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.


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.


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.


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 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. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where my expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let me show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

My 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!). 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.


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.


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.


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.

Poss Lambert
Carole & Eric
Brett J.
Geoff & Sarah
Con L.
Zoe M.
Beth B.
Jason & Sam
Macon and Regina
Mark and Lia
Katy and Patrick
Mary Lynne
Kathy G.
Samantha & Erik
I had the pleasure of working with Jill Grano as my real estate agent in Boulder/Lyons, CO, and it was a phenomenal experience. Jill's expertise, dedication, and genuine care made my home-buying journey incredibly positive. Her extensive knowledge of the local market, exceptional negotiation skills, and attentive communication ensured I found the perfect home. Jill's network of professionals and commitme...

— Poss Lambert

Having Jill with us every step of the way during our most recent home purchasing processes was a pure godsend. Not only was her RE knowledge technically sound (knowledge of trends, individual homes, neighborhoods, prices, negotiation skills, and the dreaded flow of contracts, etc), but she really functioned as more of a very close and trusted adviser. She gave invaluable advice, she asked well-timed and ...

— Carole & Eric

Jill is highly intelligent and knowledgeable. She is creative and energetic in marketing the property. She handles all aspects of the listing personally, talks to buyers agents prior to showing and is present at all showings if possible.

— Jacques

Jill Grano is a superstar among Realtors®. When I first thought about buying, I saw a house for sale and called the listing agent, who acted as if he was doing me a favor by showing me the house and spent the entire time talking about himself. I immediately called Jill and she presented me with options within a day. As I embarked on my search Jill's skill at finding the perfect place emerged. She listene...

— Heather

I cannot say enough good things about Jill. I moved to Boulder recently and am on a very short schedule to find and close on a single-family detached home. There isn’t enough room to write everything I would like to so here’re the highlights: 1. Jill actively listens, and will take the time to select properties that match your requirements 2. Jill knows the real estate market very well and will be honest...

— David

Jill was very effective in selling my loft in downtown Boulder, CO. She got a higher price than I thought we could get but knew I deserved it. She is a very creative marketer and did a fantastic job closing the deal. I highly recommend Jill if you are considering selling or buying a home!

— Brett J.

Consistent with the other reviews here, we found Jill to be a true all-star among Boulder’s Realtors®. We worked with her this spring to help us find and purchase a new house for our growing family. Jill did an exceptional job with every aspect of the transaction. She has all of the traits of a good Realtor® in spades: highly responsive, listens carefully, understands a fast-changing market, pays attenti...

— Geoff & Sarah

Jill sold our condo in downtown Boulder in 2016. She was wonderful to work with and made the whole process very easy for my wife and I. The listing looked beautiful and our condo was under contract within days. Jill is an exceptional Realtor® and exceeded our expectations every step of the way.

— Con L.

Jill Grano is professional, personable, and prompt. When it came time to negotiate the close she was savvy and direct, netting us an excellent price. Jill took the time to take excellent photographs one of the many ways that she attends closely to every detail. Jill was a delight to work with. We highly recommend her!

— Zoe M.

I just want to share with the world that Jill is the best Realtor® I have ever worked with and I used to be a Realtor®! She is smart, competent, organized, professional, knowledgeable, pleasant, strong, and pleasant to work with! I can’t say enough good things about her and would recommend her highly to sellers and buyers!

— Margaret

Jill Grano was recommended to us when we began our search for a property in Boulder. Within our timeframe, she was able to line up multiple properties to give us a feel for the market and our price range. In a very short period of time, she found us the perfect place! She is honest, hardworking, responsive, and a pleasure to work with!

— Beth B.

Jill was absolutely the best buyer's agent we could have hoped for. We ended up with a great house, in a great neighborhood, for a great price. I don’t think it would have been possible without such a knowledgeable and responsive agent. Compared to our last house-buying experience, Jill set the bar much higher for the value added by a great agent. Thanks, Jill!

— Jason & Sam

The first thing you will notice about Jill Grano is that she is highly motivated by her diligence and work ethic. The next thing you come to know about Jill is that she has a vast amount of information about Boulders housing market. Combine all of that with her perception and listening skills and that is why I highly recommend Jill Grano. You will want to put her boundless energy to work for you.

— Macon and Regina

I recently purchased my first home and chose to use Jill as my real estate agent. I am very glad I did so. I looked at a large number of places before finding the perfect place. She did a great job finding a bunch of great places to look at and I never felt pressured into any one home. She made all of the paperwork easy and always had educated answers to my many questions. Jill did a great job and I woul...

— Ryan

We've been in our house that Jill helped us find and buy for a year, and every day we are so grateful to be able to live in such an amazing home! We were new to Colorado and didn't know Boulder at all; Jill really listened to our desires and needs and patiently worked with us to find the perfect house. She helped us navigate the logistics of buying and was attentive and responsive to us during the negoti...

— Mark and Lia

Jill recently helped us buy our first home in South Boulder. We appreciated Jill’s guidance and assistance throughout the process. She listened to our criteria, helped us quickly get a feel for the current market, and when there weren’t many homes on the market, she contacted other agents to find out what listings would be coming available. Jill was very knowledgeable about the offer and contract process...

— Katy and Patrick

Dear Jill, If I had to choose one word to sum up my experience with you it would be: genuine. I never thought that buying a house would be so effortless and joyful. You read my desire to live within a certain biking distance from downtown by hopping on a bike and taking me on tours of properties; you listened to all the requirements I had for this property and effortlessly placed yourself in my shoes to ...

— Erin

We were purchasing a home long distance, using the Internet to learn the market and identify possibilities. Before Jill even met me in person, she was providing invaluable guidance on how and where to search for homes on the market. Wed last purchased a home in 1985 when the process was very different. Once we found a home with lots of potential, a 3-day trip to Boulder was booked. Jill was super prepare...

— Mary Lynne

We feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have met Jill. My husband and I never imagined we would be able to own a home in the Boulder area that fit our budget and future plans. Jill was highly professional, incredibly responsive, and a strategic negotiator. She wisely guided us through our contract offer. We were one of five bids and without offering much over the asking price our contract was accepted. ...

— Kathy G.

We just bought our first home in Boulder and absolutely loved working with Jill. My expectation was that home buying would be stressful and heartbreaking at points, but that wasn’t the case with Jill. She is thorough, professional, personable, genuine, honest (I’ll spare you the multitude of other complimentary adjectives that describe her, but when you meet Jill you’ll be able to fill in the blanks). No...

— Samantha & Erik

Jill is a FANTASTIC realtor. A friend referred her to us and we were so grateful. Jill was the whole package: she has a deep local knowledge, a real understanding of the market, total respect for our budget (didn't show us houses that we couldn't afford and would make us feel sad), and a warm and friendly way with everyone. She even played with our toddler kiddo while we went through houses so we could c...

— Brook and Brad

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