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.


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.

Wooden house with black metal roof, small porch, surrounded by flowers and trees in a forest.

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.


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.


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 a 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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Nicole is the best and was awesome to work with.

— Josh B.


Nicole is very professional and is a joy to work with! She pays attention to detail and finds the perfect home for you!

— Grant S.


Nicole is such a pleasure to work with! What a great experience. She made purchasing our property so easy. Would highly recommend it! 5 Stars all the way.

— Nic


Nicole is the best she helps you through every step of the process. Helps keep everything organized. And helps you get your home in tiptop shape and ready to sell so that you get top dollar. Highly recommend the Pinette Realty group.

— Amy R.


Nicole and Pinette Realty helped my husband and I buy our first home in Highlands Ranch. We were so lucky to find Nicole and her knowledge of the area is unparalleled. She and the rest of her team are great to work with. We will never go with anyone else!

— Jena M.


I have worked with Nicole and her team on two sales and purchases. She is very helpful in the process and always goes to bat for her clients. She will work with you to get the best pricing possible for you when both buying and selling. I would highly recommend Nicole and Pinette Realty Group!

— Ashley W.


Thank you Nicole for a great experience in selling my old home and finding a new one! Your professionalism and knowledge helped me find the perfect home and negotiate a great price. In a market where homes sell so fast, it was great to have your expertise and to know you were staying on top of everything.

— Jennifer T.


Nicole Pinette is the person you want for your realtor. She goes above and beyond to find you the special home you want. When it comes time to write your offer for that special home, she has the knowledge and experience to work that offer that makes it exceptionally appealing to the seller. It's not just about the dollar amount. You won't regret using Nicole and Pinette Realty.

— Courtney F.


We have used Pinette Realty Group in the sale of 3 properties and the purchase of one, I recommend them highly. Nicole and her team go out of their way to make the process smooth and stress-free from staging, photos, marketing, and through closing. They have resources to solve any issues that come up and persistence to get things done correctly. You can't find a better Realtor!

— Stevie H.


We bought our first home with Nicole and will buy every future home with her too in the front range area. She was incredible! We were able to see homes quickly, and she was honest about what our expectations should be when putting offers in as first-time home buyers. We enjoyed working with the lender, inspector, and painter whom she also recommended to us while we were going through such a stressful tim...

— Rosalind D.


We have had the best experience working with Nicole and Pinette Realty Group! We are first-time home buyers and Nicole helped us look at multiple properties and ultimately helped us to secure our newly built home. We would not have gotten the quality and service through our builder had we not had Nicole by our side. She advocated for us on multiple occasions, and I can assure you that she is someone you ...

— Liz & Kevin


Nicole is amazing - she has earned my complete commitment to anything real estate. She is a supportive agent looking to make sure her representative is happy and well-informed of the entire process from searching, bidding, and closing. She provided recommendations for contractors to complete necessary work prior to us completing the sale to ensure the property would meet our needs. If she didn’t know the...

— Sindy


Absolutely wonderful experience! The Pinette group cares about their clients and it truly shows. As first-time home buyers, my partner and I were deer in headlights, but Nicole and her team did a phenomenal job of walking us through the process while working with our wants and needs. Everything from touring to signing to closing papers was smooth and enjoyable. The Pinette team is patient, honest, and co...

— Sarah W.

Work With Us

We pride ourselves in providing personalized solutions that bring our clients closer to their dream properties and enhance their long-term wealth.