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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 make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you? Waymaker takes much of the stress off your shoulders. We help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and handle the offer process. Plus, we have market knowledge you might not have. Finding the perfect home can be daunting, but our expertise makes it easier. Let us show you homes that meet your criteria so you can find the right one.

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.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

"Barrie and AnneMarie Crake at Waymaker Realty are the BEST! We've been in our sweet home/La Cost Oaks since it was built in 2006. They are definitely seasoned Realtors with knowledge of today's challenging market. Top class when it came to managing our home to show and sell. I was pleased with AnnMarie's attention to details from inside to out! Barrie was super with contracts and negotiating on our beha...

— Molly Pak

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

I just want to say how amazing my experience was with Barrie and AnneMarie Crake of Waymaker Realty Advisors in the sale of my Oceanside home. Their skills and expertise with the North County Real Estate Market and especially Oceanside helped me get the most for my house. I worked with them for the first time 10 years ago, on the sale of my home in San Marcos, and I knew immediately when I decided to sel...

— Jon Aldridge

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

My wife and I recently worked with Ann Marie and Barrie on the purchase of a house. For us it was coming home as we have been in the Pacific Northwest for the last 15 years but had raised our family in San Diego. It will be great to be near our grandchildren. Reentering the real estate market in San Diego was daunting. Working with Ann Marie and Barrie was very rewarding. They were, by far, the most prof...

— Jefferson Parker

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Bought my first home with AnneMarie and Barrie's help! They were thorough and caring just as before and we were able to negotiate a great price and closed pretty quickly. I also learned a so much about home buying from them. They always had thoughtful answers and great suggestions. I highly recommend them for anyone who wants to work with realtors that care for the buyer. Original review: AnneMarie and B...

— Jeremy Holcomb

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

I originally met AnneMarie and Barrie Crake when they told my neighbor's house in November 2020, and then my other neighbor's house in February 2021 in Discovery Hills in San Marcos. They are very kind and caring people and take the relationships with their clients personally as well as professionally. I lost my husband 4 years ago so I was selling my house and going through this transaction alone, which...

— Jean C.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Barrie and AnneMarie Crake are the ultimate professionals in the Real Estate industry. Easy to work with, knowledgeable about the San Marcos housing market and expert negotiators. Our home was listed, pending and sold in a matter of days. It was a pleasure working with them. Highly recommend this dynamic duo. They will definitely go the extra mile to make sure your sale or purchase is everything you drea...

— Lynda Harden

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

We just closed escrow and sold our home in San Diego (La Mesa) for $155,000 over asking price!! Barrie and AnneMarie Crake are the most amazing team! AnneMarie worked so diligently with me to prepare our home for listing by going through each room with a keen eye for staging and she personally helped me to make our already beautiful home even more spectacular. Barrie was so incredibly calming and profess...

— Melody Haak

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Both AnneMarie and Barrie represented us in the sale of our house located in San Marcos, in the community of Twin Oaks Valley Ranch. We have nothing but high praises for them and would highly recommend their services, fully trustable. With their excellent customer service and knowledge in industry, our house was the highest priced sale in the history of the community for comparable home. We will continue...

— Armen Dertsakyan

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Working with AnneMarie & Barrie was an absolute pleasure! As first-time homebuyers during a very challenging buyers market, their expertise, patience, and professionalism helped us find a home we love. They were very responsive since the start, making the whole process simple and painless. Highly recommend!

— Claudia Stewart

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

“Barrie and AnneMarie Crake sold our home in the community of Twin Oaks Valley Ranch in San Marcos. From our first meeting, I knew I was working with local experts in my neighborhood. Having served in the Military, I really appreciated their work ethic, attention to detail, responsiveness and follow through. They did not over promise but they did over deliver with an outstanding sales price. We had some ...

— Dr.Russ Maze

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Barrie and AnneMarie Crake helped my family and I find our dream home and they have helped several of our family members, friends, and coworkers do the same. I have know them for many, many years and they are not only extremely professional and knowledgeable, they truly care about people, relationships and community. Finding and selling a home can be very stressful, but knowing they were with me every st...

— Cherryl Baker

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

I wish I could give ten stars!!! We met Barrie and AnneMarie Crake when they were selling a home in San Marcos that was similar to what we were wanting to purchase. AnneMarie Crake answered her phone on a Sunday night and this impressed us so much that we knew, right away, we wanted to work with her. The real estate market at this point had low inventory, high prices and even higher demands. Since we are...

— Kim F

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

I was searching for a home in California (oceanside, Carlsbad, San Marcos) area in the beginning of the year. Annemarie and Barrie Crake are so unbelievable kind and helpful. The very first home I saw was a brand new construction in oceanside. Annemarie took me around just to get a feel for the area.. I knew it was to good to be true because it was basically winning the lottery. And this home had multipl...

— Jacque Batchelder

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Barrie and AnneMarie are amazing!! They have helped me for several transactions, both as a seller as well as a buyer for over 10 years and always work hard for my best interests. You can’t go wrong with them on your side!

— " Tanya Joyce"

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

The Crakes are the best real estate agents I have ever worked with. They have sold two of my homes and each transaction was handled with professionalism, compassion, and direct communication. These are the best agents in North County San Diego and they will sell your home for top dollar or help you to find your perfect next home. I highly recommend them!

— Alan Crosthwaite

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

We've bought and sold 8 homes over the years and the Crake Team was by far the best selling agent we've had! Their knowledge of the San Marcos market is unmatched and we're certain we wouldn't have gotten nearly as much for our home had we listed with someone else. They are beyond professional, on top of things and strive for the highest quality experience. They are great negotiators and had our home sol...

— Lyn Lambert

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

AnneMarie and Barrie helped us buy our home in 2020. They are such an experienced and helpful team! They always answered our calls, emails, text messages. They went above and beyond what I expect from any realtor team. Such a pleasure to work with. I’m so happy we placed our trust in them. We absolutely love our home and have been here for 1.5 years. I would give more than 5 stars if I could. HIGHLY reco...

— Tabita Parnow

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

The Crake Team, Barrie and Annemarie, proved to be just what we needed. With our mom's death, a reverse mortgage, a home - while desirable- needed some loving attention and the fact we lived 450 miles away- the Crake's were incredible. Supportive, knowledgeable and up front with what we needed to do- they walked us through the entire process with transparency, professionalism and sincere kindness. Due to...

— Tom Bender

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

My widowed sister, her best friend and I interviewed few agents and had felt AnneMarie and Barrie Crake's sincereness and listening skill that we all agreed and made us easy to choose them over other agents. Their communication skills that I believe essential in business especially while I traveled in between the transactions, thoughtfulness toward my non English speaking sister were beyond our expectati...

— Hiko Hagen

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Are you buying or selling a house and want professional help? Look no further and select AnneMarie and Barrie Crake! They are a kind, dynamic and an extremely professional team. They helped us buy a house using a 1031 exchange in this challenging sellers market. They also sold our house in one weekend! We had multiple offers and Barrie helped us select the perfect buyer. We closed in 15 days! Seriously, ...

— Scott C