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. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


Step 1: Research

If you're in the market for a Trinidad Beach home, townhome, or single-family home in Humboldt, no doubt you've done some research and may even have a few favorites. But if you don't yet know what's available on the market and which features you like or dislike, now is the time to start digging into your options. Look for homes that excite you but also take note of any changes in asking prices - this could give you excellent insight into current housing trends in specific neighborhoods, providing invaluable assistance as and when it comes to making an offer.


Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Before talking to a lender, it's important to decide on a budget for your new Humboldt County home and create a full household budget that takes into account changes such as mortgage payments and other additional expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees. A lender may pre-approve you for more money than what you're comfortable spending so understanding how the numbers impact your finances is key to making sure you can make payments without overextending yourself. Establishing this budget ahead of time will ensure that any home you choose fits within your means.


Step 3: Get Prequalified

Securing a loan for your dream home can be tricky, and it’s important to get the right advice before you start your journey. Even if you think your budget can handle a certain payment amount each month, it doesn’t mean that a bank or mortgage company will agree. Factors such as length of time on a job, credit score, financial history or bankruptcies can suddenly make affording your dream home seem out of reach. Consulting with a mortgage professional first is the essential first step in picking out the perfect property. It has many advantages - not only will you get an idea of the amount you are eligible for, but it can also help give assurance to sellers when making an offer on their home – as some won't take an offer seriously unless the buyer is prequalified for a loan.


Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

While it is certainly possible to shop for, look at, and make an offer on a home without the help of a real estate agent, going solo can add quite a bit of stress and uncertainty. Not only does an agent like me take away much of the hassle associated with the home-buying process, but I also bring something that you don't have - expertise in navigating real estate markets. I am able to suggest desirable properties and properties you might want to avoid, uncover hidden gems that you may otherwise miss out on, and provide insights to help ensure that you get your dream home at a great price. So while finding a property yourself is an option, why do the hard work alone when I'm here to make your life easier?


Step 5: Find the Right Home

The home viewing step of the buying process should be the most enjoyable one - apart from moving into your new home, of course! I will arrange showings for the homes you're interested in that are within your budget. Make sure to pay close attention to detail: turn on and off lights, run faucets and open and close doors. Don't limit your inspection to just the interior - explore the neighborhood and consider factors such as traffic during peak times, parking options, proximity to schools and grocery stores. With this information in hand, you'll be better equipped at making an informed decision about the home best suited to meet your needs.


Step 6: Make an Offer

Finding the perfect home is an exciting moment in anyone's life. However, once you have found it, it is important to work with your agent to create an offer that is both fair and suits the current market. Your offer may be below, at, or above the listed amount of the home depending on what type of market buyers are currently navigating. If a counteroffer is made by the seller you can depend on me to help you negotiate until all parties reach an agreement. Afterwards the house will move into escrow and begin being prepped for its next happy family.


Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

Inspections are an important part of the home-buying process. They allow you peace of mind that there are no major issues to deal with before purchasing a property. I'm available to help you arrange an inspection, usually within days of making an offer. If the inspection reveals that major repairs or structual damage is required, you can use this information to renegotiate your offer or even withdraw it if necessary. Of course, if there are no issues, then we can proceed straight through to step eight and enjoy a smooth, stress-free transaction!


Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to move forwards with your mortgage. It is important to select the best loan option for you and ensure you feel comfortable with what you are choosing. Your lender will present you with a range of options based on your individual financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year mortgages, alongside specific programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. We recommend that you discuss the details of each option with your lender and decide which one is best suited to you and your needs. By doing so, you are taking the necessary steps towards owning a home and making sure it is manageable in all areas including costs.


Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

An appraisal is a necessary step in the process of purchasing a home. It helps protect both you and your lender by providing an unbiased market assessment to determine the home's fair market value. Your lender will rely upon this independent assessment when determining the amount of money they are willing to loan you for the house; because of this, it is important to work with professionals who have experience as residential appraisers and can accurately assess the value of your future property. The appraisal also serves as an additional form of protection against being overcharged for the home – ensuring that both parties agree to a reasonable price that has been verified and approved by qualified experts.


Step 10: Finish Paperwork

The process of buying a home can be hectic and overwhelming, but when it comes to paperwork, the good news is that you don't have to worry about it. Your lender and title company will handle everything for you, so all you need to do is follow their directions. When all the papers are completed, you will officially own your new home! So take heart in knowing that the paperwork is just an essential step on your journey to becoming a homeowner.


See why Christina's clients love working with me.


Zachary Z.

One of the best Realtors® I have ever met. Helped a close friend find the most beautiful home. Christina was totally dedicated to making the home buying process easy and uncomplicated. Highly recommended.
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Ian J.

Christina was knowledgeable and really worked with us throughout the home selling process. I appreciated her ability to both offer expertise and consider our wishes and concerns. I would recommend her to anyone looking to engag...
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Brett T.

My wife and I bought our first house from Christina earlier this year. She went above and beyond our expectations. Christina did everything she could to help us find what we were looking for. She is very professional, friendly,...
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Christina J.

Buying or selling a home can be an exciting and stressful experience, add in COVID restrictions and controlled showings added difficulties. Our experience with Christina D’Alessandro as our buyer and seller's agent twice was co...
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Jason O.

I have worked with Christina on a variety of real estate transactions (purchasing and selling), both commercial and private, spanning over the last 10 years. I can unequivocally say she is an incredible real estate agent in eve...
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Nate W.

I'm a young professional in Arcata, California and I would highly recommend Christina to anyone in need of real estate services. After nearly a year of searching for a house, Christina helped me find and purchase an Arcata hous...
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The greatest honor that I can earn is your respect and trust. Please feel free to call me if you, or someone you know, is ready to buy or sell in beautiful Northern California, in Humboldt County. Even if you're just starting to envision a future home change. I am the leading real estate agent at Remax Arcata. I have helped many buyers find their dream home in Humboldt and the surrounding areas, including Arcata, Eureka, Trinidad and Ferndale. I will take excellent care of you.