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. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where my expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let me show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

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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. 

My Testimonials

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Jain

Jain

I had the pleasure for working with Malin Larsson for our home purchase. She was very responsive, easy to communicate, and a constant professional. We look forward to work with her again.
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Buyer

Buyer

Malin was very helpful in helping me find my first home. She was always lightning-quick to respond and worked with me to figure out what my ideal home looks like and how to go after it quickly.
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Santiago A.

Santiago A.

With Malin we always felt confident she was guiding us in the right way. We ended up getting what we wanted and how we wanted it. Very professional. She was always very responsive and was there for us any time we needed her.
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Seller

Seller

Malin went out of her way to find renters for my house. She made the process incredibly easy and answered all of my questions immediately. I highly recommend Malin to anyone needing a Realtor®. I will definitely use her again!
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Patti G.

Patti G.

Malin provides excellent service to anyone I refer her, way. She, will go out of her way regardless of your needs to help you find your ideal purchase and no question will ever go unanswered. She will go beyond the extra mile!
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Clemens H.

Clemens H.

We can highly recommend Malin! She was always reachable and flexible for house visits, even on short notice. Her house offers fitted perfectly with our expectations. We really appreciated her high professionalism during the who...
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Kai M.

Kai M.

Malin helped me sell my house in one day. She is very knowledgeable about the selling and buying process. She is so very friendly and easy to work with. She was also able to give some useful suggestions when it comes to setting...
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Buyer

Buyer

Malin has been so helpful in purchasing my first home. I did not know much about the process when we started but she has taught me so much. She is always happy to set up a showing for you and is quick to respond. She gave great...
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Buyer

Buyer

This was my first home purchase and Malin made everything as smooth and as simple as possible. Her responsiveness is amazing and she is always above and beyond in the process- and always on top of scheduling services and etc. H...
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Michelle V.

Michelle V.

Malin's name for my wife and I is Super Agent. We need the right home (6 Kids) months looking, credit challenges, won't stop this woman. Always positive, knowledgeable and always with an smile. If we need to sell or buy our hom...
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Zoe S.

Zoe S.

Malin really came through for us in a pinch. We needed to find a place in a hurry and proved to be very fortunate to work with her. Her knowledge of the Brier Creek area was invaluable And well appreciated. Malin was dependable...
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Caroline B.

Caroline B.

Malin was a wonderful and calming Realtor® to work with as a first-time homebuyer. She was so helpful and took the time to answer all my questions and understand what I needed and wanted in a home. Malin’s responsiveness was re...
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Baiba W.

Baiba W.

Malin is an excellent real estate professional who will represent your best interests and guide you throughout the entire buying or selling process. She is customer-centric, super responsive, and will give guide you through the...
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Marianne G.

Marianne G.

I'm new to the Raleigh area and my colleague recommended me to reach out to Malin for some advice. I've been very impressed by Malins knowledge and her responsiveness. She showed great interest for making this transition for me...
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Mark B.

Mark B.

As an attorney practicing residential real estate in Raleigh for over 20 years, I have never met an agent as new to the business as Malin that has the in depth understanding and appreciation for the entire real estate closing p...
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Lucy T.

Lucy T.

Working with Malin exceeded our expectations of working with a Realtor®. Malin was incredibly friendly and accommodating of our schedule and also never pushy which we appreciated as we were relocating from out of state. We had ...
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Colan & Courtney

Colan & Courtney

We sold our Brier Creek home with Malin without having to list it! Malin’s premarket strategies and vast network of buyers proved to be a perfect fit for our family of 4. We informed Malin we were thinking about selling and tha...
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Sarah B.

Sarah B.

Malin provided us with such a great experience for our first home, we can't compliment her enough! She came recommended by our mortgage lender and now we understand why. From the initial contact, she was attentive, respectful, ...
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Buyer

Buyer

Malin Larsson was my Realtor® and helped me during the entire process of searching for and, eventually, closing on a condo that I absolutely love. I could not have been luckier in having Malin help me every step of the way. She...
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Buyer

Buyer

Malin Larsson was our wonderful real estate broker for our entire search for and purchase of our home in North Carolina, when we moved here from New York at the end of 2014. We simultaneously sold our waterfront home in NY and ...
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Work With Malin

Experience excellence in real estate with Malin Larsson. With almost 15 years of local expertise, Malin possesses in-depth knowledge of the market, neighborhoods, and regulations. Her strong attention to detail, client-focused approach, and clear communication ensures a successful and satisfying home buying or selling experience.

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