Buyer's Guide

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

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Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice we said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine 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. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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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 some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

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

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

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We 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. Don’t 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.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent 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. We will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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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. We can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

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, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

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

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

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

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

Our Testimonials

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Lindsay Fernandes

Lindsay Fernandes

Cory, and the Martin group have been nothing short of exceptional! Cory was so dedicated to helping us find our family a new home. Cory stuck with us these last few years as the market went up, and down, and never made us feel ...
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Kim Bizzell

Kim Bizzell

We have had the pleasure of dealing with the Martin Group on several occasions. Our daughter sold her condo in Burlington and bought a house with her husband in Stoney Creek a few years ago and met Glenn & Cory. We followed soo...
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Andrew C

Andrew C

Working with The Martin Group was a great experience from start to finish. From the beginning, Cory helped guide us through the process while always taking into account what we wanted. He was literally available anytime and wor...
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Kenny T

Kenny T

I've used Glenn happily in the past, and used his services again this year to find me a new home. I can't say enough about the incredible service he provided me. He was patient, professional, and extremely helpful throughout th...
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Mark Kennard

Mark Kennard

Glenn is the ABSOLUTE best realtor I have ever met and the most patient and honest. He spent two years looking for a place with me that fit all my needs. He encouraged me to stick with fair market prices even when I wanted to o...
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Takis Zourntos

Takis Zourntos

The Martin Group has been extremely professional throughout our selling experience in a tough (for sellers!) market. I received frequent updates and calls from the team to inform me of relevant changes in the local market and i...
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Luis D.

Luis D.

I would not use anyone else for sale or purchase of homes. Glen and Cory Martin are more than Real Estate agents, they are experts in the industry with a long track record of experience and success. They helped us sell our home...
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Patricia K.

Patricia K.

A very pleasant experience while looking for a house to downsize to. Very patient and always available. We did find our new home and could not be happier. Would recommend using The Martin Group.
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Buyer

Buyer

Mary-Anne and her team were patient, thoughtful, and kind. They didn't hesitate to give us honest feedback. They were considerate of our budget, and our needs, and sensitive to the volatile market. We are so happy with our fami...
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Ryan W.

Ryan W.

What a pleasure to deal with. Especially during these conditions. Always kept us updated on current market conditions, and competitive housing costs and got our house sold within a timely manner keeping in mind these current ti...
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Shannon F.

Shannon F.

Mary-Anne was wonderful to work with as we navigated buying our first home! She was patient and listened to our wants and needs for our young, growing family. She was responsive, professional, kind, and extremely helpful and we...
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Melissa M.

Melissa M.

I have worked with Cory at the Martin Group for several property searches and one recent sale. What a great experience it always is. The Martin Group is professional and efficient, and Cory has been incredibly patient, communic...
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Luis D.

Luis D.

I would not use anyone else for the sale or purchase of homes. Glen and Cory Martin are more than real estate agents, they are experts in the industry with a long track record of experience and success. They helped us sell our ...
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Allison W.

Allison W.

My family and I have used Cory’s services several times over the past few years and every time Cory provided excellent service. Cory is so knowledgeable! Efficient. We trust Cory completely with all our real estate investments....
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Raad S.

Raad S.

I had the pleasure of working with Cory from Martin Group, and I cannot express how impressed I am with Cory's professionalism and dedication. When I contacted Cory, Cory went above and beyond to help me find the perfect condo....
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Paulo A.

Paulo A.

Mary-Anne was truly exceptional. I was impressed with her level of knowledge and the amount of data that she had about the market. If we texted a question or an update she would often respond in 2 minutes or less. Once we found...
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Patrick J.

Patrick J.

What an experience. We must say that selling a house is not fun, but having the right person makes a huge difference. We first got to know Mary-Anne because she was the seller's agent when we bought our house and at the time, w...
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Kish Tuchto

Kish Tuchto

Mary-Anne Field is an amazing realtor. Super professional. Staging of our home was fantastic. Our house sold in 2 days for $25 000 over asking price. Very highly recommended.
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Kristina Civitarese

Kristina Civitarese

We have known Mary-Anne Field for quite some time, so naturally, when it was time to sell our family home of over 40 years, she was our first and only choice. Thorough, patient, compassionate, professional, trustworthy and reli...
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Shannon Fleming

Shannon Fleming

Mary-Anne was wonderful to work with as we navigated buying our first home! She was patient and listened to our wants and needs for our young, growing family. She was responsive, professional, kind, and extremely helpful and we...
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Work With Us

Our approach at the Martin Group is clear-cut: Your success is synonymous with our success. We are firm believers that supporting your accomplishments is a direct contribution to our own prosperity. Our dedication is evident in our provision of top-notch marketing, extensive market insights, and meticulous negotiation tactics.

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