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The Checklist for First-Time Home Buyers

As a first-time home buyer, there is so much to look forward to. From browsing properties online to taking tours of potential neighborhoods, it’s an exciting time. But, after the initial excitement of deciding to purchase a home, what comes next in the process?

Below is a useful checklist to help you understand what to expect as you navigate the house-hunting process.

Set your budget

To begin your home-buying process, a good place to start is determining how much you can afford. Consider what you will be paying monthly now, and what they could be after you buy a home. Important factors to consider include your credit score, outstanding debt, your monthly income, and closing costs.

Get your pre-approval letter

Getting a pre-approval letter enables you to look for a home at or below the price level you feel comfortable with. This means that a lender has reviewed your income, expenses, and credit reports and has approved you a set amount of money for a mortgage.

Start searching

One of the fastest and most convenient ways to search for homes is the internet. You can also take time to drive through neighborhoods and seek out for sale signs.

Choose a real estate agent

Many first-time home buyers work with a real estate agent. While new technologies, websites, and apps can assist you with selecting a property, nothing replaces the value an experienced real estate agent brings to securing your most important financial investment.

Tour homes & attend open houses

Attending open houses and touring homes in person can help you decide on the features that are the most important to you. Chances are you will encounter several homes that suit your needs. It will also help you narrow down your selection.

Submit your offer

If you’ve found a home in your price range and checks off all of your boxes, it’s time to submit an offer. Be prepared to negotiate the purchase price if the seller presents a counteroffer. If you’re working with a real estate agent, they can help you prepare your offer, establish contingencies, obtain disclosures, and a closing timeline.

Schedule a home inspection

A standard home inspection includes foundation, attic, windows, doors, roof, insulation, HVAC, walls, ceilings, floors, interior plumbing, and electrical systems. This will help you identify any problems with the home and determine whether or not repairs are needed and also what projects are expected for the future as the new homeowner.

Get an appraisal

Lenders require an appraisal prior to issuing you a mortgage loan. An appraisal is an estimate of the value of your home from a professional. Critical components for an appraisal include comparable sales, appearance, square footage, amenities, and the condition of the home.


If any issues or problems arise during the inspection period, it may be in your best interest to renegotiate the purchase price of the home to make up for any repairs that are needed. If the seller will not budge on the purchase price, you could ask them to pay for the repairs instead.

Close the sale

The last step of the home buying process is closing the deal. All parties involved will sign the papers that officially seal the deal and transfer ownership of the property to you.


You have a choice when it comes to selecting a Panama City Beach or Panama City Beach Real Estate company. That choice can determine the success of your real estate transaction, whether that be the buying or selling of a home or business.

We promise to always give you our best and always strive to achieve more than just client satisfaction. You are invited to contact us today to ask any questions about our real estate services.