Video Transcript: Advice from a First-Time Homebuyer

Stacey: Buying a home is likely the largest purchase you'll ever make, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the road to homeownership is a complex one. What's it like to buy your first home? Let's find out on "What Works Now."

Voice Over: AOL and Bank of America Home Loans – helping you find out what works now.

Stacey: There's a host of professionals that can help you purchase a home. But it's a good idea to learn about the home buying process, and all of its many steps, before you start looking at properties.

[Enter Gary, a homeowner]

Gary: I purchased my home this summer. And I knew it was the right time because I wanted to take advantage of President Obama's first time homebuyer tax credit. There was a deadline coming up and I made it just in time.

Narrator: Obtaining a mortgage can be a complex process. First, it's always a good idea to get preapproved for a loan so you can look for a home within your price range.

Gary: I was preapproved for a mortgage, and it was incredibly helpful for two reasons. One, it signaled to the sellers that I was a serious buyer and was getting ready to make a move. And second, it also allowed me to really understand what kind of home I could afford, and what would fit in my budget.

How did you choose the type of mortgage that you wanted?

I chose a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Mortgage rates, as you know, are at historic lows. I wanted to make sure that I got that really low rate and locked it in for a long time.

Narrator: It's also a good idea to work with a real estate agent who can help you find properties and negotiate the sale.

Gary: I was actually very fortunate because my broker was a friend of mine. I only wish that I had reached out to him a long time before I did. He was able to point me in the direction of neighborhoods I should consider, and he had access to listings that weren't necessarily listed online. So with his help I was able to really move the process quickly, and I was in my new home in a matter of months.

Stacey: Many first-time homebuyers are amazed by how long it could take to buy a house.

Gary: It took me over a year to find my home. I must have gone to over 50 open houses. But it was worth the time invested. You really want to make sure that the home that you're purchasing is just that – a home. And the second I walked into my new place, I knew that was it – that I was home.

Stacey: Did you know what you were looking for in a home before you started your search?

Gary: I had a couple of things that I really knew I wanted in a home. The first was that I wanted something that was move-in ready. I didn't want to do any work before I got there. Second, I wanted something with a view. Something I could just look out on and just daydream. Third and really most importantly, I wanted to be in a neighborhood where my mom and my six-year-old niece could wander around and just feel completely comfortable. And where I'm at now is right near a beautiful park, there are lots of little restaurants opening up, there are bike paths everywhere and it's close to all kinds of public transportation. It's really an ideal location.

Stacey: Were there any roadblocks during the process?

Gary: There was one roadblock during this process, and that was – I had a difficult seller. She really slowed things down, she took her time returning calls, returning paperwork. And on the day of the closing, she tried to negotiate additional money. But I was really lucky that I had a broker that could really take charge of the situation and he handled everything for me.

Stacey: Now that you're a homeowner and a bit of an expert, what do you wish you had known and could have done differently?

Gary: The one thing that I would have done differently? I would have hired my broker sooner. He really helped with every part of this process.

Stacey: Now that you've heard a homeowner's firsthand experience, you should have some great insights on what to expect when you buy your first home.

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