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 your agent 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 I 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 an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help 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 don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

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!). 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. 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. I 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. I 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. 

My Testimonials

See why my clients love working with me.

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Ann E.

Brian and Mickey were excellent and understood my goals! I am an investor and home renovator. Other agents interviewed had promises that were unreasonable, and wanted the home presented in ways that were non representative of w...
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Marsha G.

I got exactly the support I needed! I still can't believe how easy Mickey and Brian made every aspect of the process...from what I needed to do to prepare the house, to settling on an asking price, to setting up agent showings...
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Josh & Lauren

Working with Brian and Mickey was a true pleasure. I don’t think we were the easiest buyers because my wife and I can both be picky. With that said, their patience, guidance and dedication to the process was key! In the end we ...
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Doug & Saba

My wife and I worked with Brian as a referral from a trusted friend on the purchase of our home in Pleasant Valley, MO. Brian has been exceptional to work with throughout the entire process. He's very professional, has great re...
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John & Gayle

Brian and Mickey made our home buying and selling experience so simple! They are beyond professional and truly care about their clients! They paid attention to every detail and were extremely prompt in response to every text, e...
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Andrew & Haley

I have to say that from our first meeting to our closing Mickey made a great impression and made the process seamless. We had an old house that needed repairs and he was able to connect us with the right people at the right pri...
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Randy H.

Working with Mickey Coulter was an absolute pleasure; I had been trying to sell my property for several years and went through realtors like a hot knife through butter and was about at the end of my rope. I was referred to mick...
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Natalie & Tim

Mickey was amazing in helping us buy our first home! He is incredibly knowledgeable about the home-buying process and the real estate market in Kansas City. When looking at properties, Mickey always made sure that our interests...
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Kristen & Clint

Mickey helped my husband and me to find our dream home! Even though we weren’t for sure what that was in the beginning. He was always more than happy to show us anything that we wanted to look at, from fixer-uppers to turn keys...
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Ronnie F. & Andrew C.

Mickey was recommended to us by close friends. He immediately returned our phone call and maintained this responsiveness throughout the process. This was our first home sale and Mickey did an excellent job of providing advice a...
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Bob & Hazel

Mickey Coulter is the best realtor we have ever had! When you call, he answers the phone. When you e-mail, he e-mails back. Mickey is never pushy with advice, but when asked, demonstrates his vast knowledge of real estate born ...
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Brett G.

We were first time home buyers and were very undecided and overwhelmed with what we wanted. Mickey didn’t just try to rush us into the first thing we liked, he really took the time to get to know what we were like and find out ...
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The Dooleys

Mickey was absolutely great to work with and served us so thoughtfully, from the sale of our old hyde park home to the purchase of our new home in the countryside. He did a fantastic job! Selling and buying a home is stressful ...
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Tom & Janet

Brian was an excellent agent! He was very professional, knowledgeable, and listened to our concerns in helping us wade through the whole buying and selling process. He possesses great attention to detail and was accessible at a...
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Vicki C.

Brian was very professional, and listened to my concerns, and was very responsive at all times! His goal was to get me the best sale price for my home. I liked that he was willing to hold multiple open houses and called and gav...
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Nancy & David

It was a delight working with Mickey Coulter. We moved back to Kansas City after being gone 15 years. We knew lots had changed and Mickey quickly helped to familiarize us with new, up and coming downtown neighborhoods. Plus he ...
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Cory S.

Working with Mickey was a wonderful experience. He took a real interest in what I wanted in a home and made it happen. As a first time home buyer, Mickey was able to answer all of my questions and made the process much easier t...
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Leah

I had recently lost my husband and was faced with not wanting to live alone and getting the house on the market. Mickey and Brian were a support that can’t be measured in dollars and cents! I would wish everyone could experienc...
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John D.

I used Mickey to help me look for a house and couldn’t be happier. I never felt rushed or pressured, and he always pointed out flaws that I didn’t notice. I wouldn’t hesitate to use him again!
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Rachel

Brian helped us purchase our first home. He was patient and knowledgeable and empowered us to make the decision that was best for us. He is the absolute best! Don’t go to anyone else!
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