neighborhood, attentively observing traffic patterns at different times of the day, assessing the parking situation, and evaluating the proximity to essential amenities such as schools and grocery stores.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have identified the ideal home, we will collaborate to construct a compelling offer that aligns with the value of similar properties available in the market. Consider the listed price of the home and carefully assess whether the current climate favors buyers or sellers. Consequently, your offer may fall below, at, or even exceed the asking price.

In the event of a counteroffer, we will leverage our negotiation skills to assist you in reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Upon acceptance, the house will enter the escrow phase, marking an important milestone in the process.

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Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In the majority of instances, your offer will be subject to a vital contingency: conducting a thorough home inspection to ascertain the absence of significant structural damage or extensive repairs. Rest assured, our team is readily available to assist you in arranging this essential step, which can be scheduled within days of submitting your offer.

Should the inspection reveal no substantial concerns, we seamlessly progress to the eighth step of the process. However, if any significant issues come to light, you have two viable options. Firstly, you can renegotiate your offer based on the necessary repairs or, alternatively, you retain the freedom to withdraw your offer altogether.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the opportune moment to revisit the mortgage lender who previously pre-approved or pre-qualified you and make the crucial decision regarding your mortgage.

This pivotal step entails exploring a range of options tailored to your distinctive financial circumstances. Among these options, you will encounter choices such as fixed-rate or variable-rate mortgages, 15-year or 30-year terms, as well as specialized programs like VA loans or FHA loans. Collaborate closely with your mortgage lender to carefully assess each option and determine the one that aligns with your comfort level and financial objectives.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will arrange for a professional appraisal of your new home, providing an independent assessment of its value.

This crucial step serves the purpose of ensuring that all parties involved are engaging in a fair transaction and paying an appropriate price for the property. By conducting a thorough appraisal, we can confidently ascertain the fairness and equity of the price being paid for the house.

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

While the paperwork involved in the home buying process may not be the most exciting aspect, it is an essential part of the journey. However, you can find solace in the fact that all the necessary paperwork will be diligently managed by your trusted lender and title company. Their expertise will ensure that every aspect is taken care of efficiently and effectively.

Once the paperwork is complete, you will be able to celebrate that you have officially become the owner of your new home!

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. 

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
When my husband and I decided to move from the SF Bay Area to Austin and buy our first home, we didn't know anyone in Austin and had very little to no knowledge of the home buying process. So, it was incredibly important for us to work with a Real Estate Agent who we can trust and who can guide us in this journey. Khani was recommended to us and she was absolutely AMAZING - from sending us brochures to f...

— ANDREA ONETA | BUYER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani and her team are amazing. In a totally crazy housing market, when we had to make a lot of decisions quickly, she was always there when needed with sound advice. She took care of every detail and ensured we maximized our outcome. I’m extremely grateful to her and her team and can’t recommend her highly enough.

— LISA KUREK | SELLER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
My wife and I met Khani at an open house in our neighborhood. We weren’t in the market for a home but had plans of selling our house in 6 months and had a habit of checking out local open houses. Khani greeted us with a big smile, amazing energy and marketing material of the home that looked like it could be in readers digest. The house was staged to perfection and we talked to her for 15 minutes about t...

— GAVIN WINTER | SELLER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani is the best! She was so helpful in so many ways: great research into homes and neighborhoods, recommendations for shops / restaurants / sites, help getting work done on the house, and managing our entire home buying cycle flawlessly. She was incredibly responsive, easy to communicate with, and just plain fun to spend time with. Highly recommend, especially for anyone looking to move to the Austin a...

— DAVID PARKER | BUYER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani is a phenomenal realtor, one of the best in Austin, TX! I highly recommend you approach her if you ever need to buy or sell a home in the area. Her market knowledge and experience will be sure to get you a great deal.

— MICHELLE FERMIN | SELLER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Very personable, friendly, attentive, exclusive. The most professional, knowledgeable team. Exceptional marketing strategy that sells homes. This is bespoke realty services.

— PAUL ERICKSON | SELLER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani has had multiple transaction both for sales and rentals for me. She is knowledgeable, attentive and professional. She handled a lot of issues without any glitches. I highly recommend her in assisting you in any real estate endeavor you might have.

— JEFF PAN | BUYER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I am lucky enough to know one of the best and the brightest real estate agents in Texas, and certainly in Austin. Her expertise is incredible, she knows the market here, an impressive feat for her to have accomplished in an incredibly competitive real estate industry. Khani Zulu made the process of buying a home seamless and perfect. She took on the hard work of the homebuying process, every single de...

— KRISTI GEDEON | BUYER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for the exceptional service and professionalism that Khani Zulu and her team have provided throughout the process of selling my house. Despite the unexpected challenges that arose, Khani unwavering dedication and solution-oriented approach were truly commendable. I am genuinely grateful for her team tireless efforts in securing the best possible outcome for m...

— YAMAYRA RODRIGUEZ | SELLER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Last summer I referred my dear friends and clients to Khani and her team, as they were relocating from the Bay Area to Austin. Khani was all over it with them, listened to their needs, and kept me in the loop the entire way on how things were progressing with their purchase. My clients had only rave reviews for Khani and are super happy with where they ended up!

— TOBIAS GREEN

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Loved working with Khani!!! You should consider using her if you - need good advice on what to do before listing, need someone with contacts to get that work done quickly, enjoy working with an agent who is responsive and makes things happen. Khani and her team go way beyond what I see from other agents and on other listings. For instance, a unique and beautiful website to market your home and adverti...

— KYLE OLSON | SELLER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani is the most wonderful combination of knowledgeable, connected and helpful person to know. She has been just the right person you'd wish to meet in a new town - with "I know someone who can...!" every. darned. time! I am SO glad to have been given her name in my search for a a new home in Austin - you meet people for a reason in your life, and she is one of those!!

— S-J | BUYER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani and her team were Outstanding! Excellent with communication and assistance throughout the entire process. It was very obvious how Khani and her team stood out, with their work ethic, advice on updating the property and assistance with getting those repairs done. Thank you !

— MICHELLE OLSON | SELLER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I cannot say enough good things about our experience buying a home with Khani. We started looking for a home in Austin back in the summer of 2020 with another realtor in Austin and put in offers on about 8 homes over the next ~1.5 years. We were so discouraged and our expectations and budget changed drastically to accommodate for the insane Austin market. Finally, we decided we needed to make a change wh...

— JESSICA THORNTON | BUYER

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani is the expert you want in your corner throughout any type of Austin real estate adventure. She's a fierce advocate and effective agent for her clients best interests. I introduced Khani to a friend that was looking to make a investor purchase in Austin. This particular client had high expectations from their real estate team, to which Khani exceeded every one of those benchmarks with grace and joy....

— JP GERLING

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Khani is simply great! Very knowledgeable and experienced! Her network is vast and will always find you the best deal! Can’t thank her enough for her support!

— KRISTIAN HRISTOV | BUYER

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