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Real Estate Checklist

Purchasing your first home is a significant milestone, brimming with excitement and possibilities. However, it can also be overwhelming, with a myriad of decisions to make and processes to navigate. Whether you’re feeling elated or daunted, fear not! This guide is tailored to help first-time homebuyers embark on this journey with confidence and clarity.

1. Define Your Goals and Budget

Before diving into the housing market, take a moment to reflect on your aspirations and financial situation. What type of home are you looking for? What features are essential, and what are negotiable? Establishing your priorities will streamline your search process.

Next, crunch the numbers. Determine your budget by considering factors like your income, savings, monthly expenses, and potential mortgage options. Remember to factor in additional costs such as closing fees, property taxes, and maintenance expenses.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Being pre-approved for a mortgage not only gives you a clear understanding of your purchasing power but also demonstrates to sellers that you’re a serious buyer. Shop around and compare mortgage rates and terms from various lenders to find the best fit for your financial situation.

3. Research Neighborhoods

Location is key when it comes to real estate. Research neighborhoods that align with your lifestyle, considering factors like proximity to work, schools, amenities, safety, and future development plans. Explore different areas firsthand to get a feel for the community and envision yourself living there.

4. Start House Hunting

Armed with your budget and neighborhood preferences, begin your house hunting journey. Utilize online listings, real estate agents, and open houses to explore available properties. Keep an open mind, but stay true to your must-have criteria.

5. Evaluate Properties Wisely

When viewing homes, pay attention to both the big picture and the details. Assess the property’s condition, layout, potential for renovation, and resale value. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and request additional information from sellers or agents.

6. Make an Informed Offer

Once you’ve found “the one,” work with your real estate agent to craft a competitive yet reasonable offer. Consider factors such as market conditions, comparable sales, and the seller’s motivations. Be prepared to negotiate terms to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

7. Complete Due Diligence

Before finalizing the purchase, conduct thorough due diligence. Schedule a home inspection to uncover any underlying issues or potential repairs. Review all legal documents, including the purchase agreement and property disclosures, with your attorney or real estate agent.

8. Consider Establishing a Living Trust

Before finalizing the purchase, you may want to consider establishing a living trust, especially if you have specific wishes regarding the distribution of your assets in the event of your passing. A living trust can help streamline the transfer of your property to your beneficiaries and potentially avoid probate, saving time and money for your loved ones. Consult with an estate planning attorney to determine if a living trust is suitable for your situation and to assist you in setting it up properly.

9. Secure Financing and Close the Deal

Once all contingencies are satisfied, secure your financing and prepare for closing. Review the terms of your mortgage carefully and ensure you have the necessary funds for the down payment and closing costs. On the closing day, sign the paperwork, receive the keys, and celebrate your new homeownership!

10. Settle into Your New Home

Congratulations, you’re officially a homeowner! Take some time to settle into your new abode and make it your own. Consider personalizing the space with decor and renovations to reflect your style and preferences. And don’t forget to connect with your new neighbors and explore the community.

Enjoy house hunting!

Navigating the process of buying your first home can be both exhilarating and daunting. However, with careful planning, research, and guidance, you can confidently embark on this journey and find the perfect place to call home. Remember, each step brings you closer to achieving your homeownership dreams. So, embrace the adventure and enjoy the thrill of turning the key to your new abode!

Don't have a Living Trust yet? Get started today.

It only takes a few minutes to create and can be updated easily any time with our Digital Workflow.

What is a Trust?

A Living Trust is a financial tool that lets you plan, organize, and protect your life. It’s a personal entity that allows you to add assets and plan out your inheritance. Eliminating legal battles, cost, and time spent by your loved ones. 

Think of it like a personal LLC that you put everything you own in. Except it doesn’t protect you from liability like an LLC does, it protects you from probate and conservatorship. 

Probate is the complicated court process (12-18 months) where a judge decides what happens to your assets after you die, become incapacitated, or are “deemed” incapable. Creating a living trust allows your assets to completely circumvent probate and immediately transfer to your loved ones. 

In addition to being able to name heirs (your beneficiaries), a Trust also allows you to assign someone to manage it (your successor trustee). Instead of going through probate, your Successor Trustee takes control of the Trust, handles your affairs, and distributes your assets according to your instructions. The person you select as Successor Trustee should be your most trusted person. Like a best friend or closest family member.

At Dynasty, we believe everyone should have a Living Trust. If you have children, assets, or plan to acquire assets in the future, you should create a Trust. That way when you buy your next home, open a bank or brokerage account, get startup shares, etc. – you can immediately title them in your trust.