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. Tracy has created this step-by-step first time buyer’s guide to help reduce the stress of buying a home and to help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Step 1: Research

Do you know where you want to buy? Do you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Do you have a list of your absolute “must have” features in a new home? Do you know what is available on the market now? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching.


Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you are comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine your budget and figure out 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. For example, if you have lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily exceed your budget.


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 most sellers will not entertain offers from those who are not already prequalified for a loan.


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 an experienced agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help to identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you may not possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where my expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let me show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so that you can find the one that's right for you.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home


Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I 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. Do not 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.


Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, we will work together 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. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and assist you in reaching an agreement. Once the offer has been accepted by both parties, the house will go into escrow.


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. I can help you to arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the purchasing process moves forward . If there are issues, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.


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. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.



Your lender will have your new home appraised so that they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.


No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it is a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you will know that you are the legal owner of your new home.


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house and are all set to move into the home of your dreams.

It was an absolute pleasure working with Tracy. Not only is she very knowledgeable but she is also very good at communicating and always gets back to me in a very timely manner. No task was too much for Tracy and she went out of her way to make sure that everything went very smoothly.

— Lynda K.

Tracy really cares about her clients and my experience working with her was wonderful. I tend to be very undecided and Tracy was patient and took her time to explain all of the pros and cons as I moved forward. She is very professional and pays great attention to detail. Tracy was a delight to work with.

— Patricia A.

Tracy was our Realtor® as we moved from Maui to Walnut Creek. It was a big move for us and we needed a Realtor® who understood our wants and needs for this new chapter of our lives. She found the perfect home that checked every button we wanted. She was kind and caring as we moved through the process. Tracy made it quick and painless. She always had our best wishes in the forefront of our move. If you ne...

— Tracey & Chip T.

Work With Tracy

Combining her marketing and sales background with an outstanding social network has made real estate a perfect career choice for Tracy. She prides herself on being able to get anxious or overwhelmed clients to their end goal (whether it's a sale or a purchase) by paying close attention to every detail, remaining professional and persistent.