First time homebuyer


Buying a home often represents your single biggest investment—and debt.

Buying a home can be challenging for a first-timer. After all, there are so many steps, tasks, and requirements, and you may be anxious about making an expensive mistake. But first-time homebuyers actually enjoy some special advantages created to encourage new entrants into the real estate market.

Here is what you will learn about purchasing your first home and how your HallDoran REALTOR® will help demystify the buying process.

  • Understanding the importance of becoming pre-approved,
  • How to choose the best loan options,
  • Understanding the hidden costs of home acquisition,
  • Understanding the concept of over-purchasing,
  • Learning the steps of purchasing a home, including the escrow process

Define your goals

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Giving the green light to future homeownership means educating and preparing yourself as much as possible. Know what your personal reasons are for buying, and determine the kind of home, neighborhood, and features you want. Since buying and financing a home are fundamentally connected, you’ll also need to examine your current financial situation and know what you can realistically afford.

Once you’re clear on the above, you’ll be in a better position to research housing and mortgage options, and create an action plan with timelines for moving forward. While it is possible to do this yourself, you may benefit by consulting an experienced real estate professional right from the start

TIP: Start paying attention to mortgage rates.

Get Pre-Qualified

Couple meeting with lender

The best way to determine how much you can afford it to contact a preferred lender who can check your credit and review available programs. You will need to provide W2s, pay stubs, bank statements, and other financial information.

Self-employed? No worries, most lenders have a program just for you. You will need to provide tax returns, in addition to other financial information.

The pre-approval is the MOST important step when starting the home buying process. This pre-approval/pre-qualification allows you, the buyer, to:

  1. Understand the maximum purchase price you can afford;
  2. Be ready to place an offer on the perfect property.

TIP: Your Realtor will not be able to submit your purchase offer without your pre-approval letter from your lender.

TIP: Buy something more affordable instead of borrowing as much as you can.

Contact Your Agent & Start Shopping

Realtor showing a couple a home

Knowledge is power, and your HallDoran Realtor® has a wealth of knowledge just for you! They can answer most of your questions about neighborhoods, homes, pricing, and navigating through the buying process to get the best deal.

Each of our Realtors have direct access to their Broker for those special occasions where additional advise or opinions are needed.

TIP: Take your time. Get educated and get professional advise.

Make an Offer & Start the Loan Process

Couple meeting with lender or realtor

Once you find a home, your HallDoran Realtor® will present a written offer known as a purchase contract for negotiations. Once a price and terms are agreed upon, you'll enter into a process known as Escrow. The escrow period takes between 21 and 30 days on average, and includes:

  1. You will submit your Earnest Money Deposit which is your good-faith deposit, indicating your "skin in the game". This deposit is generally 1-3% of the purchase price, and is either applied to your down payment and closing costs, or refunded to you if you cancel your contract.
  2. The home will go through a title check to make sure there are no surprises or liens on the title.
  3. You will work with your lender to finalize all the documents and information needed to process your loan.

TIP: Don't make any new purchases on credit while looking for your home.

Disclosures & Inspections

Home inspector performing a home inspection

During the escrow period, you will have the opportunity to conduct thorough inspections of the home you're buying. Your HallDoran Realtor® will provide you with reputable and licensed home inspectors, termite and pest inspectors, and other specialized inspectors for your choosing.

You will also review disclosures provided by the seller, and submit any repair requests to the seller.

In short, this is an additional opportunity to negotiate credits, potentially adjust the purchase price, or determine if the property is no longer a good fit for you.

TIP: Take advantage of learning all that you can about the property you are purchasing.

Close and Move In

Happy first time home buyers

When your loan is ready to close, review your documents carefully with someone who knows the process.

Be prepared of the costs due at the time of closing. No one likes surprises, so understanding the costs up front will alleviate the concerns.

  1. Earnest Money Deposit (mentioned in Step 4) is about 1-3% of the purchase price. This is generally due within 3-days of your offer being accepted.
  2. Down Payment: Your down payment is calculated based on 3.5% to 20.0% of the purchase price, all depending on the loan product you choose.
  3. Closing Costs: This is all the other fees such as title insurance, escrow fees, recording fees, etc. This cost is about 2.0 to 3.0% of your purchase price.
    Note: The earnest money deposit is credited towards your down payment and/or closing costs.

Once you sign and your loan is funded, you are ready to move in . You can not begin the final step...realizing the benefits of homeownership!

TIP: Store your mortgage paperwork in a safe place.


"HallDoran Realty's broker was incredible to work with! He is knowledgeable, thorough, and very patient! Brendon went out of his way to take us to see properties on a moment’s notice and was honest and transparent about his thoughts on a property. He is kind, honest, and trustworthy. If we buy again we are definitely reaching out to Brendon!"

Shelly R.
Buyer: San Diego, CA, $499,000


"Broker Brendon is simply amazing. Got my place WAY under asking and got everything closed within 2 weeks! I dropped my last agent in a heartbeat...he didn't take time for me. Then I met Brendon who took great care of me. He knows exactly what he is talking about and is a San Diego expert. Also very competitive and sharp with making the deals - definitely recommend!"

Buyer: San Diego, CA, $490,000


"Brendon Hall is the best broker I could have asked for.  

He helped me purchase a home in 17 days on a VA loan!  

 I never once felt as if he was in this for himself.  It was all about my needs and what was best for me.  

I don't believe I went one day without hearing from him.  He kept me up to date and well informed throughout the entire buying process."   

Diana N.
Buyer: Lakeside, CA, $470,000



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