You’ve decided to make the leap from renting to buying—and that’s great!

But where do you start, and how complicated will this process be?

The good news: working with a Lakewood, CA real estate expert makes the entire process a lot easier than it would be if you were slogging through it on your own.

First-Time Buyer Tip #1: Work With a Lakewood, CA Real Estate Expert

Your Realtor® will be with you every step of the way, from helping you find the perfect home to sitting at the closing table with you. In fact, your Realtor will still be there for you long after you’ve moved in—because we believe in building relationships, not just selling houses.

First-Time Buyer Tip #2: Know Where to Look for Homes for Sale

Tell your Realtor what you’re looking for in your new home. Do you need three bedrooms? Space for outdoor entertaining? Something small, cozy, and convenient? Your agent is there to scout out listings that may be the perfect fit for your needs, and in many cases, Realtors know about properties that aren’t even listed yet; working with your Realtor can give you a leg up over people who only search for homes online.

With that said, more than 90 percent of people start their home searches on the Internet—and you can, too, by using these links:

First-Time Buyer Tip #3: Get Your Finances in Order

Thanks to the Federal Trade Commission, everyone is entitled to one free copy of his or her own credit report every 12 months. You can get yours from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Take your time and go over each item listed on your credit report. If something isn’t right, dispute it—lenders are going to decide whether to let you borrow money for a home based on what they see on your credit report, so it needs to be accurate. If you can, start paying down your debt. Every debt that you lower helps boost your score, which will allow lenders to offer you more favorable terms.

It’s also a good idea to begin shopping for mortgages. Find a lender with requirements you can meet and who’s willing to offer you the best possible interest rate (30 years is a long time to pay a high interest rate). When you find your lender, get a preapproval letter—it’ll give you a starting point for your home budget and, when you’re ready to make an offer on a home, it’ll show sellers that they can take you seriously because you’re actually qualified to purchase.

Finally, think about how much money you’ll use for a down payment. The more you put down, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be. You don’t necessarily have to put down 20 percent of the home’s purchase price in order to buy; there are exceptions, such as VA and FHA loans that have lower (or no) down payment requirements.

Are You Buying a Home in Lakewood?

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’re looking for a vacation home where you’ll spend your winters, we’d love to help you find the perfect home for sale in Lakewood.

Call us at 562-882-1581 or contact us online to tell us what you want from your next home. We’ll begin searching right away.