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Guide for First-Time Home Buyers in Mammoth Lakes

 

    • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out what loan programs you qualify for and what monthly payments you can afford. They will help you budget and understand all the fees and expenses associated with owning a home, which can include mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowner's association dues, insurance, etc.
    • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to a buyer who has been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is within your budget, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
    • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms, particular locations you like, is rental income important, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (views, garage parking, granite counters, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
    • Representation by a Professional: Be sure to consult with a real estate agent that works full time, knows the market, has plenty of experience and can offer testimonials from past clients.
    • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
2. A file of the MLS print outs of properties that your agent has shown to you.
3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
4. A good camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
    • Visualize the House Empty & with your Decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough room for family and friends to visit? Will your furniture fit well in the rooms?
    • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home fall within your budget and really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
    • Be Thorough: Ask all the questions you can, take detailed notes. If necessary follow up with your agent by emailing any additional questions. Don't forget such essentials as:
1. Include Inspection & Loan Contingencies in your written offer.
2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 48 hours prior to closing.
4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
  • All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a full-time professional Realtor represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended.