First-Time Buyer Information
The path to home ownership can seem complicated and confusing to firts-time homebuyers. The key to a smooth transaction is always a caring, dedicated and competent Realtor® to help you through the process! additionally, there are some basic ABC's of homebuying, so make sure to keep these in mind as you begin your search!
Area Be Pre-qualified Choose a Home Drive a hard bargain! Escrow Finalize details Going Home!
Know the area! Which neighborhood is right for you? Your Realtor® can help you become familiar with the neighborhoods and communities that make up the Albuquerque area. Each has each has its own amenities, lifestyle, and personality, and some will suit your needs better than others. Some issues to consider might be:
  • What style and age house do I want?
  • Is proximity to public or private schools important?
  • What size lot do we need?
  • Where is my job located, and what commuting time is acceptable?
  • What do we want the covenants to permit or restrict (animals, home occupations, additional structures, etc.)?
  • How close do I want to be to shopping, entertainment, etc.?
Your agent will help you find areas and neighborhoods that are most likely to provide ideal homes for you, based on your needs, and on one other important criterion: PRICE.
This leads us to "B" of our homebuyers' "ABC's":
Be Pre-Qualified! 
Before selecting your new home, you need to know how much you can afford to pay! Unless you can pay cash for the full price, you'll need to qualify for a mortgage. Your down payment plus the amount you qualify to mortgage sets the upper limit for homes you can afford to purchase. This website offers convenient mortgage calculators to give you some idea of what kind of payments you can expect for certain mortgages, and these are a good start.
But, to avoid the disappointment of "falling in love" with your dream home, only to find out you can't qualify, and also to maximize your negotiating power with sellers, it is best to formally pre-qualify with a reputable lender. A complete loan pre-approval can make your negotiating stance even stronger. Your broker can put you in touch with several qualified mortgage lenders you can trust.
Choose a Home! 
Once you've found the neighborhoods that interest you, and calculated how much you can afford, it's time to choose your new home! Here, too, an experienced agent can save you lots of time by making sure you locate the best house for your needs. To make your house-hunting as efficient as possible, there are a few things to keep in mind:
  1. Decide what your absolute requirements are in a home. Is that 4th bedroom a necessity? How about the workshop, or the "real adobe" construction, etc.? Make sure your agent knows all your real needs.
  2. Make a list of all the other things you really want in your home, and make sure your agent understands these, too. For instance, if you reall want a pool, but you would consider a home with a yard suitable to add one later, don't restrict your agent to showing you only properties already set up for you to dive in!
  3. Consider other things that would be a "bonus" in a home, and let your agent know that these would be nice "pluses."
  4. Be willing to compromise on categories 2 and 3! Particularly for first-time buyers, the absolutely "perfect" home probably isn't out there, but you can come pretty close if you've let your broker know what you really need and want.
Drive a Hard Bargain! 
Once you've found your dream house, or one that's pretty close, it's time to write a purchase offer. Again, an experienced agent will be invaluable in helping you to avoid overpaying for a property, or buying a "fixer-upper" without intending to do so. Your agent's familiarity with the local market enables him to properly advise you about the home's real market value, and aid you in negotiating favorable contract that protects your interests. But there are also many other issues in designing your purchase offer. For example, do you need a Lead-based Paint Disclosure? What is customary regarding splitting of closing costs? Is an ILR satisfactory, or should you have a staked survey? What inspections should you require? Your agent can advise you about these and other issues, based on your specific needs and the exact property in question. Just a few of the issues to be addressed on your purchase agreement include:

  • Purchase price
  • Down Payment and earnest money
  • Financing Terms
  • Contingencies
  • Survey type
  • Appraisal
  • Title Insurance, title binder, and exclusions
  • Types of inspections required:
    • Structural inspection?
    • Whole-house inspection?
    • Home Warranty?
    • Lead-based Paint inspection?
    • Termite and pest inspection?
    • Radon test?
    • Well potability?
    • Well equipment tests?
    • Septic inspection?
    • Pool or spa equipment inspection?
  • Repair allowances
  • Closing and possession dates. Depending on the situation, any of several possibilities may be negotiated:
    • You get possession of the house on the date of closing
    • You get possession of the house on the date of funding (usually a couple of days after closing)
    • You move into the house prior to closing, and pay rent up until the date of closing
    • You close on the house, but wait to move in, with the seller retaining possession of the house for some period of time, and paying rent to you during that time.
  • Seller's Disclosure
  • Covenants and Restrictions
Once you've negotiatied the contract, your agent's job is far from over. Your agent will be ordering and overseeing the inspections, consulting with you about the inspection results, negotiating required repairs,making sure that repairs are properly handled, confirming that the appraisal, title binder, and survey are completed, reviewing any possible problems with you, and handling any necessary negotiations that may crop up as a result of these investigations. Just before closing, you will have a final walk-through, to confirm that the property is in satisfactory condition before you close.
Final Details 
In the days just prior to closing, certain final details will need attention. Electric, gas, and water service need to be scheduled to be in place before closing. Your Homeowners' insurance policy must be put into effect, and any mortgage or title company requirements complied with. Pats will be able to help you throughout this process to try to avoid any last-minute glitches.
Going Home 
At last the big day has arrived. It's time to close!. Your agent will be there with you at closing, to help explain the closing documents, make sure that all costs, prorations and escrows have been properly accounted for, and that all final paperwork is properly in place. An then, it's time to GO HOME for the first time!