Cathy Carter Realtor

Everything you ever wanted to know about becoming a homeowner

Buying a home can be a daunting process, even if you've already purchased one in the past. Some people decide that renting is easier, or they just choose whatever they can find and settle for what may not be right for them. That does not have to happen. Having a Realtor in Chandler to help you make decisions is essential to minimizing this risk. At, we aim to provide you with the resources you need to make the right decisions. Take a closer look at the home buying process and a few tips to make it easier for you.

What to Know:

  • Before you start looking for a home, work with a Realtor in Gilbert or Chandler to help you determine what type of home is best for your needs. 
  • Determine how much you can afford and how much financing you can obtain before looking at your home options. 
  • Home buying involves finding a home, securing financing, making an offer, and then having a home inspection before signing the closing documentation.
  • You also need to remember that you'll need to maintain your home long term to maintain the value in a changing housing market.

In this guide, we'll discuss the steps you need to take to make the right home buying decision, how to minimize risk, and how to get just what you need. Reach out to us for help at any step of the process.

What to Think About Before You Buy

Before looking at homes for sale in the area, you need to consider your long-term goals. You may be renting and want to turn those rent payments into mortgage payments that actually lead to ownership down the road. It also builds equity, which is the value of your home over and beyond what you owe on your mortgage. 

Other people see homeownership as an opportunity to have more freedom and control over their home and surroundings. It provides independence from the ever-watchful eye of a landlord. Think of purchasing a home as an investment – it may be the largest investment you make during your lifetime.

Now that you have those ideas running through your head, it's time to think a bit more about what you want and need in a home.

#1: What Type of Home Do You Need or Want?

Residential properties come in many forms. Consider each. Do you want a traditional single-family home? You may also want to consider a condominium or a townhome if you want fewer outdoor chores. You may want to live in a co-op or a multi-family building with two or more units. Take a few minutes to consider what suits your needs the best based on size, location, and cost. 

Also, consider the amount of work you want to put into that home. If you are thinking about saving money on a fixer upper, that may work out for those who have extensive home repair skills and have had a thorough inspection. On the other hand, you may want to choose a move-in-ready home that lets you make fewer upgrades before it feels like home. Consider the amount you wish to spend in this area. 

#2: What Features Are Important?

You may have specific needs, such as a certain number of bedrooms. Make a list of "wants" and "needs" for your new home. Think about all of the options that may apply, including:

  • Important layouts to you
  • Type and size of the kitchen
  • A neighborhood that fits your needs
  • Number of rooms or square footage
  • Onsite features such as a large backyard or in-ground pool

Take the time to jot down everything critical to you and those things you would really like to have. When you go home shopping later, you'll use this list to help you narrow down the options. Be as flexible as you can.

#3: What Mortgage Financing Do You Qualify For?

Prior to starting the shopping process, you need to speak to a mortgage lender to get information about your expected financial opportunities. Your lender will tell you how much they are willing to lend to you based on factors such as y our credit, debt, income, and employment history. Lenders may first pre-qualify you for the purchase of a home based on this information, telling you how much of a home you can buy through their loan.

You'll then need to work to gain pre-approval. That means that all of your financial information has been inspected, and the lender has pre-approved you for the loan. You'll need to provide documentation requested by the lender to verify all details at this point. 

Home sellers want to see that you have pre-approval. It shows you're a serious buyer and making a serious offer on the home. They know the loan is likely to go through.

If you do not have a lender yet, we can help you to find one. Work with your Realtor in Gilbert and Chandler to gain insight into lending options available to you. Be sure to take the time to compare interest rates and terms, so you know you are getting the most affordable home loan for your needs. 

#4: Consider Your Realistic Financial Goals

In some situations, lenders may be willing to give you a significant amount of money to buy a home. That doesn't mean you should spend at the upper limit. Doing so may stretch your budget too far. It's a better decision to work first with your mortgage lender to find out what you qualify to borrow. Then, spend some time working on your budget. Determine how much you feel comfortable spending each month on a mortgage. 

You do not want to end up paying so much on a mortgage each month that you do not have the funds you need to live comfortably after paying your other bills. Remember, you'll need to ensure and maintain your home as well. You also have to factor in property tax, which can range widely. Also, work with your lender to understand closing costs. This typically averages about 5 percent of the home sale price. You may have to pay these upfront when purchasing the home or roll them into your home's loan. 

Once you have an idea of how much of a loan you feel comfortable actually taking, you can then consider homes in the area that suit those needs. 

#5: Consider Your Down Payment Needs

The next factor to keep in mind is your down payment. Most often, you'll need to make a down payment that ranges from 3.5 to 20 percent of the home's purchase price. The lender sets your down payment – though you can always put down more. Your down payment reduces your interest rate charges, in most cases, while also helping you to owe less on the home. That helps keep your monthly payment in line with your goals, too.

If you have not saved up for a down payment yet, you may need to do so. Work with your bank to find the right tools to help you do that or your lender to see if you qualify for a loan that doesn't require a large down payment. 

You may want to consider investing goals. For example, if you plan to buy a home in a few years, think about the value of putting money into a certificate of deposit to help it grow in value faster. If you are considering buying in under a year, you need to keep your money more liquid, such as in a savings account. 

#6: Hire a Real Estate Agent

Remember that you do not pay the real estate agent when buying a home. The costs associated with a real estate agent are paid through the seller. There's no real reason not to have a Realtor in Chandler or Gilbert, then, when you are making the decision to buy.

A real estate agent works with you to navigate the market conditions and find available homes. In a challenging market, such as in Arizona, it helps to have a professional who can assist throughout the entire process. That includes helping you negotiate the offer you place on it and the final contract. They stay by your side through closing.

What to Expect from the Buying Process

If you are thinking about purchasing a home in the current market conditions, it's best to work with a Realtor in Gilbert or Chandler who can help you. can help you. We'll help you find the home you want to buy and help you place an offer on it. Your offer needs to be competitive, but you also don't want to overpay for it. We'll help you through that process, too. From there, you'll be able to get a home inspection and then close on your home.

The home buying process doesn't have to be as daunting as it seems when you have professionals from working with you through it.

Arizona Best Real Estate Agents - Cathy Carter

Cathy Carter has been a dedicated Southeast Valley REALTORⓇ for over two decades. Whether you are in the market to buy a home or it's time to list your current property, Cathy is able to provide the kind of knowledge, skills, commitment, and personalized service you need and deserve. Known for her warm and friendly personality, Cathy's personal approach to the real estate process allows her to connect with her clients and uncover the right homes for them. For sellers, rest assured that Cathy is 100% committed to getting your home sold quickly for top dollar, with hundreds of homes sold under her belt. 

Cathy Carter Realtor

As your Arizona real estate agent, Cathy will protect your best interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, keep you well-informed and up-to-date, and guide you every step of the way to ensure the best possible results. For more information about the best homes for sale, or to sell your existing home in Southeast Valley,  please give Cathy a call at (480) 459‑8488 or get in touch by email

RE/MAX Cathy Carter Real Estate & Luxury Homes
Professional REALTOR
725 W. Elliot Rd., Suite 111 
Gilbert, AZ. 85233
Email or Call: 480‑459‑8488

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