It might surprise a first time home buyer that they aren't the only ones who feel confused about the whole home buying process. Almost all home buyers feel the same way, even those who have purchased a home before. It's easy to forget some or all of the home buying steps you've followed in the past. Here are some tips on how to begin:
You may have relatives or friends who live in another state or area. They might have some good advice for you, but chances are that the home buying process varies greatly in different areas, so do not make the mistake of relying solely on their advice. Educate yourself about the home buying customs where you want to live. You can talk to realtors, mortgage brokers, loan officers, or even friends who've recently moved into your area. Also the public library might be a good resource.
Approach a real estate agent by explaining that you do not want to enter into an agreement for representation at the current time. However, find out if they will talk to you about a typical home buying scenario. Any agent that won't take a few moments of time to help you understand home buying, probably, isn't an agent that you want to work with. If you have to make several calls to find someone willing to help you, it will be worth the effort. If you aren't comfortable talking to a real estate agent, you can always try a mortgage broker or a loan officer. Everyone will have a different perspective of the process but all should be able to give you a basic overview or understanding of the home buying process.
Once you find answers to these questions, you'll have a much better idea of the basic home buying customs in your area.
It is very likely that you will hit a few snags on the way to closing - most people do. However, if you keep your head clear, you will be able to work with the right people to resolve any issues that pop up and the transaction will end up smoothly. There are many details to keep track of, so remember not to over react if something goes wrong, and every problem has a solution.
Now that you've reviewed this section, your next steps are the same as they would be for every home buyer. Relax, take a few deep breaths and then begin! Dig into the details and simply start the home buying process. If you allow yourself to enjoy it, the whole experience can be fun!