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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 our team 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 we 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 agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home

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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!). We 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. We 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. We 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. 

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Working with us you get access to private and off market listings, expert negotiation, local knowledge etc. Reach out to us today to learn more!

Our TestimonialsSuccess Stories

Felix B.

Felix B.

When we decided to put our house on the market, we did a lot of research online and shortlisted a handful of agents, based on the reviews and homes sold. Even during our research, Joe stood out as his average sale price was way...
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Charles T.

Charles T.

It was the right time to move, and we wanted to take advantage of a seller’s market. The moment we met Alex and Joe,0 we knew we were in great hands. It was clear they knew our neighborhood, how to maximize the value of our pro...
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Pallavi S.

Pallavi S.

Joe Frazzano is a legend when it comes to real estate. I met Joe while searching for a house and having no idea of the market, just an idea of a dream home! Joe was extremely perceptive and responsive since the first phone call...
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Mario R.

Mario R.

Alex and the Frazzano Tse Team are the best agents we have experienced after selling 6 family homes (we have moved a lot). Their support is simply first class. Alex acted as our listing agent for our Danville home. He and his t...
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Hima B.

Hima B.

When we initially thought about selling our home, we knew we had to talk to the Frazzano Tse team, as they are one of the most successful teams in San Ramon and Danville. But we still interviewed a few other agents to make sure...
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Carolina R.

Carolina R.

When we initially thought about selling our rental property, we knew we had to talk to the Frazzano Tse team, as they were recommended by family and friends. But we still interviewed another agent to make sure we did our resear...
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Ruth W.

Ruth W.

Joe Frazzano has helped us numerous times in the last 20+ years buy and sell our properties. He is truly the best real estate agent to work with. On our most recent transaction, he networked with other agents, generated an enor...
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Sree S.

Sree S.

Joe was referred by a friend of mine who has a fantastic experience with the process. I was able to directly feel the same experience once I started working with Joe. A true professional who understands your personal preference...
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Randy M.

Randy M.

Joe is a highly skilled real estate professional. He worked quite diligently to sell my home in a very dynamic environment. Joe brings a vast array of skills to the selling process, the most important of which is project manage...
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Tamra B.

Tamra B.

Our friends bought/sold their home and bragged so much on their agent, Joe, I just had to meet him! Everything is true about Joe. He is honest, knowledgeable, kind and gets the best price for your property. Joe sold my property...
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Robert R.

Robert R.

I have known Joe for over 25 years. Our first purchase with him was a town home in 1996. Five years later, Joe helped us sell it for more than double what we had paid for it. Then, in a very hot seller's market, Joe helped us b...
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Jared M.

Jared M.

I can honestly say that working with Alex Tse and his team was the best experience I’ve ever had with a real estate company. Alex was so responsive to my wife and I throughout the entire process. Alex is trustworthy, reliable a...
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Steve B.

Steve B.

I have had two amazing experiences with Alex and Joe. One on the buy side and one on the sell side. Their market knowledge coupled with stellar communications throughout the deal process made both transactions a true pleasure. ...
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Khurram M.

Khurram M.

Alex was our seller agent when we were selling our condo and our buyer agent when we were buying our house. Alex is the best there is. He spends time in learning about the preferences of his clients and finds the right matches ...
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Bea A.

Bea A.

We were so happy to work with Joe. He was very patient with us as we were scrambling to move out and have the house staged before viewing. He was very professional and thorough. His entire team were on task and responded immedi...
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