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 a 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.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

We are so grateful that we decided to work with Sara and her team because there is no way we would’ve gotten top dollar for our home. They helped us make small changes in order to get the most value.

— Seller | San Diego County

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara and her team clearly care about the people they work with, and their integrity and caring nature are evident in every interaction. There are many agents out there but if you want an agent who truly cares, wants the best for you, fights for you, works hard for you and does not cut corners, then you need to contact The Farsani Group.

— Buyer | Orange County

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara and her team are absolutely wonderful, thorough and professional, very experienced, always available and responsive Sara has a kind heart and a fighting spirit, a perfect combo in a Realtor®.

— Buyer | Orange County

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

The Farsani group was remarkably helpful and they worked well beyond what one could expect.

— Buyer | Los Angeles

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

The Farsani Group is a hard-working team that will hustle and do whatever it takes to get you what you want.

— Seller | San Diego

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara and her team were incredible from the first moment until the last and even after we closed. They were so thoughtful in everything they did and we were their top priority. They checked in every day. Yes, every day.

— Buyer | Orange County

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

The Farsani Group immediately recognized that a minor remodel would drive greater value for the property. We gave them complete oversight and indeed we came out ahead. Very grateful for her expertise and attention to detail.

— Seller | Riverside County

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara and her team are very thorough and go above and beyond to make the process as easy as possible.

— Seller | Orange County

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is hands down The Best. My dad passed away and I had to sell his house thru probate. As you all know probate properties are very difficult and time-consuming. After several Realtor® interviews, I found Sara. She knew I needed her help in selling my dad’s home ASAP. She welcomed the challenge with open arms. With her help, we interviewed 5 probate Attorneys and were able to find the best one which tu...

— Salomeh K.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara has a kind heart and a fighting spirit, a perfect combo in a Realtor®. We had worked with a number of Realtors® prior to meeting Sara, and we were pretty worn down with the home buying process. Then we met Sara, who was so different from the other Realtors® we had worked with, Sara works hard for her clients, and has so much integrity and savviness. Sara goes above and beyond to take care of her cli...

— Samara W.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

We have a property management company and we refer all of our clients interested in buying or selling to Sara. We recently referred one of our tenants that was interested in purchasing a home to Sara and she found them the home of their dreams. She figured out their budget, got them in touch with a top-notch lender to get them pre-approved, and worked with their lease dates to ensure a smooth transition ...

— Jenny Y.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara was incredible from the first moment until the last and even after we closed. She was so thoughtful in everything she did and we were her top priority. She checked in every day. Yes, every day. She stayed on top of our lender and escrow to make sure we closed in 30 days. The lender was dragging and Sara really kept on them and never gave up and made it happen when we all thought we wouldn't be able ...

— Alex S.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara was an absolute Gem to work with and she made the entire process so smooth and easy. Any questions we had or if we were not sure about something, she always responded right away and made us feel at ease every single step of the way. There are many agents out there but if you want an Agent who truly cares, wants the best for you, fights for you works hard for you, and does not cut corners, then you n...

— Hengameh H.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is wonderful to work with. My mom passed away this year and Sara worked with my Dad to find a vacation home in the state we live in. We look forward to making memories with my father in this home that we only snagged because of Sara’s expertise and dedication. After we located the home Sara followed up immediately with the other agent to ensure we got it. During the entire buying process, through es...

— Elise W.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara was a joy to work with and was vested in helping my family make the best decision. She was available to us to answer questions about the different areas we were interested in and was very responsive to our emails and text. Being new to SoCal and the purchasing process here she explained it all to us to make sure we understood and felt comfortable; she was very patient. She even worked with me on a d...

— Fatuma W.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

We were referred to Sara by a friend of ours that recently bought and sold their home. Selling our first home wasn't easy on us since this was the home we brought our baby home to but we are so glad we worked with Sara. Sara was kind and patient through the process but was able to get us everything we wanted and more through negotiations. We are so grateful that we decided to work with Sara because there...

— Ghazal T.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is an absolute joy to work with. She helped us sell a much-beloved family home as we moved out of state, and she very patiently heard all our requests and found us the perfect buyers who would take care of our house as we would have. Sara is thorough, very knowledgeable, has excellent communication skills, and will be a true partner who will have your interest at heart throughout the whole process. ...

— Maria M.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is a hard-working agent who will hustle and do whatever it takes to get you what you want. She represented us on both selling our home in Irvine (Orange County) and buying a home in San Marcos (North San Diego County) and did a wonderful job on both deals during the unchartered waters of Covid. She is knowledgeable, patient and now feels like family to us. As a new mom, I was worried about disturbin...

— Buyer & Seller

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

First I was not even sure if I really wanted to purchase or better to say if I really could afford to buy a house until I met Sara through an old friend of mine. I can now definitely claim that Sara was a golden ticket for me with the whole process, from A to Z. Sara was remarkably helpful and she worked well beyond what one could expect. She is absolutely wonderful, thorough and professional, very exper...

— Ladan V.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Selling and buying a home during COVID? I was thinking that was insane until we met Sara. Sara has been hands down very supportive and helpful during this entire process, especially during unprecedented times. She's been incredibly responsive, adaptive, and knowledgeable every step of the way. Sara is very dedicated to her clients and stands behind her work, and we cannot wait to refer our friends and fa...

— Buyer & Seller

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is very thorough and goes above and beyond to make the process as easy as possible. We asked Sara to sell one of our Southern California properties. She immediately recognized that a minor remodel would drive greater value for the property. We gave Sara complete oversight and indeed we came out ahead! Very grateful for her expertise and attention to detail. Looking forward to working with Sara again...

— Rebecca F.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is all around a wonderful Real Estate Agent to work with. She is strategic, honest, and practical when she advises. With Sara, you will never have to ask her twice to remember or do anything she just knows and gets back to you. She will go to bat for you and keep your best interest at heart. I highly recommend working with Sara, you will be sure to have a wonderful, seamless, and enjoyable experience.

— Kimberly V.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

I've worked with Sara on several transactions. She works extremely hard to make sure her clients are well informed and taken care of. She knows how to get an offer accepted, which is a talent that is extremely important in the current competitive environment. I'd recommend Sara to any home buyers or sellers who want an aggressive, hard-working, intelligent Realtor® working in their corner.

— Tim S.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara was fantastic. She made the entire process seamless. Sara communicated everything to us thoroughly and promptly. If we had a question or request she responded quickly. Not only is Sara diligent but she also truly cares about her clients and them being thrilled with their new home. I would highly recommend Sara and would definitely use her in the future. Thank you, Sara.

— Kristine C.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Best experience ever. She will fight for you. We did not get expect to get the cost of this brand new home down so low. But she did. Every neighbor here has said incredible things about their experience with her. My daughter wants to be a real estate agent now because of her interactions with her.

— JC F.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is very communicative, patient, and knowledgeable. Always on top of things and ready to answer any questions I had. She is a great negotiator and has a lot of positive energy, along with her no BS attitude, oh my, this is exactly what everyone should be looking for as a Realtor®.

— Ashley K.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Sara is extremely patient and goes above and beyond. She will also tell you her honest opinion and not push you to make a rash decision- In the end, we were able to close on my home for the right price with fees included. Highly recommend.

— Buyer

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

What an amazing Realtor® and person in general. Sara went above and beyond and helped me find the home of my dreams. I trust her and would not hesitate to use her again for any future home purchases. Thank you.

— Terry F.

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