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First Time Buyer Guide

California First Time Home Buyer Guidance

The home buying steps can be somewhat confusing if it is your first time. The California first time home buyer guidance below may explain certain things. Houses are a major investment and home buyers should
start with some introductory information.

Getting Ready to Purchase

  • Request a Pre-approval Letter
  • Contact a local mortgage provider and obtain a pre-approval. The alternatives and qualification criteria will vary from company to company. Review the programs and closing costs to figure out the best option. Getting this information ahead of time will familiarize you with the estimated up-front and recurring costs of property ownership. This also helps determine your budget.

  • Hire a Real Estate Agent
  • Find a real estate agent to help with your home purchase. Pick an individual that best fits your personality. Knowledgeable agents can help explain the options, negotiate offers, and facilitate a smooth transaction. This guidance can make a huge difference for first time buyers.

Information About the Purchase Process

  • Property Showings
  • Only visit properties that fit your budget. This avoids the disappointment of wanting real estate that is not feasible for you to purchase. Property tours can be time consuming, so sticking to your budget will also minimize wasting of time.

  • Contracts
  • Real estate agents can provide information on offers and negotiating them, but they do not provide legal advice. If you need legal counsel, consider using a real estate attorney to explain terminology and add any necessary terms. Do not sign any documents that you do not completely understand.

  • Home Inspections
  • Do not rely on an inspection to renegotiate price or alter contract terms as they may not identify any issues at all. Also stay away from negotiating previously disclosed items. Such strategies are not usually successful and result in wasted inspection costs. In situations where problems are uncovered, homeowners can agree to address problems, offer concessions towards settlement fees, or offer nothing at all. Fair items have a better chance of being negotiated.

  • Final Walk-Thru
  • Shortly before the closing, you will have an opportunity to view the home one last time. It is a good idea to perform this after the sellers have vacated the property. If any issues arise at the visit, you should address them prior to signing closing paperwork.

  • The Closing
  • All parties signing any paperwork must have acceptable identification. Bring acceptable funds for any amounts due. Also bring a personal check for any last-minute changes. Once the settlement paperwork is filed, the home is yours!

More California First Time Home Buyer Guidance

The home purchase process can be easier if you keep the above in mind. For advice beyond what is included in this California first time home buyer guidance, contact Almila Gozen at Sotheby`s International Realty® by emailing